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TID (Travel Insurance Direct) - BEWARE!!!!

Perth
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301 posts
4 reviews
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TID (Travel Insurance Direct) - BEWARE!!!!

I have used TID over the past 4 years for my numerous trips to Bali (maybe 10 times). I have happily promoted it on Trip Advisor as their rates are good and their online application easy to complete...however I had never made a claim. The proof, as they say, is in the pudding.

My Dad was diagnosed with Multiple Myeloma nearly 5 years ago (prior to me starting to uses TID). Although it is an incurable illness, he had been responding well to treatment and the specialist doctor had said recently he was in remission. I had read the TID website about pre-existing conditions of close relatives and believed that I would be covered if my father became seriously ill while I was in Bali. See link below

…travelinsurancedirect.com.au/customer/porta…

In August this year I had a trip to Bali booked with my son with insurance through TID. My father was unexpectedly hospitalised 2 weeks before our holiday...and then 1 week before our holiday the doctor said that the treatment had stopped working and my father's condition was serious. I cancelled my holiday.

I began filling out my insurance claim immediately as I had non-refundable accommodation worth several hundred dollars through AGODA & Asia Rooms. I contacted these companies prior to sending off my claim expecting a rebuff - but was amazed at their compassion and full-refund (top creds to AGODA and Asia Rooms!).

So, with only a cancellation fee from Virgin (they didn't even reply to my emails...so don't expect compassion from them!) my insurance claim became quite small...so I just sat on it. My Dad died on September 8th. Thank goodness I didn't go away to Bali!

I am planning two trips to Bali next year and was about to sort out bookings and insurance and wondered about my half-completed claim. I decided that I would submit my claim for the cancelled trip to see if TID deserved my continued patronage! You guessed it...they knocked me back.

To add salt to the wound the “decline” letter was very cold…like I’d lost my luggage, not my DAD!! When I spoke to the assessor (Sebastian) who signed the letter he said it was a “standard” letter…mmm…maybe you need to have two standard letters. One for lost belongings, and one for lost loved ones! Even when I told him this over the phone I was surprised by the lack of empathy as he could not muster any sympathy or apology for me…just the cold hard facts - that I could take it to the panel of review if I wished!!!

Maybe most travel insurance companies would not cover my situation – but maybe they will not have misleading information on their website either (or rude assessors!). “Sebastian” from TID said my claim was denied…because my Dad was terminal!!! What is the definition of “terminal”…aren’t we all terminal??? None of us expected him to die. One day…but not then. Do they have a list of ailments that come under that banner “terminal” and therefore will not cover for??? The FAQ from their website clearly described a family member with "cancer" as being eligible...which cancers are covered???

My claim is ridiculously small…(after the excess fee in fact I may have got very llittle), but it is the first travel insurance claim I have ever made...and the result was disappointing. In fact my next two premiums for 2013 (with another company) would have been greater than my "expected" claim!!

I will not reward TID them with my continued patronage...and Sebastian...shame on you for your cold-hearted attitude! I lost my Dad!!! Try faking some sympathy!!!

Perth
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825 posts
28 reviews
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1. Re: TID (Travel Insurance Direct) - BEWARE!!!!

Thanks for your report. So sorry to hear about your dad. Wishing you all the best for the future.

Perth, Australia
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3,336 posts
75 reviews
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2. Re: TID (Travel Insurance Direct) - BEWARE!!!!

Hey Deb really sorry to hear about your dad. Thanks for sharing your experience. I too have used and promoted TID quite a few times but when I read the policy a couple of weeks ago and compared it to another one I found that TID had dropped the cover a bit. Now I have your report to back up my fears and am glad I chose another.

Enjoy your trips next year and enjoy the memories of laughs and good times you had with your dad.

Lombok, Indonesia
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8,312 posts
5 reviews
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3. Re: TID (Travel Insurance Direct) - BEWARE!!!!

That is very sad about your father Deb.

Under the circumstances it is very good of you to raise this here on the forums as a case example of a claim with this provider..

The general tone of this company is quite facetious in their FAQ pages online so their flippancy and dismissive nature may likely be an engrained company policy.

That attitude is actually quite common, however some of the companies don't actually promote it so overtly and as though it was some sort of corporate attribute.

You made this statement above "he had been responding well to treatment and the specialist doctor had said recently he was in remission".

It appears then that the medical diagnosis and prognosis was not indicating your fathers imminent demise at the time you purchased the policy.

Nor indeed was it apparently providing you with the knowledge that any hospitalisation was imminent.

You have stated above "My father was unexpectedly hospitalised 2 weeks before our holiday".

