Okanagan woman fights for prompt insurance payout after serious overseas accident

The excerpted article was written BY

A Lake Country woman said she went into shock immediately after she was in a severe accident in Indonesia, but it was the pain that followed while she was waiting in the emergency room for her insurance coverage to kick in that was most agonizing.

Brittany Roth was exploring a small island near Bali on the back of a scooter when the road made a sharp turn.

“My left knee clipped a jagged rock wall and tore me off the bike,” she said.

Brittany said she looked down and saw an exposed kneecap, a foot that was ripped open and her leg covered in blood.

“I looked at my friend and I said, ‘We have to call travel insurance now’,” she said. “I know you have to call the insurance company before you make a claim or it’s void.

An ambulance then rushed her to a local medical clinic, but her injuries were too severe for staff to treat.

Brittany said she was told she needed to catch a boat back to the main island before sundown.

But despite her insurance coverage, she had to pay up first.

“The way that it works in Bali unfortunately, is the care is really, really good, but until you can pay the bill, you don’t get treatment,” Brittany said. “So they said, ‘we need a credit card now or you’re on your own for the night.’”

Her travelling companion called Brittany’s sister Brooke Roth in the middle of the night in Canada, asking for her credit card number.

“My sister said it was terrifying receiving the call, hearing me screaming in the background. She thought I was getting kidnapped, she didn’t know why I needed a credit card,” Brittany said.

Brooke said she tried to stay calm as she learned the details.

Brooke paid the bill, and Brittany was put on a spine board for transport to Bali.

Some locals and her travelling companion carried Brittany to the waiting boat.

“They had to go down really, really steep concrete stairs to get to the beach, and then they had to walk through the ocean, knee-deep through water to get me to this boat,” Brittany said.

When the 20-year-old arrived at the hospital in Bali, still in a bathing suit, she was met with another bill — this one for $12,000.

“I was there for about four hours,” Brittany said. “They had said, ‘Unless we receive payment in 15 minutes, I’m sorry, we have to let you go. We can’t keep you here anymore.’”

“We were terrified thinking that we might be on the street,” Brittany said. “I don’t know what to do with my leg. I can’t walk. I’m bleeding.”

Meanwhile, back in Canada, Brooke was in a bureaucratic battle with Pacific Blue Cross Insurance.

“It was really frustrating. We had the approval right in front of us, but it took them so long to send the confirmation to the hospital,” she said.

After hours on the phone, confirmation finally went through, and Brittany successfully underwent surgery.

She received 38 stitches, has a torn tendon and is now moving around with crutches.

The sisters are still waiting for their $3,500 back, and Brittany is out-of-pocket the $3,000 expense of flying home unexpectedly.

Friends have started a GoFundMe campaign to help Brittany recover some of her costs.

Pacific Blue Cross declined an interview, but emailed Global News a statement on Monday.

“All travel insurance policies require contact with the insurer as soon as possible after an event has occurred to ensure the best treatment for the insured individual and to properly facilitate the claim,” it said.

“We’re obligated to work within each country’s medical system; it is not uncommon for medical facilities to require confirmation of payment, which we appreciate is unpleasant when injured.”

The insurance company also said that it can’t address specific cases because of privacy concerns.

Global News

Workplace Safety and Insurance Board

MARSHA MOWERS | Travel Pulse Canada

Manulife held their annual partner appreciation event in Toronto last week, where attendees gathered to hear from Millennial expert and marketing research leader Dave Coletto, CEO of research firm Abacus who delivered strategic advice to many of Canada’s top companies.

“Tonight is a reflection of getting our great partners into the room to celebrate the year, but it’s also an educational opportunity where we bring in a guest speaker that really addresses the issues and trends in the market place that everyone as a business owner wants to be made aware of,” Rob Lafrate VP, Client Relationships and Business Development told TravelPulse Canada.

We’re here to recognize our top customers, to thank them it’s our client appreciation day,” said AVP & GM Travel Insurance Jacques Gilbert.

“It’s a way for us to thank them for business over the year, timing before holidays, it’s always a lot of fun. It’s to make it more than just about having a cocktail with us.”

Manulife is launching a number of programs this coming year, include the re-launch of their popular protection plan.

Those who post more selfies are seen as less likeable, a new study finds.

Read more
The need to understand travel health insurance coverage

The need to understand travel health insurance coverage

As 54 per cent of Canadians prepare to travel this already frigid winter, the Travel Health Insurance Association (THiA) is releasing the results of its most recent traveller survey that reveals that 26 per cent of Canadians are unsure of their coverage when they travel.

Ninety per cent of respondents make mobile phones a part of life even on holiday, but these modern conveniences are increasingly a source of injury with 13 per cent overall (and 18 per cent of millennials) reporting that they’ve been injured while posing precariously for selfies.

“Everyone deserves a carefree vacation and travel health insurance is designed to pay for unexpected medical emergencies,” said Will McAleer, Travel Health Insurance Association. “Understanding what activities might impact coverage, whether it be climbing a mountain or consuming more alcohol than usual, is part of what’s required for a good getaway. With Ontario being the first province to eliminate coverage for out-of-country medical expenses, it’s more important than ever to know what is and isn’t covered by insurance policies.”

Starting on January 1, 2020, OHIP is changing its out of country travel health coverage for Ontarians and will no longer provide any coverage for travellers (aside from kidney dialysis). According to the survey, 45 per cent of Canadians believe provincial health insurance covers some medical expenses incurred while travelling abroad. These changes underscore the importance of consumer awareness and understanding of their travel health insurance coverage.

Being aware of what is or isn’t covered under a policy, or federal regulations related to marijuana, will go a long way in ensuring that hard-earned holidays aren’t jeopardized either by unexpected medical expenses or criminal changes.

