Fiona grew up in Spain, in the province of Tarragona, where her family moved when she was 7 years old. She is bi-lingual in Spanish and English. As a teenager, she moved back to the UK with her family, and a few years later, moved again to work with an emergency assistance company in Dallas, Texas. After six wonderful years in Texas, she returned to the UK, and continued her career in international emergency assistance, covering all areas of the emergency spectrum.
Fiona has more than twenty five years management experience in the Emergency Assistance & Travel Claims Industry. Her leadership, communication, organisational skills and knowledge of the assistance industry enhances the services RBI provides to clients around the world. Fiona has great respect from colleagues, customers and suppliers over the many years she has worked in the travel & assistance world, and maintains a great relationship with many former colleagues around the globe. Fiona joined Rowland Brothers International Ltd in her current role in March 2011, after many years as an RBI client. Her insight is priceless.
What challenges does Rowland Brothers International overcome when conducting international repatriations?
Like all assistance companies, our team works with families all over the world when they are at their most vulnerable. Receiving unexpected news about a tragedy away from home is just the beginning of an emotional journey for the family, often in very challenging circumstances. Families sometimes feel they must travel to where the tragedy occurred, but at a time of distress, it may not be advisable or affordable, moreover it may not be necessary for them to do so. We can help through our trusted network of agents all over the world to find culturally and financially acceptable solutions to an emergency away from home.
What is important when conducting international repatriations?
As repatriation specialists, our relationship with the family is often short, but we know from experience the value of communication throughout the arrangements. When travel insurance is involved, it is important to observe the relevant protocols, which can take families by surprise. Occasionally, families decide to go ahead privately and pursue their claim later, but we encourage them to explore the terms and conditions of the policy carefully first before making a decision. An informed choice is always best.
We always work as quickly as possible, but it’s important to set realistic expectations at the outset, and keep in touch, so mourners and insurers know how matters are progressing. Repatriation time frames and local procedures vary from one country to another, and we must respect them in order to ensure that documents permit departure from one country, arrival and a funeral in another.
Patient information is critical. What role does patient data play in global repatriations?
In terms of documents, I know too well that a death certificate is important not only to the family but also to the insurer. Even in these days of transparency, the cause is not always recorded on the death certificate, which unfortunately can have an impact on cover decisions. When a cause is not featured on the death certificate, accompanying documents may help, but some countries do not disclose the information at all.
International funeral repatriations are a complex operation. How do you guarantee your service?
As a client of Rowland Brothers International, I had no concept of the work behind the scenes for funeral repatriation. The number of people involved to bring the deceased home is extraordinary, from mortuary to funeral home, from one airport to another, and finally into the care of the receiving funeral home is an international team effort. From the family perspective, the help of one organisation to oversee the big picture from start to finish simplifies the process, allowing the family to focus on other matters. From the touching thank you letters we receive, it is clear families appreciate the rapport with our team, and they know they always have a point of contact if questions arise in the future.