Travel insurance fright after fall

Apology and full payout after insurer classed broken prosthetic as 'baggage'.

Apology and full payout after insurer classed broken prosthetic as 'baggage'.

Sarah Fuhrer

A 26-year-old Gisborne woman who is studying in Switzerland has hit out after her travel insurer dealt with a claim regarding her prosthetic leg under a section of the policy related to baggage.

Sarah Fuhrer, who has artificial limbs on both legs, suffered a nasty fall while on a class trip around Europe.

She snapped a prosthetic leg after she fell down concrete stairs, describing the incident as terrifying.

Her accident went from bad to worse when she was told by her insurance company “her prosthesis is only covered to $1500 — it’s considered baggage and we had not declared it as a specified item”.

Sarah’s mother Louise was left dumbfounded after claiming she had declared the prosthetic limbs to Southern Cross.

Louise told television programme Fair Go that Southern Cross’s stance was appalling.

“It’s an insult. Her limbs are part of her. She can’t function without them,” she said.

The damage to the prosthetic was estimated to be around $3000 and about $8000 to replace the whole leg.

Southern Cross said it would not pay more than $1500 and Sarah began to worry she would have to pick up the bill.

“To suggest that something that belongs to her, that essentially is a part of her, is baggage ... I find actually quite insulting and distressing,” Louise told Fair Go.

Southern Cross originally said it was not prepared to pay more than $1500 but has since changed its stance. The company also says it always referred to the prosthetic limb as a "personal item".

After investigating the incident, chief executive Chris White apologised to Sarah and her family for the distress caused.

“Sarah’s case is not a scenario (a damaged prosthetic) our staff are used to dealing with every day, but we’ve learned from it and have already started making changes so we can do a better job in the future,” he said.

Southern Cross will now cover the full cost to fix or replace the damaged prosthetic leg.

— NZ Herald

A 26-year-old Gisborne woman who is studying in Switzerland has hit out after her travel insurer dealt with a claim regarding her prosthetic leg under a section of the policy related to baggage.

Sarah Fuhrer, who has artificial limbs on both legs, suffered a nasty fall while on a class trip around Europe.

She snapped a prosthetic leg after she fell down concrete stairs, describing the incident as terrifying.

Her accident went from bad to worse when she was told by her insurance company “her prosthesis is only covered to $1500 — it’s considered baggage and we had not declared it as a specified item”.

Sarah’s mother Louise was left dumbfounded after claiming she had declared the prosthetic limbs to Southern Cross.

Louise told television programme Fair Go that Southern Cross’s stance was appalling.

“It’s an insult. Her limbs are part of her. She can’t function without them,” she said.

The damage to the prosthetic was estimated to be around $3000 and about $8000 to replace the whole leg.

Southern Cross said it would not pay more than $1500 and Sarah began to worry she would have to pick up the bill.

“To suggest that something that belongs to her, that essentially is a part of her, is baggage ... I find actually quite insulting and distressing,” Louise told Fair Go.

Southern Cross originally said it was not prepared to pay more than $1500 but has since changed its stance. The company also says it always referred to the prosthetic limb as a "personal item".

After investigating the incident, chief executive Chris White apologised to Sarah and her family for the distress caused.

“Sarah’s case is not a scenario (a damaged prosthetic) our staff are used to dealing with every day, but we’ve learned from it and have already started making changes so we can do a better job in the future,” he said.

Southern Cross will now cover the full cost to fix or replace the damaged prosthetic leg.

— NZ Herald

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