SYS-CON MEDIA Authors: Bob Gourley, Greg Schulz, Don Nelson, Gilad Parann-Nissany, Noel Wurst

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BMO Insurance Study: More Than Forty Per Cent of Canadians Are Less Likely to Travel This March Break Given Declining Loonie

- Of the seventy-two per cent of Canadians who do plan to travel, 61 per cent will travel within Canada

TORONTO, ONTARIO -- (Marketwired) -- 03/03/14 -- With March Break around the corner, BMO Insurance today released the results of a study where, with the recent drop in the Canadian dollar, almost half (42 per cent) of Canadians stated they are less likely to travel this spring. The loonie's decline against the U.S. Dollar and the Euro over the past 12 months alone has been more that 10 per cent. However, nearly three-quarters (72 per cent) still plan to do some travelling this spring, with 61 per cent of people travelling planning to do so within the country.

The study also found that close to half (44 per cent) of Canadians are worried about requiring medical attention while on spring break (as a result of getting sick or having an accident), underlying the importance of travelling with adequate medical travel insurance. Bad weather (55 per cent) and losing something of value (47 per cent) were also among the top concerns on the minds of Canadians as they begin their vacations.

"Going on vacation requires lots of planning, energy, time and money," said Julie Barker-Merz, Vice-President and Chief Operating Officer, BMO Insurance. "Canadians should make sure that their holiday is as stress free as possible. We can't control things like a declining dollar or bad weather, so it's important to get a handle on what travel worries you can control. First and foremost should be your health-it's critical that you make sure you have adequate travel medical insurance before hitting the road."

Ms. Barker-Merz noted that the costs of medical services abroad can be daunting, with a broken leg in the United States costing up to US$20,000, an air ambulance from Florida to Ontario costing up to US$15,000 and treatment for decompression sickness in Thailand costing up to US$40,000.

Protect Yourself by Purchasing Medical Travel Insurance

When asked how often they purchase medical travel insurance when travelling outside of Canada, 44 per cent of respondents stated that they purchase it 'all the time', up from 38 per cent in 2012.

When asked to say why they do not purchase medical travel insurance, the top reasons Canadians identified included:


--  They are already covered by their workplace healthcare plan (36 per
    cent)
--  They do not travel enough to make it worthwhile (26 per cent)
--  Medical travel insurance costs too much (25 per cent)

"BMO Insurance offers a wide range of affordable medical travel insurance plans to suit the needs of your vacation," said Ms. Barker-Merz. "It's important that you know what coverage you have, if any, before heading out on vacation. Purchasing medical travel insurance provides peace-of-mind and is a sure-fire way to help make your spring break a more relaxing vacation."

Regional Breakdown:


----------------------------------------------------------------------------
                                                                      % that
                  % that are                                        purchase
              less likely to                                  medical travel
               travel due to  % of travelers      % that are  insurance 'all
               the declining        that are   worried about  the time' when
                value of the     planning to       requiring      travelling
                    Canadian   travel inside         medical      outside of
Region                dollar          Canada       attention          Canada
----------------------------------------------------------------------------
National                  42              61              44              44
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Atlantic                  44              75              49              35
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Quebec                    35              64              44              52
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Ontario                   43              54              50              40
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Prairies                  48              59              30              54
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Alberta                   44              60              42              43
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B.C.                      49              65              37              46
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The survey was conducted by Pollara between February 14th and February 19th, 2014 with an online sample of 1,002 Canadians. The margin of error for a probability sample of this size is +/- 3.1%, 19 times out of 20.

For more information on BMO Travel Insurance: www.bmo.com/home/personal/banking/insurance/travel.

Get the latest BMO press releases via Twitter by following @BMOmedia.

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