Accordingly however it is an established "pre-existing illness" and so the insurers liabilities as described in Section 3 3. providing for ... Additional Expenses / Medical Evacuation provides for a total payout of up to $10,000 for a 'single cover' and $20,000 for a 'family' cover.are mitigated by the wording in their (current) policy document.

You must of course check the actual policy document, the current one at travelinsurancedirect.com.au/Document/… may be worded quite differently.

On page 31 of that policy document the insurer explains their limitations for pre-existing conditions thus:

"You are only covered for claims which arise from a pre-existing medical condition suffered by a close relative who is under the age of 85 and is hospitalised or dies in Australia or New Zealand after the policy is issued and at the time of the policy issue you were unaware of the likelihood of such hospitalisation or death. The most we will pay in respect of all claims under all the sections of the policy is $2,000 for a single policy and $4,000 for a family policy."

So they do not pay out very much if it was a pre-existing condition, but it would no doubt assist with some matters that arise at a time such as this.

If they are saying you 'knew' your father was going to die then that is a bit odd, we surely all know we are going to die at some time so that would preclude any claim under this clause ever being made in on this policy.

So unless your father died from a condition to which a medical prognosis had suggested he would die from whilst you were travelling then a rejection of claim seems a little untoward.

Key to this is the wording "you were unaware of the likelihood of such hospitalisation or death", and when you were made aware of the hospitalisation you prudently cancelled the trip.

As there was apparently no pre-existing issue that provided that prognosis, and you have clarified above that you were in fact provided with a qualified prognosis suggesting that was not the case, and if he was under 85, then on face value it appears they are liable to a claim for up to $2,000 for a single policy and $4,000 for a family policy.

It appears someone is trying to play with words and suggest an (apparently unknown) possibility of hospitalisation has excluded your claim by wrongful application of the policy definition.

Indeed you have mitigated their exposure to further potential losses by cancelling your travel.

It might be arguable that the claim is arising from the hospitalisation as that precipitated your travel cancellation rather than your fathers death which was the ultimate outcome of that.

Presumably if you had gone ahead and travelled then the claim would have arisen from his death. The key point is neither was expected, and that his prognosis did not indicate that outcome.

They clarify; "is hospitalised or dies in Australia or New Zealand after the policy is issued and at the time of the policy issue you were unaware of the likelihood of such hospitalisation or death".

The policy uses the word "or".

There is a provision for claiming if your father was hospitalised, there is also a provision if he had died. The insurer seems to be trying to exclude a claim arising from the death of a "a close relative" by using the limiting provision for hospitalisation arising from a pre-existing illness despite a prognosis that indicated this was not an expected event.

You apparently sought to claim upon your policy because your father had died and that is was 'un-expected' appears to be a readily supportable assertion, as the treating doctor had previously stated he was "in remission".

In any case you should possibly be claiming for a cancellation arising from your father's unexpected hospitalisatison as that is the event that apparently triggered your cancellations. Your justification for cancelation is readily supported by the fact you father subsequently died.

Perhaps you should look into this a little further.

The insurer appears to be evading the claim by obfuscation.

Dispute their claim rejection by contacting; Cerberus Customer Relations

PO box A975 Sydney NSW 1235 Australia, 1300 625 229 idr@cerberusrisks.com

If they do not accept your claim disputation and pay the amount claimed iwithin 15 days then refer it to the Insurance Council of Australia for adjudication, or contact the Financial Ombudsman Service, General Insurance Division, GPO Box 3, Melbourne Vic 3001, Tel: 1300 780 808 (local call fees apply)

Fax: 9613 6399

Web: www.fos.org.au (disputes can also be lodged online)

It also appears that this insurer is underwritten by Lloyd’s General insurance, their policy appears to also provide for an avenue of appeal to the Lloyd’s General Representative in Australia, the insurer should advise you on how to do that.

Good luck with it.

Edited: 27 December 2012, 18:03
Adelaide, Australia
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5,142 posts
18 reviews
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4. Re: TID (Travel Insurance Direct) - BEWARE!!!!

Hi Deb,

Thankyou for your report.We also use TID but hav not claimed with them as yet

I'm very sorry to hear about your dad.

All the best

Mac

Geelong, Australia
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705 posts
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5. Re: TID (Travel Insurance Direct) - BEWARE!!!!

thank you for that information i really feel for you take care

Sydney, Australia
3 posts
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6. Re: TID (Travel Insurance Direct) - BEWARE!!!!

Dear Deb,

My condolences to you and your family.

I'm very sorry to hear that you felt as though we dealt with you in a 'cold-hearted' manner. Contrary to what others have posted on this forum, our corporate attitude is very caring particularly when there is death or serious illness in the family. However, I'm concerned that we haven't delivered our normal standard of quality service to you when you needed it most.

