/ BMC or AAC Insurance? I know the answer now!
Shame on the BMC.
'The claim has been referred to the Underwriters for consideration and unfortunately we have been unable to give favorable consideration to your claim.
Please refer to the following section from the policy wording, which states:
F. Search and Rescue Expenses
“If You are reported as missing Abroad and it becomes necessary for the rescue or police authorities to instigate a search and rescue operation where;
I. it is known or believed that You may have sustained injury or become ill; or
II. weather or safety conditions are such that it becomes necessary to do so in order to prevent You from sustaining injury or becoming ill;
We will pay the the necessary and reasonable costs incurred by and/or levied by recognised rescue or police authorities in searching for You and for bringing You to a place of safety (Please note the information regarding rescue services and Your responsibility under the Local Safety Advice and Emergency Contact Details on Page 4).”
This section of the policy offers two reasons in which there is provision to claim. From the information you have kindly provided, we note that you were not reported missing nor does it fall under the above covered reasons outlined within the policy.
As your claim falls outside the scope of the insurance, we have no option but to decline your claim. '
800m off the deck, one getting electric shocks, lightning getting nearer and no decent anchors for bailing from after going off route. The AAC claim was settled quickly, a friend now has a £2500 bill.
Interesting and worth knowing.
What happened? Were you rescued? In which case surely someone (you?) reported you missing. And surely lightening strike is "... safety conditions are such that it becomes necessary..." etc?
Or does you reporting yourself missing not count?
I had let my AAC membership lapse. I think I will renew it now.
Is there some missing detail here?
It seems to me your opinion is that "800m off the deck, one getting electric shocks, lightning getting nearer and no decent anchors for bailing from after going off route " justified a claim, I imagine under clause FII.
How, precisely, did you explain your claim?
Except that "reported missing" appears to be an AND, rather than an OR clause, rendering the insurance pretty useless for the most common rescues.
Having done lot of research into expedition insurance over the past year, this is pretty distressing information!
I have regularly advised friends that the BMC insurance is the best, so paying many times as much as for another insurance policy is sort of justified? If I thought I was going to have to pay £2500 for a helicopter rescue (in spite of investing in expensive insurance...) I probably wouldn't ever phone for a helicopter unless I was pretty severely injured! It's sad that one insurer paid out straight away and another refused. Makes claiming a bit of a gamble really eh?!?
(ps anyone who is able to pop into a Club Alpin Francais office and join them, definitely should! You don't have to live in France to become a member and their insurance is really good and efficient when it comes to claiming!!! http://www.ffcam.fr/assurance.html#.U1jzFOaSyZo )
IT's also at odds with what the BMC advertise on their website, which is
"The necessary expense of an operation to rescue a person insured, whether injured or not, or to recover the body of the person insured who dies."
which is much broader. Would the OP's friend have claim based on this statement?
That's utter rubbish and they BMC should get the policy changed or find new underwriters are you expected to actually get injured before you can get rescued?
So, if I read it correctly, a CAF member can get worldwide, year round cover (with accidental damage/equipment loss) for €130?
How come BMC cannot get anywhere near this figure?
Either I am missing something or they are...
I know!! I've mainly been AAC since the BMC price hike 6 years ago, the BMCs only selling points were that it covered theft and loss and that there was more money you could claim if the rescue and hospital costs were astronomical (a minority of cases.) For the most common need for insurance not to be covered is something that needs sorted.
I'm sure your friend is aware of this, but the fact that they have declined the claim, does not mean that they have no liability. 1st stop should be the financial ombudsmen service. Lots of useful information here: http://www.financial-ombudsman.org.uk/default.htm
From the way you describe it, it is unlikely that your friend will be left out of pocket. Not a good advert for BMC insurance though...
Dunno the wording, but I know the facts and it was legit. If the claim was binned from wording of the form then that needs sorted out as you shouldn't have to have a A Level in English to make an insurance claim.
There's a lot of missing detail there.
Was the OP involved in the incident? Was there a rescue? What was the bill for? Who instigated the rescue?
Looking at 'reason for claim' II it would appear that the underwriters have decided that rescue was not 'necessary...in order to prevent (the claimant)from sustaining injury or becoming ill'.
Is this actually true!? Surely a lightening storm rolling in and being unable to retreat yourself satisfies criteria II. Where did the rescue happen?
"This section of the policy offers two reasons in which there is provision to claim. From the information you have kindly provided, we note that you were not reported missing nor does it fall under the above covered reasons outlined within the policy."
I think it's interesting the point about the AND clause, however BMC do not mention this in their reasoning for refusing the claim.
I can't see why being caught up in a storm on a long route or indeed potentially going off route to a point where retreat is not possible would not likely lead to serious injury (especially if going up is more likely to expose you to further storm risk)
"II. weather or safety conditions are such that it becomes necessary to do so in order to prevent You from sustaining injury or becoming ill;"
Can you understand this? Or do you think you failed to meet this criteria because you were not reported missing?
