How to approach travel insurance issues....

Has snow idea

Hard Yards
Nov 22, 2016
4
2
53
Good afternoon all.
A long time lurker - but seldom poster here.

I am a little curious to know how to best deal with problems found when lodging travel insurance claims.
I have traveled to the northern hemisphere half a dozen times, but have never had to lodge a claim.

This time we returned to Gulmarg, for what was an epic season's skiing - especially after seeing how conditions were last year.
Everything went well, for the three weeks that we were there, though there was a little information coming through that things across the valley may not be a peaceful as usual.
If anyone kept in touch with the goings on this year, they would have an idea of the type of thing that I am referring to.
Anyhoo, we reluctantly left Gulmarg, stopped over on the Dal lake for a night before getting a cab to Srinagar airport.
Checked our baggage in and waited in departure.
It took a while to realise that something was wrong - but as luck would have it, the day we were to fly out civilian airspace was closed. Eventually Srinagar airport was too. Our domestic flight out was canceled.
We headed back to the houseboat, that we had stayed at the night before, and were able to get another night's accomodation.
We contacted our travel insurance company - via email - and were assured that any missed flights, due to the cancelation, would be covered.
Everything was back to normal, in regards to flights, the following day. Although it was extremely difficult to organise another flight, we managed though - and found ourselves in Delhi that night. About a day late for our international legs.
Pleading with the carrier didn't help - and we were unable to get internet access at the airport.
Ended up at a hotel, where we were able to book a rather costly flight out for the next morning.

Now the fun really starts.
Communication with the travel insurance company has been a little difficult for me.
My claim had to be lodged via a web interface, where I briefly described the circumstances and uploaded the supporting documentation - flight reservations, communications from the airline confirming the cancelation etc. Almost a month later a response came through that didn't seem to make much sense.
I am happy to copy and paste all of the communications, if anyone is curious and interested.
Though in a nutshell we are being told that we are covered for any extra accomodation - but not for the flights themselves.
I have been back and forth with them three times now - with their most recent reply being as follows:

"The coverage is still under Travel delay, as the email from the airline mentioned the flight was cancelled. It was your decision to book a new flight ticket and we totally understand that you wished to flight home. However the insurance doesn´t cover a new flight ticket."

The information provided by them, when they responded to our email sent from Srinagar goes as follows:

"Thank you for contacting us. I am sorry to hear that your flight has been cancelled.
I have copied in the relevant paragraphs from your policy:
1) Travel delay - how you are covered while you cannot get out of Srinagar
2) Missed flight - when you get to Singapore and your flight has departed
3) How you are covered when your policy is expired
Art. 18 Travel delay
18.1: If the policyholder has chosen the Non-Medical Option, the insurance shall provide cover:
1) in case of delay of more than five hours of a pre-booked transportation,
2) in case of cancellation of a pre-booked transportation,
3) in case of overbooking of a pre-booked transportation
It is the insured's responsibility to cancel any pre-booked hotels/accomodation, tours and/or special events, etc. The Company cannot be held liable for any expenses or no-show fees in connection with the above.
18.2: The insurance shall provide compensation for documented, necessary and reasonable additional expenses for accommodation (overnight stay), meals and local transportation up to USD 100/EUR 70/CHF 110/GBP 60 per day per
insured, up to an overall maximum of USD 500/EUR 350/CHF 550/GBP 300 per insured.
18.3: It is a condition for cover that the travel policy is purchased before the delay is announced by the Carrier and before you should reasonably have known about the delay/cancellation.
When you get to
Art. 19 Missed flight connection
19.1: If the policyholder has chosen the Non-Medical Option, the insurance shall provide cover in case the insured is unforeseeably delayed on one flight and through no fault of his/her own, misses his/her connection on another flight
and subsequently must catch up on the planned itinerary.
Compensation shall be paid for reasonable additional expenses for replacement flight ticket(s) or change fee(s) up to a maximum of USD 1,000/EUR 800/CHF 950/GBP 650 per trip.
19.2: It is a condition for the ticket to be covered that the means of transportation has been booked and paid for at least 24 hours before departure and that the travel policy is purchased before the insured should reasonably have
known about the delay which has caused the missed connecting flight.
19.3: Exceptions to cover:
The Company shall not be liable to pay reimbursement for expenses in case:
1) the insured can claim the replacement flight ticket(s) or change fee(s) from somewhere else,
2) the insured cannot provide evidence of his/her receipts and a written confirmation of the delay from the flight operator,
3) the late arrival is due to a connecting flight not having allowed for the official minimum transit time and at least a transit time of three hours,
4) the insured decline an alternative service by the transportation provider."

