Whistler Blackcomb expands refunds for COVID-19 related claims
Whistler Blackcomb may be open for business but many skiers are not going to the resort because of COVID-19.
Anyone who purchased a Whistler Blackcomb pass this year was provided with free Epic Coverage, an insurance package that would cover them for many factors that prevented them from skiing, including restrictions put in place because of the pandemic.
“I can ski. I want to ski at Whistler,” said 11-year-old Luke Francis of Coquitlam.
However, Luke and his parents, Laurie Head and David Francis, have not used the Edge Cards they purchased for this year’s ski season because of the provincial health officer's advisory against non-essential travel outside B.C. residents' home regions.
“We’re not going against what Dr. Bonnie Henry has told us not to do,” said Luke.
“And as much as we love to ski, I don’t think it falls into the category of essential travel,” Head added.
The family believed the insurance offered by Whistler Blackcomb would have them covered so they filed a claim for a refund or credit.
On March 8, they received an email denying their claim; the request did not qualify for a refund.
The problem? The language in the insurance coverage applied to mandatory rules and restrictions and B.C. has only issued an "advisory" against travel. It appeared they had fallen through the cracks.
“We’re all in this together. We’re all struggling,” said David Francis. “We’re skiers, we’re going to ski again, give us an option.”
Message received. On March 15, before CTV News Vancouver had even reached out to Whistler Blackcomb for a comment on the situation, the family received an email stating their claim have been approved.
"We have determined your request does meet the eligibility criteria for a refund," it said.
In an email to McLaughlin On Your Side, Marc Riddel, the director of communications for Whistler Blackcomb, wrote: “The company has revisited Epic Coverage and expanded it to include people who are abiding by the provincial health officer’s recommendation against non-essential travel or have been impacted by COVID. If a claim was denied, the customer should receive an email saying that they are now eligible for a refund. Alternatively, they can also file a claim here, if they haven’t previously done so. This was just rolled out late last week by the company, so people may have not seen the email yet or have not filed a claim.”
David, Laurie and Luke, who have been going to the resort for years, said they were very pleased with the decision and that Whistler Blackcomb did the right thing. They plan to take a credit so that they can get back on the boards for the next season, hoping by then COVID-19 will be in the rear-view mirror.