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Real-Life Scenarios Prepare CEGA Staff For Winter Sports Travel Insurance Claims

Walking on crutches and pushing wheelchairs whilst wheeling heavy luggage are among challenges currently being set to CEGA's travel claims and assistance teams. The exercise is part of the global provider's annual commitment to prepare staff for the season's spate of winter sports insurance claims.

CEGA's bespoke training incorporates real-life scenarios that enable customer-facing employees to fully understand the needs of and empathise with customers making claims for winter sports injuries.

The programme also draws on the expertise of CEGA's in-house medical teams, who are ensuring that frontline claims and assistance staff are au fait with the range of different winter sports injuries and their impact on policyholders when it comes to providing suitable medical treatment, accommodation, support and travel.

Other subjects covered by the training include methods of mountain rescue, piste variations and the intricacies of insurers' winter sports policies.

CEGA's Medical Assistance Training Manager Melanie Vass says, "The training is as realistic as possible, so that staff can go above and beyond in supporting customers who need medical assistance and bespoke travel or accommodation after a winter sports injury.

"It is all about putting patient welfare first and making sure that we can anticipate customers' needs - often before they do themselves. This helps ensure we can offer the very best customer service at the best cost to our insurer clients."

Read CEGA's Winter Sports Survival Guide here


CEGA Creates New Role To Meet Rising Demand For Private Repatriation

CEGA has appointed a new business development manager to meet the rising demand for private medical repatriations from travellers.

Nick Simon, who takes on the new role, will focus on the needs of ill or injured clients who require repatriation to their home country (wherever that may be) or a country that offers suitable medical care, but have no insurance, or find their policies do not cover them.  He brings significant experience of the travel sector to the job.

CEGA reports that the growing global demand for repatriations calls for a range of flexible solutions: from road, rail and sea journeys and scheduled flights with medical escorts, to intensive care bed-to-bed air ambulance transfers with full medical and security management, complex travel arrangements and hospital admission. It cites heart problems, long-term illness and complex fractures among the most common conditions to necessitate repatriation.

RELATED READING: International Medical Evacuation And Repatriation Strategies 2016

Nick Simon comments, "Individuals in need overseas are not always aware that they can access repatriation services directly, without insurance, nor that a repatriation involves very much more than a journey. My advice is to always seek the services of an experienced provider who has the best interests of the patient at heart.           

"A reputable supplier will fully assess a patient's needs, select and deploy the right transport and medical care to meet those needs and support them (and their families) from one hospital bed to another. Where needed, they will also provide integrated security assistance."

Muir Roberston, CEGA's managing director, concludes: "We draw on over forty years' experience, on in-house doctors, nurses and multilingual assistance staff and on a global network of hospitals, transport and security partners to provide the best patient care at the best cost.

"Testament to this is the fact that we were the first company in Europe to gain the Commercial Aviation Medical Escort Accreditation from EURAMI*: recognising our global expertise in end-to-end patient transfers."

 *European Aeromedical Institute


Holiday Risks Campaign Encourages Uptake Of Travel Insurance

iPMI Magazine Travel Insurance NewsAvoid forking out thousands of pounds to be repatriated in an emergency, book mid-floor rooms in hotels to escape break-ins and take out insurance that covers all your summer sports. This is just some of the advice for holidaymakers being given by global assistance and claims management company CEGA, as part of its summer campaign to increase awareness of lesser known holiday risks and encourage uptake of travel insurance.

CEGA's advice comes in the wake of new data from ABTA (Association of British Travel Agents) showing that over 25% of travellers set off abroad without travel insurance in the last year; up 3% on the year before.

Dr Tim Hammond, CEGA's chief medical officer, says, "We are increasing awareness of the fact that, for a small outlay, travel insurance could save holidaymakers tens of thousands of pounds if disaster strikes in a far flung corner of the world.

"Every year we repatriate hundreds of holidaymakers who have become ill or seriously injured on holiday overseas, some from very remote areas. Not all of them have travel insurance, but none would risk setting off abroad again without it."

CEGA's other warnings to holidaymakers include advice that ice cubes used to chill drinks in developing countries can cause diarrhea, that having an accident after a night of heavy drinking could invalidate a travel insurance claim and that the EHIC (European Health Insurance Card) only covers basic state medical care.