Anyone who is unsatisfied with any aspect of service with TID has the opportunity to have any concerns resolved. You can have your claim reviewed by the case manager and if they are unable to overturn the decision, the case is escalated to Customer Relations. This will take up to 15 business days. If the complaint is still not resolved then Lloyd's (as our insurer) is the next step and finally the Financial Ombudsman Service.

I would like to investigate this further for you if you could provide your policy number, claim number or full name. You can email it directly to me rather than through the forum. The article you have posted from our portal is correct so if your case has been incorrectly assessed we need to look into it and I'd be happy to assist you through that process.

Regards

Alison

Customer Experience Manager

alison@tid.com.au

Darwin
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2,096 posts
164 reviews
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7. Re: TID (Travel Insurance Direct) - BEWARE!!!!

Good on Alison TID for replying and taking on your concerns.

I for one have had a very good experience with TID. Cancer (and I have had the "Big C") is very difficult to get travel insurance for, and I agree with the reasons why Insurers won't provide policies for this horrible illness. So I am not surprised that you were not covered for your situation, although by the sounds of things the customer service could have been delivered better!!

I think TID do a good job and I will be using them again.

Lou

South Australia
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352 posts
155 reviews
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8. Re: TID (Travel Insurance Direct) - BEWARE!!!!

Deb - Very sorry to hear of the loss of your father.

It is also possible that TID use a third party to handle their claims so may have been acting to different customer service standards / empathy, even though they are the agent of TID in this case. Not defending their initial response but thinking it may be a contributory factor especially as they know how much it will cost them if claim goes to FOS.

Even though both my father and wife's father have medical conditions i know that i would not be able to claim should they die as a result of them. Also know that it can be very difficult to get cover for cancer but doesn't stop me traveling. Might get hit by a bus anyway and life is too short for regrets.

Strongly suggest you always read the PDS and contact the company with any queries before you buy. Need i say it - do everything in writing.

Lombok, Indonesia
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8,312 posts
5 reviews
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9. Re: TID (Travel Insurance Direct) - BEWARE!!!!

Nice work Alison.

A very appropriate and timely response under the circumstances and an applaudable effort in reaching out to your clearly rather disappointed customer.

It appears TIDs formal outlook has not been entirely understood by at least one staff member. This has caused Deb some quite understandable distress.

Perhaps some counseling to your fellow staff members may assist in ensuring that a bereaved family member is not subjected to this sort of treatment in the future.

It was also very good of you to confirm that TID has a method in place to handle and formalise complaints and disputes, and to have succinctly outlined a brief detail of that above.

Hopefully an understanding TID staff member will be able to reassure Deb that her experience was not endorsed by TID policy, nor was it appropriate to the circumstances, regardless of her claim entitlement under the prevailing policy terms and conditions.

Welcome to the Forums, your participation is sincerely welcomed here at any time.

Perth
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301 posts
4 reviews
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10. Re: TID (Travel Insurance Direct) - BEWARE!!!!

Thanks for all the support guys...and I'll be in touch Alison.

I understand that many insurance companies do not cover for pre-existing conditions...but PLEASE read the link below (mcb5022 & Lou_and_Paul) from TID's website to see what you think!!

Thanks Hurcule for your indepth response...for the contact information for disputes and making me feel vindicated (whatever the outcome). Much appreciated.

Primarily my travel insurance is to cover if I am sick or injured (or die) while away and need treatment or repatriation. However the TID FAQ (link below) reassured me that I would also be covered if anything happened with my Dad...which to me was a bonus, not an expectation!

I would not have even booked a holiday away if I thought my Dad was that ill (obviously). In fact, when I cancelled the holiday...still no-one expected him to die...but I needed to be with him (and Mum) for support.

I do admit that had I received a more sympathetic initial letter and phone call, I may have just let it go (because my claim was very small)...but the conversation with Sebastian (whether TID staff OR representative) was appalling (a person NOT in the right job!!!). When he started the conversation with "this call may be monitored for customer service purposes" I was hopeful by the end of it that someone else WAS listening...because I was trying to hold back tears and this would have been clear in my voice!! His coldness and lack of sympathy (even when I prodded) would have been evident and I would have been heard saying "I lost my Dad, not my suitcase".

So my issues are misleading information on their website (if in fact I was not eligible for cover)...and appalling treatment from Sebastian...representing TID!

Please read this link...WHAT DO YOU THINK???

…travelinsurancedirect.com.au/customer/porta…

Edited: 02 January 2013, 10:58
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