Investigator: travel insurance claim denied ... but why?

By danwarne, January 6 2011
Investigator: travel insurance claim denied ... but why?
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You should seek independent advice and consider your own personal circumstances before applying for any financial product.

When a reader's husband was tragically killed in a car accident overseas recently, his credit card travel insurance should have paid out a death benefit. But when she made her claim, the insurer rejected it, based on a reason that didn't add up.

Dear Investigator,

I read your credit card travel insurance reviews on the Australian Business Traveller site.

My husband died in a car accident while holidaying overseas in June this year.

He paid his air tickets in full via the Westpac Altitude Gold Card which I understand entitled us as his family to claim the accidental death benefit of $15,000.

He also paid and applied for another Travel Insurance - CoverMore, mainly to make sure his precious bicycle was covered and insured. CoverMore also has a death benefit component of $20,000.

Since his death, I have received full payment from CoverMore. When I applied to Westpac/Zurich Insurance to claim for the accidental death benefit, I was rejected based on the reason that I have already paid in full by CoverMore.

I was searching the policy about multiple claims and there is no where I can find the ruling that I cannot claim the Death Benefit twice. Can you please enlighten me whether there is such a rule.

I would greatly appreciate it if you refer to the right direction in order to get to the bottom of this query.

Christie Young*

Investigator obtained Westpac's Altitude Gold Card product disclosure statement and despite reading it carefully and searching for wording such as "will not pay", "recover", "insurance", "insurer", "another", "exclusion", and so on, could not find anything in the policy suggesting a death benefit would not be paid if another insurer had not already paid one.

We contacted Zurich Financial Services, the provider of the insurance to Westpac Altitude Gold cardholders, to ask why the claim had been rejected.

To the firm's credit, it was quick to respond to our enquiry. The Corporate Communications Manager that we had forwarded the complaint to contacted the product manager responsible for "accident and health" insurance in the company, who in turn contacted a claims administration manager to find out why the claim had been denied.

The response to us was that based on the information provided, there did seem to be a legitimate claim, and that Zurich would follow up with Christy.

She received a phone call from the claims manager and then this email from him:

Please accept this email as confirmation of our conversation this morning and that the Westpac Altitude Gold Card policy does extend cover for Accidental Death and further that you would as the executor of The estate be entitled to the benefit payable $15,000.00 per cardholder.

I extend our apologies for the misunderstanding at this difficult time and should you have any further questions or enquires please do not hesitate to contact me directly.

* Name changed at reader's request for privacy reasons.

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Have you been incorrectly billed while travelling, not received a product or service you expected, or otherwise been ripped off while you travelled? Send us your complaint and we will do our best to work with the airline, hotel, insurer, telco, or other business to investigate what went wrong and what can be done to rectify things for you.

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Disclaimer

Executive Traveller may receive a commission when you apply for these credit cards via our links.

You should seek independent advice and consider your own personal circumstances before applying for any financial product.


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