On any given day inside the command center for our Assistance department, our staff of 25 case managers are delicately navigating sometimes life-threatening medical situations around the clock to safely bring our customers home.
In these scary and stressful moments for travelers facing medical emergencies in a foreign country, our 24/7 global assistance team is there with both emotional and logistical support, guiding each family through difficult times.
Cathy LaPidus, whose husband fell seriously ill in Italy, recalls vividly when her husband returned safely to the U.S. She comments, “Other than our wedding day and the birth of our two children, the day he (my husband) was able to be transported home was the happiest day of his life.”
For the more than 500 customers who we bring home on medical transports, Assistance department manager LaShanta Sullivan says she’s proud of the fact that whatever it takes, “we always do the right thing for the customer.”
Feet Shattered by a Fall in Vienna
After tripping on a cobblestone path at dusk while sightseeing in Vienna, Scott Johnson had to be placed in temporary plaster casts from his feet up to his knees. He recalls that after “rolling off a concrete embankment and crushing both of my heels, my right foot was shattered and my left foot was… fractured.”
“[Allianz Global Assistance] was a financial lifesaver, considering my hospital bill was over $10,000—not to mention the upgraded flight home and the wheelchair van transport,” Scott declared. “I am very grateful. I would not have been able to coordinate all the necessary travel arrangements or manage the cost of hospital care in Vienna, as my U.S. health insurance plan doesn’t provide international coverage.”
A Coma in Italy
Cathy and Steven LaPidus, a couple from New York, are frequent Allianz customers. They initially weren’t going to insure their genealogy trip to Italy, but Steven bought a plan weeks before their departure.
“We are so grateful for his ‘peace of mind’ purchase because that $79 policy saved us over $100,000 and got him home safely after a tragic medical emergency,” Cathy said.
“Just two weeks into his trip he (Steven) became very ill and was admitted. He couldn’t speak, he didn’t recognize me, and he was in a medically induced coma,” she explained. “The medical team concluded that he had both sepsis and pneumonia, and had suffered metabolic brain damage. He began to regain speech and memory, but he couldn’t walk or even sit up without help.”
Cathy talks about how Allianz Global Assistance “went above and beyond the call of duty.” The airline agreed to transport her husband but required the use of a medical pod on the plane, which Allianz had never done before. To build the pod, Allianz purchased 16 seats on the aircraft, which had to be removed, and then airline staff installed a custom structure that could fit Steven’s stretcher and medical equipment plus accommodate the physician and nurse required to travel with him.
After six and a half weeks in the Italian hospital, we were able to work out the complicated logistics to get Steven home, where he spent another two months hospitalized for rehabilitation. Cathy exclaims, “Throughout the entire process, Allianz Global Assistance was our lifeline.”
Surgery in Sri Lanka
Recently, a California couple traveled to Sri Lanka, but on the second day, the husband suffered from a medical emergency.
“What started as a nine-day visit ended up as a 21-day hospital stay… requiring surgery,” the wife recounted. “If I hadn’t had the insurance or the emotional support I received from the Allianz Global Assistance team, I would have been completely lost and alone in the process of getting my husband the urgent care he needed. Our case manager, Daniel, made me feel like I was close to home.”
“There was a small hang up at discharge with the billing department, but Allianz Global Assistance stepped right in and made sure the payments were made to the hospital, so we could go home. The medical and the trip interruption coverage was life-saving for us,” she added.
1. Scott Johnson interview, May 2019
2. Cathy and Steve LaPidus interview, May 2019
3. Interview with California couple, June 2019