Southern Cross Travel Insurance (SCTI) paid out over half a million dollars for one claim in 2015, the second highest in the company’s history.
The claim – for $537,000 after the insured suffered encephalitis in Kenya, requiring an air ambulance back home – topped the list of claims paid by SCTI last year and highlights the potential costs travellers may face if they travel without insurance.
“We did have an unusual claim for just over $1 million back in 2009, but this is certainly the largest we’ve seen since then. It just shows that claims for lost items or disruption to travel plans are minimal compared to claims for medical treatment. It’s not surprising that the top ten claims last year were all for health emergencies,” says Craig Morrison, CEO for SCTI.
“While we don’t like to think about it, these situations can happen when we are on holiday and away from the security of the New Zealand health system.
“The costs of treatment overseas and repatriation back home can very quickly add up to the hundreds of thousands and that’s often not a cost that the average Kiwi traveller can afford.
“Unfortunately, if you don’t have travel insurance, you will be left to pay that bill yourself,” he said.
Other claims in the top ten were:
$315,000 – the insured had a fatal car accident in Greece.
$273,000– an international student suffered a brain abscess, requiring surgery and an extended hospital stay.
$273,000 – the insured suffered heart failure in China and required evacuation to Thailand then repatriation home.
$227,000 – the insured needed an air ambulance back to New Zealand for specialist treatment after falling in Indonesia and suffering a cerebral haemorrhage.
$215,000 – the insured severely fractured their leg in a car accident in Indonesia, which required an air ambulance to New Zealand.
$202,000 – the insured suffered a stroke while on a cruise. They were offloaded to a hospital in Alaska, returned to New Zealand via air ambulance for one leg of the journey, then accompanied by two nurses for the remainder of the trip.
$192,000 – the insured was admitted to hospital in the USA after suffering from gallstones. They needed a business class upgrade for the return journey.
$188,000 – surgical intervention was needed after the insured tripped and fractured a hip in USA, requiring stretcher repatriation to New Zealand.
$165,000 – the insured fractured their spine after jumping into the water in Samoa. They were evacuated via air ambulance to New Zealand for surgery.