International Travel Insurance Conference APAC 2018

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1 July 2018 The travel insurance industry
by Craig Morrison

We have just attended the International Travel Insurance Conference APAC 2018 in Sydney. This annual APAC conference provides us the opportunity to meet an amazing array of emergency assistance companies from all over the world, in one place!

While there is a ‘global’ conference in the EU each year, the APAC conference focuses on unique problems and challenges for us ‘down under’ folk!

The best part of the conference is meeting with our hand-picked, trusted partners. These are the people and companies that Holiday Rescue relies upon to rescue our customers! Now, I don’t mean ‘rescue’ in the literal sense of the word, most of the time, but about 1 in a hundred times, I do. In a random sample of 100 policies, about 10 will submit a claim; of those, about 1 will be an emergency or serious injury or illness, requiring the attention of aviation-trained intensive care medical staff to ensure appropriate treatment to get the customer home safely.

We do it differently.

Holiday Rescue manages emergencies quite differently than others in the industry. We never waste time going through a ‘get three quotes’ process if you’re seriously ill or injured and we need to bring you home for treatment.  While others waste time uncovering the lowest bidder, we’ve got the plane on the runway fully staffed and equipped ready to go! We want our customers to come home with people that we know and trust.

Each of our overseas partners are empowered to proactively go out of their way to make sure our customers’ needs are more than met. We’re not worried about taxi receipts or phone bills – of course we’ll reimburse these!

Since each emergency event is unique with its own set of circumstances, down to the experience of the customer (seasoned traveller, or first time overseas), all these details make a big difference in our management of the case. No scripting here!

How it works with our partners.

When we met with our assistance partners in Sydney, we emphasised how important it is for our cases to be proactively managed. Our local partners liaise with the local hospital for frequent updates on our customers, so that we can keep family and friends back home properly informed of what’s going on, and when they can expect their loved one to return. If there is a language barrier, they can send someone to their bedside to translate.

The people that work in these overseas assistance companies are incredible! There’s one person at Asian Assistance in Bangkok whose only job is to make sure invoices from the hospital are correct, and they’re not ripping you off. And you know what? This woman is passionate about her work! She goes through every line on the invoice, line by line, to make sure that the charges are correct and reasonable.

And our friends at New Zealand Air Ambulance Service (NZAAS) are our primary ‘go to’ partner for getting severely sick or injured customers home safely, and quickly. We alert the NZAAS clinical team very early on a case, frequently as soon as we know our customer has been admitted to an overseas hospital, and where the probability is high that we’ll need help to bring them home. This could be on an air ambulance specially designed to carry critically ill patients with a full medical team and medical equipment. Or a commercial flight on a stretcher at the back of the plane or business class upgrade with a doctor and/or nurse escort.  

NZAAS’s Chief Medical Officer is specialised in aviation medicine and ensures the customer’s health and safety remains the highest priority as we prepare to bring them home. Because of the early notification, NZAAS’s repatriation team can leap into action as soon as the customer is “Fit To Fly,” or expected to be, and the customer gets home 2-3 days earlier.

NZAAS and Asian Assistance are just two of a great, and growing, number of partners around the world who share our sense of integrity toward customer care. The ultimate goal is high quality service and complete customer satisfaction, from the big things to the little things. It’s not about saving a buck or two, here and there. As the Holiday Rescue business grows, we look forward to working closely with these trusted partners and friends to help us on this rewarding and challenging journey.

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