CEGA's research into travel insurance claims for 2016 shows that gastroenteritis is among the most common causes of claims from holidaymakers in developing countries and that France, Spain and Turkey top the list of European countries producing summer claims.


CEGA Accredited For Services Carried Out On Behalf Of Insurers

CEGA has been awarded a prestigious industry accolade for the worldwide patient transfer services it carries out on behalf of travel, personal accident and health insurers.

The global assistance, claims and risk management provider has become the first company in Europe to gain the Commercial Aviation Medical Escort Accreditation from EURAMI* as a standalone accolade.

"The very positive thing about CEGA is that it is a complete patient management provider, from first call, to case handling abroad, to bringing the patient back home," said the EURAMI report. It went on to say: "CEGA has a huge operations department that handles all medical cases, supports ongoing repatriations and tracks all flights. But it also has a safety department that works on daily threats all over the world: natural disasters, attacks, accidents and so on that may influence insured members or their own operations."

The provider underwent a full day's inspection and rigorous testing of its global patient transfer capabilities to achieve the accreditation: subjecting (amongst other areas) its business processes, operations personnel and safety, quality and medical management to close scrutiny. According to EURAMI, its quality management and safety regulations surpass those required by the accolade.

"This accreditation recognises CEGA's global expertise in end-to-end patient transfers, gained over its 40 years of service," concludes CEGA's Chief Medical Officer, Dr Tim Hammond. "It further reassures our clients that, day in, day out, we put patients in the most capable of hands - wherever they are in the world."

*The European Air Medical Institute. EURAMI's mission is to promote high quality aeromedical transfers throughout Europe and the world.


Travel Insurance Fraudsters To Get Zero Tolerance Message Via BBC

Travel insurance fraud won't be tolerated, nor will its perpetrators escape detection.

This is the message that CEGA is to give BBC viewers as it starts filming this week for BBC One's latest Claimed and Shamed series.

Simon Cook, CEGA's Head of Special Investigations and now a regular participant on Claimed and Shamed, expects millions of BBC viewers to tune into the programme: drawn by blow-by-blow accounts of outrageous travel insurance claims and the ever-more sophisticated measures taken to detect fraud.

"The travel insurance industry will go to great lengths to validate or negate a suspicious claim," says Cook. "If this means questioning a doctor thousands-of-miles away; carrying out a face-to-face interview with a retail outlet in a foreign backwater or translating and scrutinising the most complicated medical evidence, we'll do it.

"The travel insurance industry has to take a two-pronged approach to fraud: both increasing consumer awareness of its severity and employing effective detection techniques," says Cook.

"Claimed and Shamed is an invaluable media through which to do the former and to reinforce the message that fraud is a serious offence and fraudsters will be found out." 

The popular Claimed and Shamed Series will be broadcast again early next year.

From the UK you can watch Claimed and Shamed here:




Rise In Demand For Private Medical Repatriation

There has been a 30% year-on-year rise in demand for privately-funded medical repatriations, according to global medical assistance and claims providers, CEGA.

Heart problems, long term illnesses and complex fractures are among the most common medical ailments at the source of private repatriations, according to CEGA, with demand spanning areas as diverse as southern Asia, the Caribbean and mainland Europe. Among those requesting the repatriations are uninsured individuals; business travellers; government organisations and even royalty.

"The demand for medical repatriations is greatest from Europe" says Cecilia Geofilo-Pearson, CEGA's Business Development Manager.

"But we are getting requests from all over the world - ranging from straightforward road journeys and scheduled flights with medical escorts, to intensive care air ambulance transfers that necessitate full medical management, complex travel arrangements and hospital admission."

"A repatriation involves much more than a journey," adds Ms Geofilo-Pearson.

"An individual injured or taken ill abroad should expect it to come hand-in-hand with, among other things, travel arrangements made for relatives, translation services and expert medical supervision from start to finish."

Ms Geofilo-Pearson warns against using inexperienced repatriation providers that lack the backing of a multi-skilled team.

"The welfare of the patient can be put at risk if providers don't take the time to fully assess a patient's needs, to organise exactly the right transport and care to meet those needs and to support them throughout the journey."

