As initially announced in mid-2018, Zurich Canada has launched a travel insurance program for Canadian citizens traveling abroad. Dubbed Zurich Travel Insurance, coverage is available for every likely possibility from the need for emergency medical care to trip cancellation.
In addition, customers gain access to around-the-clock assistance from Zurich Travel Assist. The new program appears to be the first major initiative from Zurich Canada since their extensive 2018 reorganization of top personnel.
Zurich Travel Insurance
Zurich Canada is going full-steam ahead into the New Year with its announcement of Zurich Travel Insurance. Designed for Canadians traveling abroad, whose national health insurance does not extend beyond the borders, this new offering adds to parent company Zurich Insurance Group’s (SIX:ZURN, OTCMKTS:ZURVY) growing array of travel insurance options. In the case of Canada, this gives Zurich Insurance Group a way to be part of the growth of Canadian traveling outside the country. In 2017 that added up to a new record of 12.8 million trips.
Zurich Travel Insurance is now available for both single-trip and multi-trip policies. Coverage options are available individually or all together:
– Emergency Travel Medical (TM)
– Trip Cancellation & Interruption (TC/TI)
– All-Inclusive (TM; TC/TI; Baggage, Flight and Travel Accident)
Coverage can also be provided to supplement current insurance programs as needed.
An extra benefit of Zurich Travel Insurance for purchasers is access to the multifaceted services of Zurich Travel Assist which maintains a 24/7 call center. Zurich Travel Assist helps with everything from mundane ticket changes to more serious help with medical and legal needs. The program has been run by Zurich Insurance Group subsidiary World Travel Protection, based in Toronto, for over 25 years.
Zurich Travel Insurance will be offered through travel industry-related organizations including airlines, travel agencies, automotive clubs and schools that are focused on or periodically offer some form of travel. A similar program is being unveiled in the U.S. Zurich Travel Insurance will be offered not only by Canadian companies but also U.S. companies booking travel for Canadians.
Travel insurance market
Zurich Travel Insurance is the first new initiative announced since the July appointment of John Thain. Thain brings 25 years of experience in the travel insurance industry as Vice President, Travel, Accident & Sickness. The introduction of Zurich Travel Insurance brings Zurich Canada more firmly into a global travel insurance market that grew from “$12 billion in 2012 to $18 billion in 2016.”
Zurich Insurance Group aggressively entered this market with the acquisition in 2017 of Australia’s Cover-More. Cover-More serves travelers in Australia, New Zealand, the United Kingdom, and the United States. U.S. customers have additional coverage through a partnership with Berkshire Hathaway Travel Protection. Additional acquisitions of Travel Ace and Universal Assistance occurred in 2018 as extensions of Cover-More which can now claim leadership in Latin American travel insurance.
Restructuring Zurich Canada
2018 also saw a restructuring of Zurich Canada’s leadership which one might argue actually began with the appointment of Kathleen Savio as Zurich North America’s new CEO. Savio’s appointment was announced in January of 2018. Any CEO of Zurich Canada reports to Zurich North America’s CEO.
March saw new leaders being appointed to Zurich Canada. In July, Saad Mered was announced as new CEO. Mered began his career at AIG in 1994 eventually joining Zurich Insurance Group in 2008 in the initial role of Zurich Middle East CEO. By 2014, Mered was Zurich’s Chief Claims Officer until his move to Zurich Canada in 2018.
After the appointment of Saad Mered, Zurich Insurance Group announced a restructuring of Zurich Canada. This restructuring included both a new organizational structure and jobs for numerous heads of various areas creating a new leadership team. Zurich Canada’s leadership team is based in Toronto.
In 2018, Zurich Canada also noted the appointment of their Senior Assistant General Counsel Rick Da Costa as chairperson of the Travel Health Insurance Association of Canada’s (THIA) Regulatory Affairs Committee. This national organization represents a wide range of companies involved with or interacting with Canada’s travel industry. With Da Costa in place, Zurich Canada has clear visibility into regulatory developments.
Of course, travel insurance for Canadians is not a new thing. In fact, Blue Cross Canada even offers “out-of-province” coverage for those traveling in the country. The reality is that despite excellent healthcare in Canada, there are real limits to what is covered by national systems when traveling beyond one’s province, though especially when traveling abroad. So, in one sense, Zurich Canada is very new to this particular game. On the other, it is meeting the real needs of Canadians, needs that are not going away anytime soon.