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Playing Poker with Credit Card Underwriters

Have you ever had to use your Trip Interruption or Trip Cancellation coverage provided by your credit card company? If so, you may find as we did that making a claim is not easy. We felt that we were playing poker with the underwriters, who kept their cards close to their chest and were masters of the bluff.

In January 2015, we had a medical emergency resulting in two weeks hospitalization. Over a $1,000 in flights (we could not take) had been purchased on two different cards, but we were not worried  – we had insurance! Or did we?

This is part two of the Bauche versus Allianz saga, for more of the nitty gritty and important definitions between Trip Interruption and Trip Cancellation insurance visit our previous post.

Zombies

Here is a quick summary of how the game played out.

January 2nd Started the claims process.

January 17th Submitted claims form to Allianz (after hassling attending physician to complete required forms)

January 20th phoned to check they had paperwork and all in order (Yes to both). Called one week later and told– claim with underwriter.

In early February, after phoning to check status—they need a signature on last page (took three phone calls before they told us this was missing)

I called every week to check status —with underwriter—until early March when a letter arrived stating–

“THERE IS A CREDIT FOR THIS PORTION OF YOUR TRAVEL ARRANGEMENTS. YOU ARE NOT ELIGIBLE FOR A REFUND WHERE A CREDIT HAS BEEN ISSUED BY THE SUPPLIER. IF THERE ARE ANY COSTS TO USE THIS CREDIT PLEASE SUBMIT THEM TO ALLIANZ GLOBAL ASSISTANCE FOR REVIEW.”

Note REVIEW not REFUND!

Note: The costs involved with using said credit were almost as much as the flights.

I immediately phoned to speak to a manager—manager not available. I also phoned the card issuer (TD Canada Trust) and complained to a manager there—nothing they could do.

12th March phoned asked to speak to Manager again—manger not available. However the operator was surprisingly helpful after I had explained that the requirement’s to use our credit were very restrictive. Plus they were giving us no guarantee that they would pay the claim after we paid the cancellation penalty to use the credits. She suggested that we “ask for the claim to be resubmitted saying that we do not wish to use the credits”. Really we could do that? Guess there are rules we aren’t aware of.

She then offered to resubmit the claim for us and that it would take 5 or 6 days to complete. Those 5 or 6 days dragged out. By early April I was back on the phone and advised—that because of the holidays the claim had been delayed and it would be another 10 or 15 business days.

Have you noticed a trend here? It seems that the modus operandi of insurance companies and their underwriters is to employ as many stall tactics as possible, perhaps hoping that people will become so frustrated that they give up.

By the time May arrived, I was on the phone once again. This time—they wanted our doctor’s address so they could get medical records. Why? In case, he had a pre-existing condition.

The small print in your credit card agreement will have something along the lines of ‘not covered for pre-existing condition’. There was no pre-existing condition, it was yet another hoop to jump through and a final effort on their part to deny our claim.

After over 20 phone calls and 5 months of delays, we won the game. They paid our claim in Full! Hallelujah!

Lessons learnt-

Never give up and document each call with date and time, who you spoke to and a summary of the conversation.

From conversations with others it seems that we were fortunate. If you feel that an Insurance company has treated you unfairly, you can take the case to an Ombudsman for an independent review. They often find in favor of the claimant.

As Winston Churchill once said – “Never, never, never give up.”

Because of repeated questions about insurance and our own experience, we have been digging deeper into this confusing world and will be releasing a no nonsense, easy to understand guide in the very near future. Until then remember “Never, never, never give up”, especially when you hold all the right cards.

Dream Big – Live Large

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About the author: Born in the UK, with what must be more than a dash of Romany blood in her veins, Yvonne loved to travel even before she met Michael. Yvonne has a varied career history, which includes several laborious years as a laboratory manager, followed by a fun few years as a scuba instructor and crew in the British Virgin Islands, and then many boring years in financial services. Her discontent along with the passing of a dear friend was the prod that led to the realisation that there was a lot more do in life. It has taken almost 40 years to come full circle to realize what Yvonne’s English teacher saw all those years ago……… Yvonne’s true passion (apart from travel) is writing and now finds herself fortunate to have the time to follow her bliss and combine the two as a blogger and travel writer. Yvonne writes most of the content and talk to lots of strangers (the best way to get the real scoop on the place). Yvonne is a “rainmaker” and makes things happen!

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