Emergency assistance provided abroad to insured travellers from Australia

Leggat, Peter A., Griffiths, Robin, and Leggat, Frances W. (2005) Emergency assistance provided abroad to insured travellers from Australia. Travel Medicine and Infectious Disease, 3 (1). pp. 9-17.

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Background: Emergency assistance provided on behalf of travel insurance companies may include direct services such as medical advice, referral for local medical or dental treatment abroad, or aeromedical evacuation (AME) back to Australia or a third country. Little is known about the nature of these services provided by emergency assistance services on behalf of travel insurance companies. This study is designed to investigate the nature of emergency assistance provided abroad to travellers from Australia.

Methods: All travel insurance claims reported during 2001 to a major Australian travel insurance company were examined for those claims utilising the insurer's emergency assistance service.

Results: Four hundred claims (25.3%) reported utilising emergency assistance Medical and dental claims made up over two thirds of claims requiring emergency assistance (275, 69.3%), with cancellation and curtailment, mostly for medical reasons, making up more than one eighth of claims (59, 14.8%). The most common nature of illness requiring emergency assistance was musculoskeletal disorders (87, 28.2%), followed by gastrointestinal disorders (45, 14.6%), dental conditions (42, 13.6%) and respiratory problems (36, 11.7%). The problem reportedly occurred at a median of 19.5 (range=281.0) days into travel. Emergency assistance provided included policy advice (395, 99.0%), claiming advice (394, 98.7%), civil advice or assistance (79, 19.8%), medical advice or GP referral (22, 5.5%), hospital emergency room (ER) review (58, 14.5%), hospital admission (46, 11.5%), medical or dental follow-up (25, 6.3%) and AME (10, 2.5%).

Conclusions: Use of the travel insurer's emergency assistance service was reported by about one quarter of claimants. In most cases, travellers sought simple claiming and policy advice, however, the emergency assistance service occasionally co-ordinated the provision of direct medical services. AME was an uncommon but expensive form of emergency assistance. Further research is needed into how useful the services provided by emergency assistance services of travel insurance companies were to the travellers that use these services.

Item ID: 7214
Item Type: Article (Research - C1)
ISSN: 1873-0442
Keywords: Australia; emergency assistance; travel insurance; travellers
Date Deposited: 26 Mar 2010 04:01
FoR Codes: 11 MEDICAL AND HEALTH SCIENCES > 1117 Public Health and Health Services > 111706 Epidemiology @ 100%
SEO Codes: 92 HEALTH > 9299 Other Health > 929999 Health not elsewhere classified @ 100%
Downloads: Total: 4
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