The above information is exactly what is written in their PDS.
The insurance company in question is supposedly a very good one - they certainly were not cheap to use - and are highly recommended specifically for this type of ski holiday.

At this point we have not tried contacting their claims dispute department - which I know needs to be our next step.
Has anyone else seen similar issues when trying to claim on their travel insurance?
Is there something that I am overlooking that explains why we are only getting our accomodation costs refunded? It seems to be quite cut and dry to me - but what would I know about such things.
Where do we turn to, and do we have a case, if we do not have any success with the claim dispute department?
This particular travel insurance company does not operate out of Australia - they list a Hong Kong address for all sales from the Asia Pacific region.
 

gareth_oau

Pool Room
Ski Pass
Dec 27, 2008
52,798
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Canning Vale, Perth
Excellent case study.

I’m suspecting they require you to demonstrate your reasonable endeavours to make arrangement with the cancelling carrier and why their alternatives were not suitable for you.

Off topic but interesting that they require 3 hours minimum transit time between flights
 

Has snow idea

Hard Yards
Nov 22, 2016
4
2
53
Thanks for your response Gareth.

I’m suspecting they require you to demonstrate your reasonable endeavours to make arrangement with the cancelling carrier and why their alternatives were not suitable for you.
If they are looking for that information, they have not been forthcoming in requesting that.
As it turned out, the next available seat from that carrier was in nine days time.

Off topic but interesting that they require 3 hours minimum transit time between flights​

Yes, that would be a condition that could easily be overlooked.
Having done a bit of traveling in this region, we had seven and a half hours between our domestic and international flights.
Though we have previously been lucky and have never encountered unusual delays there - but stories from others tell of different experiences.
 

Budgiesmuggler

Part of the Furniture
Ski Pass
May 7, 2010
10,722
9,549
813
Thanks for your response Gareth.

I’m suspecting they require you to demonstrate your reasonable endeavours to make arrangement with the cancelling carrier and why their alternatives were not suitable for you.
If they are looking for that information, they have not been forthcoming in requesting that.
As it turned out, the next available seat from that carrier was in nine days time.

Off topic but interesting that they require 3 hours minimum transit time between flights​

Yes, that would be a condition that could easily be overlooked.
Having done a bit of traveling in this region, we had seven and a half hours between our domestic and international flights.
Though we have previously been lucky and have never encountered unusual delays there - but stories from others tell of different experiences.


You need to look at the policy and go through it step by step. Show why you meet the conditions for cover and why the exemptions don’t apply
 

Has snow idea

Hard Yards
Nov 22, 2016
4
2
53
Cheers Budgiesmuggler.
In the communications that I have had with them, I have only really provided them with all of the information about the cancelation and proceeding missed flights.
I haven't taken the time to list each condition in their PDS and address each scenario.
Thanks for the advice. It is good to have a fresh approach, as going over the same information with them is wearing me thin.
At first I just thought that they may have misunderstood a specific detail - as the written responses are a little hard to follow, coming from someone who obviously speaks multiple languages.
I guess that I am not familiar enough with the process required.
 

smeagols_ghost

Hard Yards
Jan 4, 2020
51
215
83
Off topic but interesting that they require 3 hours minimum transit time between flights

Ya this one is a bit sneaky. I've had to fight around it before.

4) the insured decline an alternative service by the transportation provider."

As it turned out, the next available seat from that carrier was in nine days time.

Did you know that at the time ? and did you let them know ? While not quite 9 days, i've ended up with 3 day waits paid for by TI as it was cheaper then the next flight.
 

Crystal

Sand skier extraordinaire
Moderator
Ski Pass
Jan 1, 1970
18,504
3,230
813
Far far away Aussie expat
I can't offer an advice although would say be persistent...they hope you will just go away. I'll be watching this space so please update us with outcomes.

On a different note, whilst trying to claim back ~12K on medical insurance for sons busted leg...we did get it all but it took 7 months of phone calls, letters, emails. I had a calendar reminder in for me to communicate with them each week. I seriously think that they were hoping I would just go away.
 
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