Following an initial three-state product launch two months ago, the Chubb Group of Insurance Companies is now also offering Signature Passport in Arizona, Colorado, Delaware, the District of Columbia, Maine, Michigan, Minnesota, Ohio, Oklahoma, Rhode Island, Tennessee and West Virginia.
The travel accident policy helps protect insureds while they travel anywhere during the annual policy period. Many of the expenses covered by Signature Passport are excluded under policies and travel assistance programs offered through Internet sites and credit card companies.
Previously launched in California, Illinois and Texas, the policy costs
$365 a year. A key Signature Passport feature is up to $250,000 in coverage for emergency medical transportation to the nearest advanced medical facility. Emergency medical transportation and a host of related travel services are provided by MEDEX, a travel assistance provider.
“Americans are engaging in more adventurous activities. This puts them at greater risk of illness and accidental injury,” said Luis Granados, vice president, Chubb & Son, and worldwide Signature manager, Chubb Personal Insurance. “Travelers need to consider how they would handle a medical emergency such as a fractured pelvis in a foreign country, where language barriers and limited access to advanced medical facilities may create a perilous situation.”
A recent Chubb-sponsored survey of 1,585 people reportedly found that that 73.5% of the Americans surveyed said their greatest concern when traveling is suffering a medical emergency (e.g., broken bones, heart attack, other sudden or serious injury or illness). That concern is more than double the fear of being mugged (30.7%), three times the fear of being injured in a terrorist attack (23.4%) and 10 times the fear of being sexually assaulted (7.6%) or being abducted (7.2%).
More than half the respondents (55.3%) to the nationwide survey by Impulse Research of Los Angeles are most concerned about incurring a serious injury while traveling. Nearly one-third (32.5%) are worried about serious illness, and 12.2% fear a heart attack or stroke.
Nearly 13% have required hospitalization while traveling, and more than 15% of survey participants have had to cut a trip short for a medical reason. An overwhelming 92.4% of those surveyed said that if they experienced a medical emergency while traveling overseas, they would want the option of transferring to a U.S. or other advanced medical facility.
Signature Passport offers business and leisure travelers insurance
protection that far exceeds typical travel insurance policies. “Credit card companies frequently only provide coordination of emergency medical transportation; they may not pay for the transportation. Evacuation by air ambulance can cost more than $100,000,” explained Granados. “In addition, Chubb’s policy will help pay for a variety of associated services from transporting a loved one to the location where the insured is hospitalized to locating translation services, securing legal assistance and providing minors with escort and repatriation.”
The services are reportedly easy to use and apply to every trip an insured takes during the annual policy period, added Granados. “With Signature Passport, the customer never needs to notify Chubb or fill out cumbersome paperwork prior to traveling.
In case of a covered emergency, the traveler only needs to call MEDEX 24/7 via one of its toll-free telephone numbers or collect from anywhere in the world and help will be on the way,” he said.
Other policy highlights include:
* Excess medical expense. This coverage pays up to $50,000 — with no deductible — for medical costs incurred as a result of an accident or illness if the insured is traveling outside the United States at the time of medical treatment. Many health insurance companies often reportedly take weeks or months to reimburse medical providers for covered services.
MEDEX, on the other hand, will pay the medical provider “on the spot” — which is critical in countries such as Mexico, where payment in full for all medical services is required before the patient can be discharged. Unlike other travel accident policies, Signature Passport
will pay for complications during early pregnancy and emergency room costs even if the person is not admitted at the time for treatment.
* Felonious assault. If the insured accidentally dies or sustains certain injuries as the result of a felonious assault, the policy pays an additional $25,000. This coverage is not usually offered by credit card companies.
* Accidental death and dismemberment. The insured and insured’s spouse are each covered up to $100,000 and each child is covered up to $10,000 — whether or not traveling. Credit card companies typically only provide this coverage while customers travel, when a trip is purchased using their credit card.
* Trip Delay. If the insured’s trip is delayed 12 or more hours due to inclement weather, hijacking, a natural disaster or a terrorist act, the policy will pay a maximum of $500 a day per covered person for up to three days for the cost of food and temporary lodging until travel becomes possible.
MEDEX, which began helping travelers and expatriates in 1977, is provider in the travel assistance and international medical insurance marketplace. The company covers more than 8 million travelers worldwide and maintains a provider database of more than 400,000 assistance resources for all 239 of the international country codes.
In 2003, MEDEX fielded some 30,000 calls for help from travelers in 191 countries. To learn more about MEDEX, visit http://www.medexassist.com.
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