Many plan sponsors and plan members are unaware that out of country Insurance coverage is limited or in some cases suspended when traveling in certain regions of the world. Every Insurer deals with this issue differently, but at a minimum, traveling to certain ‘War Risk Zones’ will result in limited protection for injuries stemming from one’s presence in that region. In the best-case scenario, coverage might be provided to an insured should they accidentally fracture an arm. However, if the same arm was fractured as a result of a mortar attack, the insured might suddenly find themselves without coverage for those expenses.
Foreign Affairs Canada maintains and publishes a list of countries and regions that they suggest Canadians should not visit. The list is available in the useful links section of our website or at Travel Warning section of Foreign Affairs Canada.
Insurers and travel assistance providers have taken the position that they will limit or in some cases, will not provide coverage in places where the Government of Canada warns Canadians against visiting.
Traveling in these countries or regions is of course not forbidden, but doing so, might imply that one assumes the full risk and expense of their medical health expenses should something happen to them.
If plan members are traveling to areas where they suspect might be a region of conflict, it is best to call their Insurer through their toll free Customer Call Centre (also listed in the useful links section).
We caution plan members and plan sponsors not to make any assumptions on the countries or regions contained in the list as the list is quite broad and includes places such as Israel – The West Bank and Gaza, but also other places where one might not think that there are active conflicts, such as Russia, Indonesia, Egypt, Pakistan and Venezuela.