Tripped Up: A Traveler Says Her Insurance Wouldn’t Pay Up

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Tripped Up

Badly hurt, a 68-year-old solo traveler expected her insurer to coordinate her care, supply much-needed translation services and past instrumentality her location to Florida. Was she expecting excessively much?

An illustration shows a woman’s caput  shown successful  silhouette speaks into the extremity  of a stethoscope with agelong  and tangled tubing starring  to the earpieces that are successful  the ears of a man’s head, seen successful  outline.
Credit...Miguel Porlan

Aug. 30, 2023, 5:01 a.m. ET

I’m a 68-year-old solo traveler who was connected a circuit of Sicily successful June 2022, erstwhile I fell getting disconnected a bus, breaking aggregate ribs, vertebrae and a pelvic bone. I had purchased the RoundTrip Choice program from Seven Corners Travel Insurance, truthful I called, expecting they would assistance coordinate my aesculapian attraction with Italian-speaking doctors. But they told maine to question assistance connected my own, prevention the receipts and record a assertion erstwhile I got home. Our circuit usher was an angel, arranging drivers to instrumentality maine backmost and distant to the infirmary and adjacent interpreting by speakerphone with doctors. Days aboriginal I got a doc to capable retired a signifier (which I had to Google Translate for him) saying I could question home, arsenic agelong arsenic I was successful a reclining position. My household chipped successful to bargain a business-class spot for the instrumentality flight, a day-and-night travel from Palermo to Munich to New York to Jacksonville. Seven Corners yet paid $5,772 for my bills and missed trip, but refused to reimburse maine for astir of my business-class fare. Far worse, I judge they failed to supply maine the assistance they promised, fundamentally leaving maine to fend for myself and leaving maine incapable to pass with infirmary staff. I person registered complaints with the Better Business Bureau and the authorities security agencies of Florida and Indiana (where Seven Corners is based), but I’ve gotten nowhere. Can you help? Helaine, St. Augustine, Fla.

What a terrifying ordeal. And besides a invaluable reminder to solo travelers that though seeing the satellite connected your ain mightiness beryllium exhilarating, it tin besides beryllium perilous. Fall sick oregon get wounded successful a spot wherever you don’t talk the connection (or don’t recognize the wellness attraction system) and who volition beryllium determination to assistance you?

Seven Corners says it will, according to its website, boasting of “a 24/7 multilingual squad disposable to assistance with question emergencies,” including assistance uncovering aesculapian attraction and 2nd opinions arsenic good arsenic “interpreter referrals” and aesculapian evacuations. The website recounts the reassuring story of Makenzie, a 22-year-old who fell sick adjacent the French-Belgian border. Seven Corners unit are portrayed arsenic springing into action, speaking to her doctors, arranging for a household subordinate to alert in, and yet booking Makenzie “a lay-down spot to guarantee maximum comfort” connected her instrumentality to California.

You evidently did not get the Makenzie treatment.

To find retired why, I combed done your argumentation and the different documents you sent me, speaking astatine magnitude and exchanging emails with Greg Jung, Seven Corners’ enforcement vice president, and adjacent asking a Times colleague, Ilaria Parogni, to construe that signifier your Sicilian doc filled retired from Italian doctor-scribble to modular English.

I was stymied somewhat by Seven Corners’ refusal to supply the documentation that I requested astir your case. But adjacent without that accusation (the Tripped Up file lacks subpoena powerfulness successful the authorities of Indiana), my digging shows that portion Seven Corners could person done a amended occupation supporting you, you misunderstood their services and argumentation requirements.

To begin, your policy, which you accidental outgo astir $300 and was underwritten by the United States Fire Insurance Company, included, among different things, sum for travel interruption and exigency aesculapian costs. It besides covered “medical evacuation” if capable wellness attraction wasn’t disposable wherever you were (apparently, it was) and “medical repatriation,” which is the outgo of getting home, including an upgrade from manager if a doc considered it necessary. Seven Corners besides provides a telephone enactment for “urgent aesculapian assistance” and has registered nurses to assistance coordinate care.

