September 27, 2023
Journey insurance coverage big refuses payout, claiming Ontario man’s COVID not extreme sufficient

The Clyson household journey to Antigua final March was a redo of kinds. They’d already cancelled one journey to Mexico on account of COVID-19 considerations and restrictions.

With two youngsters in tow, Rob and Kathleen Anne Clyson of Kitchener, Ont., knew it is perhaps the final time they’d have the ability to get the entire clan on a aircraft on the identical time.

Kathleen Anne says the household’s first journey in three years was precisely what they’d hoped.

“The resort was lovely. The seashore was lovely. It was a pleasant, stress-free, household time,” she advised Go Public.

That’s, till 5 days in after they, together with all different air passengers, needed to take a fast COVID check to be allowed to fly dwelling. 

All of them handed, besides Rob. 

He had solely gentle signs, however the household trip floor to a halt.

Whereas the remainder of the household needed to keep on the resort, distanced from different friends, Rob was required to isolate in his room, and would miss their return flight. 

It value $1,050 US to maintain him in an Antigua resort room for 3 nights and $627.60 Cdn for a separate flight dwelling.

Fortunately, Kathleen Anne thought, that they had loads of journey insurance coverage. 

Along with COVID emergency insurance coverage — included of their Sunwing trip bundle — she additionally paid for journey cancellation and interruption protection. All insurance policies had been with Manulife.

“It was simply peace of thoughts reserving it. I imply, so far as I used to be conscious, there was no different insurance coverage I may have purchased that might have protected us,” she mentioned. 

A man and younger woman paddle a kayak in a tropical setting.
Rob and his daughter Grace kayak in Antigua. The household had taken out each journey interruption insurance coverage and emergency COVID protection. (Submitted by Kathleen Anne Clyson)

The Clysons’ journey agent had even known as Sunwing earlier than the household departed to make sure the COVID bundle lined any isolation bills. 

The agent says she was assured it did.

Kathleen Anne recollects getting extra assurances when she opened a declare. 

“I known as Manulife and the Sunwing rep. They mentioned, ‘Don’t be concerned, we’ll ensure he is effectively taken care of. You do not have something to fret about.’ So we packed up the whole lot and left Rob with what he wanted,'” she mentioned. 

The Clysons anticipated their interruption insurance coverage to cowl the 2 days of trip that had been derailed by Rob’s COVID check, and for his resort keep and flight to be lined by the COVID insurance coverage.

A woman with dark blonde hair wearing a black t-shirt looks directly at the camera.
Kathleen Anne spent weeks attempting to get reimbursement from Manulife for the disruption of their trip and Rob’s separate resort room and return flight. (Joe Fiorino/CBC)

She thought leaving her husband by himself, in a resort room, feeling underneath the climate, can be the worst of it.

“It was terrible. It is the unknown,” she mentioned. 

We did the whole lot we thought that was proper. We deliberate it.— Kathleen Anne Clyson

However the declare was denied as a result of — in line with each Manulife and the journey agent — Rob hadn’t wanted or sought “medical therapy.”

In different phrases, as a result of Rob did not get sick sufficient to warrant a hospital go to. 

However that rejection seems to be in direct battle with the high-quality print in Manulife’s COVID-19 coverage, which says “therapy” consists of “prescribed treatment, investigative testing and surgical procedure.” 

Scott Stanley, a Vancouver private damage lawyer and insurance coverage specialist, calls Manulife’s rejection a “unhealthy denial.”

He says the protection is obvious. “That is truly one of many uncommon cases when the insurance coverage coverage is definitely fairly simple to learn, fairly simple to know, and but we now have a denial coming from it,” he mentioned.

A slim man with short brown hair, wearing a collared shirt and black blazer, looks directly at the camera. There is a bookshelf behind him.
Scott Stanley, a Vancouver private damage lawyer, says Manulife’s choice to reject the Clysons’ declare was a ‘unhealthy denial.’ (Dillon Hodgin/CBC)

Stanley’s opinion is that the denial was a breach of contract.

“It is fairly apparent that this can be a declare that falls inside the 4 corners of the coverage. It is one which needs to be paid out and lined, and it is actually not dependent upon how sick the individual is.”

After Go Public acquired concerned, Manulife modified course. The Clysons had been reimbursed $627 Cdn for Rob’s flight dwelling and $450 Cdn for the three further nights he stayed in Antigua, totalling $1,077. 

They weren’t compensated for the interruption of the ultimate two days of their trip. 

Stanley says he routinely comes throughout legitimate claims which might be denied however not pursued legally as a result of the claimants cannot afford a lawyer.

WATCH | Rob Clyson obtained journey insurance coverage, however was denied reimbursement: 

Household denied reimbursement regardless of COVID-19 insurance coverage | Go Public

An Ontario household says they had been denied reimbursement from Manulife after one in every of them fell ailing with COVID-19 whereas on vacation, regardless of having bought COVID-19 journey insurance coverage.

Manulife didn’t conform to an interview for this story, nor did it reply any of the questions subsequently despatched by e mail about why the Clysons had been denied within the first place.

In a written assertion to Go Public, Sunwing says its coverage was adopted when the Clysons had been advised to pursue the matter with Manulife. It additionally mentioned it not provides that specific COVID protection. 

The Clysons say they’re considerably completely happy to have obtained partial reimbursement for his or her prices. However Kathleen Anne says they’re nonetheless left questioning what they might have executed in a different way.

“It isn’t like we did not get insurance coverage and thought, oh, we should always have gotten insurance coverage, however we did the whole lot we thought that was proper. We deliberate it,” she mentioned. 

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