She cites a recent case involving a young man with a spinal injury whose attempted repatriation from the other side of the world was hampered by a provider who tried to organise transport that would have worsened his injury and whose doctor deserted him at the airport. CEGA was later asked to (successfully) take on the repatriation.



BBC Viewers To Get Regular Dose Of Travel Insurance Fraud Warnings

BBC viewers are to have twice-weekly doses of travel insurance fraud warnings - starting next week - as fraud specialist Simon Cook takes to the screen in BBC One's popular Claimed and Shamed programme.

Simon, who is Head of Special Investigations at claims and medical assistance group CEGA, will talk more than a million potential viewers through far-fetched travel insurance claims: hammering home the message that the penalties for fraudsters are harsh.

He says, "Travel insurance fraudsters come all walks of life and include doctors, celebrities and even solicitors. But I want to let potential fraudsters know that there is nowhere to hide and their scams will be uncovered in all four corners of the world."

Simon and his UK team work with their network of global investigators to get to the bottom of suspicious travel insurance claims that range from fabricated deaths and made-up muggings, to doctor and patient collusions and false medical bills. They use a huge variety of detection techniques that include cognitive interviewing, face-to-face meetings and investigations of overseas medical centres. With translation services at their fingertips, they communicate with doctors, police, retail outlets and more - wherever they are in the world, whatever language they speak.

Simon will appear on Claimed and Shamed twice-weekly for the next four weeks. This is the fourth time that he features on the programme, which gains popularity year-on-year.

Watch Simon on Claimed and Shamed to find out more: on BBC One at 11am on Tuesday 18th; Wednesday 19th; Monday 24th and Thursday 27th October. More dates to follow.



CEGA Supports Travel Insurers With Health And Safety Guide For Travellers

Research the area that you're staying in, get the right vaccinations and email yourself photocopies of all your important documents. This is just some of the advice being given out to business and leisure travellers by assistance and claims company CEGA, in its ​new ​"Travel Essentials" guide.

The guide, which also includes (among other tips) advice about the safest floor on which to book a hotel room, what to expect from a travel insurance policy and the dangers of road accidents in developing countries, aims to educate travellers about overcoming security and health threats, wherever they are going.

It is hoped that the initiative, which is part of CEGA's new combined medical and security assistance service, INtrinsic, will support travel insurers by encouraging uptake of travel cover, increasing awareness of risks and encouraging travellers to pre-empt problems overseas.

"As travellers become more adventurous and face an increasingly volatile world, they need to prepare themselves in advance," says Neil Heasman, CEGA's operations director. "It could be the difference between an emergency abroad and a trouble-free holiday or business trip."



CEGA Sees Surge In Number Of Travel Insurance Fraud Savings

CEGA's Special Investigations Unit reports close to a 20% rise in the number of fraud savings made on travel insurance claims over the last 12 months.

The achievement follows CEGA's considerable investment in fraud awareness initiatives and training across the company's entire travel claims and assistance operation. This has included preparing multi-disciplined staff, both within and beyond its fraud unit, for fraud investigation qualifications.

"Maximising fraud awareness and skills amongst both our investigators and our front-end staff has been fundamental in increasing our investigations and number of client savings," says CEGA's Head of Special Investigations, Simon Cook. "The results are testament to the value of our integrated in-house claims, assistance and fraud investigation provision."


Parents Of Travelling Teens Reassured By Faster Travel Insurance Payments

Teenagers travelling abroad are using faster payment apps like Barclays Pingit to be reimbursed for travel insurance claims almost instantly: taking the pressure off the "bank of mum and dad".

Payments via Pingit have more than doubled in the last year, with 18-25 year olds among those particularly inclined to use the app, according to claims and assistance providers CEGA.

"A faster payment app like Pingit lets insurers rather than parents take the immediate financial strain of a teenage mishap overseas," says CEGA's Head of Claims Richard Gibbons. "It reassures parents that their offspring won't be stuck the other side of the world, without the means to pay for that cancelled flight, lost phone or stolen bag – and that they won't have to call on parents for funds whilst they await their claims payments."

Once registered for Pingit, customers can receive claims payments into any bank account, via their mobile phone number, within as little as an hour of their claim being approved.

CEGA reports that Pingit payments are being used to pay travel insurance claims for everything from lost glasses and suitcases to disrupted travel and essential medication.

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