Insurers have a moral duty to pay cost of
air ambulance

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It’s bad enough having to suffer the trauma and all the ramifications of a serious accident here in Britain.

But when that accident happens abroad it’s far worse.

Strange place, strange language, differing hospital procedures – they all exacerbate the fear and worry on top of being thousands of miles from home.

It is only natural that the first thing you would want to do is get your loved one back home.

But that is not always the best course of action.

However, what should always be the best policy as far as your holiday insurer is concerned, is that your crisis is dealt with compassionately, swiftly and clearly.

Clearly that has not happened in the case of Bill Allan and holiday insurance firm TIF Group and its subsidiary EAF.

Mr Allan, a 53-year-old nurse at St Mary’s walk-in centre in Portsmouth, fell from his bike during a cycle ride to the shops while on holiday in Spain.

As our front page story reports today, he hit his head, was in a coma for more than a fortnight and is now brain-damaged.

He was on holiday with his partner of 20 years, Gary Swift, when he had his accident.

Mr Swift phoned the firm on the day of Mr Allan’s accident, September 21. But staggeringly it was not until October 3, and without any explanation, that the insurers said they would not authorise an air ambulance home. And Mr Swift was told a doctor from the company would be in touch, but no one ever rang.

They said the Spanish hospital’s reputation and standard of care was the equivalent of any European teaching hospital.

So Mr Swift forked out £13,500 for an air ambulance to bring his partner home where, thankfully, he continues his recovery.

Yes, we can understand the insurers’ reluctance to fly home a man with serious head injuries and Mr Swift himself acknowledges the high standard of care in the Spanish hospital.

What is unforgiveable is the dreadful lack of communication between the TIF Group and an increasingly frantic Mr Swift. No one should ever be left high and dry as Mr Swift was. We hope he gets every penny back.

N.B. This comment was amended on November 27, 2013