Twenty per cent of survey respondents admit to having consumed more than five drinks in two hours on holiday while 31 per cent of millennial males have climbed mountains while travelling. And, 21 per cent of respondents believe it’s acceptable to travel with marijuana packed in their luggage.

The survey also revealed that Canadians are more likely to travel domestically this year and less likely to travel to the US due to the exchange rate (58 per cent) and current political climate (48 per cent).

Wherever Canadians plan to travel this winter, they are more likely to have a carefree holiday and navigate unexpected medical issues with appropriate travel health insurance. Will McAleer recommends that all travellers familiarize themselves with the following key elements of travel health insurance:

  1. Understand your travel insurance policy – Insurance providers have staff available to answer any questions related to policies.
  2. Know your health and consult a health care provider if you have any questions.
  3. Know your trip – How long will you be gone? Are you a snowbird? Will you be travelling many times during the year? Do you plan to scuba dive? Find a policy that is specifically tailored to your trip.
  4. Know your rights – The Bill of Rights and Responsibilities will help provide all travelling Canadians with additional confidence in their travel insurance purchase knowing their company is supporting their rights as a consumer and making them aware of their responsibilities.

About the Survey
The online survey, conducted in October 2019, polled 1,053 respondents, ranging from ages 18 to 60+ across Canada.

About the Travel Health Insurance Association of Canada (THiA)
Founded in 1998, the Travel Health Insurance Association (THiA) is the national organization representing travel insurers, brokers, underwriters, re-insurers, emergency assistance companies, air ambulance companies and allied services in the travel insurance field. THiA is the leading voice of the travel insurance industry in Canada and is engaged in public education and issues relating to regulatory affairs and member communications.

SOURCE Travel Health Insurance Association of Canada (THiA)

Travel Health Insurance Association of Canada (THiA)

Time for snowbirds to check health coverage

The excerpted article was written by Jane Stevenson 

Toronto Sun

The frightful weather means one thing: Snowbirds will be or have already left for southern destinations.

A report by the Canadian Trade Commissioner estimates close to 500,000 Canadian snowbirds spend their winter in Florida.

But with the Ontario government cancelling OHIP’s Out-of-Country Travellers Program in January 2020, insurance experts are advising snowbirds to check their health coverage.

“As it stands today, the province offers $400 a day, out-of-country medical coverage,” said Anne Marie Thomas, of insurancehotline.com

“I mean it sounds like it would be a lot but that all depends on what happened to you. So, it’s not a significant amount but it’s a good reminder, Ontarians, we’re losing this,” added Thomas.  “Make sure you purchase travel insurance more than ever because (as of January 2020), you have zero coverage.”

The reason for this, says Thomas, is simple.

“The premier’s office (says) it will save Ontarians $83 million a year if we don’t offer this. So $83 million tells you people were using this, right?” said Thomas, who added it’s important for people to know the details of their coverage.

“Some people have (travel insurance) through work and so they feel that they’re covered, but you may not be covered for everything. You probably would not be covered under your work policy if you were in Cuba and you were hang gliding and something happened to you,” she added. “Very often …, if you’re injured during an extreme sport, you could potentially be declined a claim because an extreme sport, in a lot of cases, is excluded.”

A recent survey by insurancehotline.com found that 40 % of Canadians believe the cost of a four-hour emergency medical evacuation would be $2,000. In reality, it can cost tens of thousands of dollars.

Travel Insurance Myths You Need to Know

The excerpted article was written by ALLIANZ GLOBAL ASSISTANCE | MARSHA MOWERS

Despite the thousands of Canadians it helps every year, travel insurance is an acknowledged necessity, yet seemingly shrouded in myth.

TravelPulse Canada asked Dan Keon, VP Market Management for Allianz Global Assistance, about the myths in travel insurance and for some tips to help agents ensure their clients are making an informed choice.

Busted: “Insurance companies exist in order to help mitigate unforeseen and sudden events, with a view to making a client financially whole again,” says Keon. “Any insurance company’s reputation rests on its ability to make good on its promise to honour the premiums it receives.”

“Travellers are encouraged to carefully read their travel insurance policy to understand the benefits, exclusions and limitations, as travel insurance does not cover everything. When travellers have questions, their insurance advisor is the reliable source and trusted professional to provide clarification.”

Myth: Credit cards provide sufficient travel insurance coverage

Busted: “Many credit cards do not cover everything a client may require, such as coverage for specific types of emergencies or Trip Cancellation and Interruption coverage. Credit cards and homeowner’s policies may also provide limited coverage, carry stricter exclusions or include higher deductibles. Depending on the type of card the client carries, available benefits may also vary.”

“Travellers might not be aware of the variation between travel insurance options, which are not all created equally. It’s critical that travellers verify and fully understand the benefits they believe to be included on their credit card with their card issuer before departure, and speak to their insurance advisor to confirm they have appropriate coverage in place for their trip.”

Myth: It’s cheaper to buy travel insurance online

Busted: “According to a recent study by the Conference Board of Canada, a quarter of clients who purchase travel insurance through a broker do so online, whereas the majority opt to purchase in person or by phone. While clients may turn to online resources to research travel insurance offerings, the comparisons they make aren’t always apples to apples. Price can be one important factor for comparison, but the underlying benefits, coverages, exclusions and limitations may vary significantly.”

“The reality is that insurance advisors have direct access to a broad range of products and options on behalf of the traveller that provide comprehensive coverage at a reasonable price, and deliver the value a traveller expects. Working with a licensed insurance advisor to select a plan provides added confidence for travellers that they’ll have the right coverage in place if and when they need it most.”

Source: TravelPulse Canada

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