We all like efficiency - getting things done quickly and easily. In the international private medical insurance business efficiency can make all the difference in the golden hour, when an expatriate has an accident on assignment, or a tourist falls ill on holiday. But how efficient is the process from incident to claim to actual healthcare service access?
iPMI Magazine recently asked a round table board the question, can IPMI insurers and medical evacuation and repatriation service providers work more efficiently together?
ADAM BOOTH, MAYDAY ASSISTANCE: Insurance and Assistance are two completely different roles, it is more beneficial for the client to specialise in one field and concentrate on the service provided instead of a combination, especially when there is a risk of financial concerns overriding those of a professional assistance service with high clinical standards.
PHILIPP SCHNEIDER, QUICK AIR: A more shared information network of empty legs and actual geographic transport capacities would be a great benefit for both the insurers as well as the service providers. The main task should be to minimize empty flights and unused free capacities.
EVA KLUGE, AIR ALLIANCE: Yes, absolutely. Aeromedial repatriations are highly sophisticated and complex services, but yet they will only make up a very small percentage of the cases an assistance/insurance company is handling. For example, there may be a lot of medical knowledge in some assistance companies, but much less expertise with regard to flight physiology and the challenges and complexities of aviation. We believe that constant learning is a great way to understand each other better. So we conduct training programmes for assistance staff and train our staff how an assistance/insurance company works and thinks.
IRENA DIMITRIJEVIC, JET EXECUTIVE: In my opinion the efficiency between insurers and medical repatriation providers is already quite highly developed. If you have worked with a client for a couple of years you know their working procedures and how quickly you can rely on necessary information.
The flights are usually booked on a very short notice and we need to set up and organize the evacuation very quickly. But medical cases are very sensitive and in theory everyone knows exactly how to handle a case but in reality you need a lot of experience to keep an overview on all the details; patient’s condition get worse during the night, the hospitals don’t want to release them, the relatives are concerned, passports disappear, the scheduled aircraft has an AOG, the weather in the operating airports is critical - fog during Autumn etc. There are many unforeseen events that can create chaos.
Efficiency is well-meant but not always realistic in our daily lives. After all we are not a manufacturer of a product that can be planned in detail years ahead, we are reacting on people’s needs and we have to react very quickly.
CLAUDIA SCHMIEDHUBER, TYROL AIR AMBULANCE: I believe that a close collaboration between insurers and the medical evacuation and repatriation providers is of great essence in regards to the development of our industry. Insurers / Insurance companies are becoming more and more educated – they attend conferences, read industry publications and start to actively get involved in procedures, workflows and operational planning. This not only leads to a closer cooperation and less misunderstandings between the two parties but also to knowledge sharing and fruitful discussions for best practice and improvements.
TAA has taken the approach to not only be completely transparent in regards to our pricing, best practice, etc. but also to involve the insurers and especially new clients in the active planning of their client – based procedures. This leads to a mutual understanding and base and creates trust in between both parties. As we at TAA understand that all client needs are different it also helps us to create tailor made products for our insurance companies.