SureSave’s Australia-based Emergency Assistance service, WE Assist is celebrating four years in-house. WE Assist provides SureSave travellers with support 24/7, through a team of experienced case managers and medical professionals based in Sydney.
Since bringing its Emergency Assistance in-house in 2013, SureSave’s WE Assist team has assisted travellers with 17,706 complex medical cases, 10,596 non-medical cases, arranged 81 air ambulance evacuations and more than 104 medically escorted repatriations.
Lisa Fryar, Head of Emergency Assistance at WE Assist shares her tips for travellers in need of assistance.
1. Prevention is better than a cure
Travellers should be aware of the potential risks (medical and otherwise) in the area they’re travelling to. Check the Smartraveller website for information, http://smartraveller.gov.au/. For example, if travelling to a tropical region, they should think about things like malaria and dengue fever, and take precautions against mosquito bites.
2. Contact emergency assistance sooner rather than later
Travellers can contact WE Assist in cases where they need advice, even if it’s not typically an emergency. This can include if they’re just feeling unwell and are unsure of their options. Our medical team can chat to them, assess their situation and provide advice. It’s best to act sooner than later, and it’s reassuring for travellers to know that they have that level of support from Australia.
3. Find out what documents they’ll need to claim
In many cases, travellers will be able to recoup their losses from their travel insurance. However in order to claim, they will need certain supporting documents. It’s best to confirm what these are as early as possible, so they can take the appropriate actions. For example, if their belongings are stolen, they’ll need to report it to the relevant authorities and obtain a police report. We can advise our travellers on what they’ll need to collect.
4. Take advantage of financial assistance
To avoid being out of pocket, check whether your travel insurance can assist with payments up-front. At WE Assist, provided we can confirm cover, we can help with any amount of medical expenses and make direct payments to hospitals so travellers don’t need to pay up-front. We can also facilitate direct payments with other providers like clinics, hotels, and airlines. As a guideline, we recommend that travellers contact us if their medical expenses are expected to be more than $2,000.
5. Try not to panic
When things go awry, travellers should take a deep breath, then give us a call. In many situations, most of the stress comes from a feeling of not knowing what to do. We can help alleviate those concerns by providing advice on the next steps to take.
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