Exactly wherever the responsibility lies depends connected precisely what you were told successful your repeated telephone calls to Seven Corners from Italy successful the days aft the accident. There is seemingly nary grounds of these calls. In your distress, you didn’t deliberation to grounds them, and Mr. Jung said Seven Corners erases telephone recordings aft 1 twelvemonth — even, apparently, erstwhile the lawsuit has lodged aggregate litigious-sounding complaints, arsenic you had — and helium would not supply the archetypal lawsuit notes adjacent aft you agreed to motion a waiver.

He did summarize those notes for me, saying you were fixed wide instructions that you did not follow. He besides said that you received the maximum magnitude allowed nether your trip-interruption argumentation (150 percent of the outgo of your trip) positive aesculapian costs.

However, you were peculiarly nettled by their nonaccomplishment to reimburse you for the business-class seat. Mr. Jung said that to trigger the imaginable “medical repatriation” benefits, you needed to taxable the documents for pre-approval for this payment earlier you traveled home. (You accidental they told you to taxable documents aft you got home.) Moreover, helium said, a Seven Corners squad subordinate gave you a telephone fig for the Italian doctors to telephone for assistance. (You contradict that.)

He besides said you sent an email to Seven Corners soon aft your mishap that made it look similar the concern was nether control, which helium recovered “hard to reconcile” with your consequent complaints. In the email, helium said, you wrote that you had a “caregiver/interpreter” with you successful the infirmary and asked whether you should marque arrangements to get location oregon whether Seven Corners would.

Frustratingly, helium would not supply the email, which you bash not retrieve sending. You vehemently denied you had an interpreter with you, showing maine a telephone log of the countless telephone calls betwixt you and your circuit usher erstwhile you needed her to interpret.

One happening is apparent: The argumentation documents you signed earlier your travel intelligibly authorities that immoderate aesculapian evacuation oregon repatriation sum indispensable beryllium preapproved, arsenic Mr. Jung said, and yours was not. So there’s nary quality determination — the quality lies successful whether Seven Corners’ provided the benignant of hands’ connected assistance the Makenzie anecdote seems to promise.

You reason the 2 are intertwined — Seven Corners’ aesculapian assistance unit should person guided you done the process erstwhile you were unsocial and successful pain, helping you get pre-approval for the business-class seat, if necessary.

The connection obstruction was astir apt the fig 1 issue. Case successful point: You mentioned successful your ailment that your Italian doc had, successful writing, recommended a afloat reclining seat. Thanks to my colleague’s translation services, we cognize the doc really wrote that your ribs had healed and that you could “travel by level with assistance astir the airdrome (wheelchair).” (Note to others: Apps similar Jeenie supply pay-by-the-minute interpreter services to individuals by phone.)

I cognize you volition not beryllium utilizing Seven Corners again. But I asked Mr. Jung to clarify the close process different customers should undertake to entree the aesculapian services promised by the company.

He told maine that the archetypal measurement is for argumentation holders to question with the company’s security paper readily disposable (physically oregon electronically) and to telephone Seven Corners (or person the infirmary call) arsenic soon arsenic possible. A typical would past instrumentality your accusation and nonstop forms for you to capable retired and nonstop backmost arsenic soon arsenic possible, with immoderate applicable aesculapian records.

“Once each that accusation is received,” helium wrote, “customer work engages our Assist squad 24/7 and 1 of them would scope retired to a lawsuit wrong 30 minutes.” If Seven Corners determines the insured’s concern is covered, “the Assist squad would arrange/monitor each aesculapian attraction passim the lawsuit and put immoderate proscription needed during/after.”

So we’re backmost to whether you knew you needed to taxable those forms close distant to trigger the services you truthful desperately sought.

Shortly earlier publication, you called maine backmost to accidental you had resolved and settled the contented with Seven Corners, but could not supply details. Seven Corners did not respond to questions astir the settlement.

If you request proposal astir a best-laid question program that went awry, send an email to [email protected].

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