I'm pretty sure that it won't have been anyone at the BMC who refused the claim. The insurance is provided by an underwriting company acting through an insurance broker; they will decide on claims.
The "reported missing" bit is a concerning. It potentially rules out phoning for rescue yourself, because in that case you arguably aren't missing! Is that the sticking point here?
"If we'd just stayed there pointlessly overnight because we couldn't go anywhere, then we'd have been reported missing and rescued."
"I will remember next time I'm in that situation to wait out the lightning till we're both beyond bored and it gets dark, and still then not to call but let someone else call for us so that we can follow the insurance rules."
This makes me burn. No one likes calling in MRT, you nearly always leave it later than you should and have taken risks as a result, so ANYTHING that makes it more likely that people end up doing stupid, dangerous stuff to try to rescue themselves because of a fear of a rescue bill is very wrong.
People go off route, it happens. You then do your best to sort the situation; if you don't manage to, then call MRT. That's what the insurance is for.
I'd be mega worried if people are going off to the Alps knowing that they can't call MRT if they are off route and crag fast without getting a bill.
Yeh BMC insurance is Shit, I would always go for AAC. the only advantage of BMC is it covers loss/theft, which I have under basic free travel insurance anyway (and some people may have under their house insurance...)
Thanks for that, I'll pass it on.
Would the FO be of much help if a claim falls outside the policy cover ? I would have thought the first call would be to the BMC. I suppose the wording is designed to try and avoid the sort of the weak requests sometimes received by the UK rescue services.
The problem seems to be the conflation of Search with Rescue.
So if the policy holder calls it in themselves, they are not reported as Missing, whereas if you called a third party and asked them to report you as Missing, then you would be.
All sounds very silly and leaves people not covered when they thought they were.
Plus it adds risk by encouraging people to not report themselves but instead use a game of chinese whispers to get the message through.
What was the detail in this:
(Please note the information regarding rescue services and Your responsibility under the Local Safety Advice and Emergency Contact Details on Page 4)
Does it state that you need to call some call centre in Cardiff (open 0800-1800hrs Mon to Sat, closed Easter and religious high days) before getting rescued?
Slight tangent, but is selling insurance something that makes money for the BMC, or is it something that they break even or lose a bit on as a perk for members?
I'm surprised they actually do a helicopter rescue during a lightning storm.
I would have thought that would be perfectly reasonable. I mean, where do you draw the line? Weather looking dodgy? Feeling a bit scared? Somewhat tired? If people only expected to be rescued when they actually needed rescuing, the premiums might be a bit lower.
That'd be my interpretation - that it's most likely the claim has been turned down because someone has deemed the rescue wasn't actually necessary to prevent injury. Perhaps that wasn't well explained in the claim?
I'd assume the FO would have a role in determining if claim reasonably falls within the policy cover, but I haven't checked, and may be wrong.
But first step would seem to be ask for clarification as to why claim doesn't appear to meet the criteria?
> Can you understand this? Or do you think you failed to meet this criteria because you were not reported missing?
I think Curly Stevo has hit the nail on the head. The rescue insurance isn't discretionary. They don't pay out becuase you ask for them to pay out. I'm sure you could have discretionary resuce insurance, but of course that would cost a shed load more money.
So, it's necessary to be able to prove you needed rescuing.
It might boil your blood becuase your claim might fail, but it would also boil the blood of an actuary to pay out for every claim. Either premiums would have to go up, or the insurer would go out of business. Which would result in a whole load more blood being boiled.
Which is why claims need to be made, with some care, against the actual terms of the insurance.
Without judging the particular situation in your original post either way, I must admit I find this last sentence slightly off. I just don't think this way. We all stuff up, and there are lots of grey areas, but I just don't go (anywhere) with this mindset.
At the very least it would be found unfit for purpose, and the premium returned (not much but at least something). I would be veery surprised if the FO didn't rule that the insurance company are entirely liable in this case.
And all the time in the Alps from what I gather; a sort beam me up taxi service in the event of a possible unplanned bivi.
If this is true then it's bad news as it basically makes the BMC insurance worthless in most genuine rescue situations.
However having said that, I can see that the underwriters have to be careful with the wording to prevent some folk trying it on, to get a free taxi off the hill which we all end up paying for!
We have come across folk that were a wee bit tired, late or off route and couldn't be bothered with an unplanned bivvy or making several thousand metres of descent, because the lifts were closed.
Also folk attempting routes obviously out of condition or when bad weather is forecast are more likely to be taught a lesson by the rescue services, left to wait and then billed accordingly. No doubt this could be noted on the incident reports given to the insurance company.
With a genuine rescue with no easy or safe escape I certainly hope the hundreds of pounds annually I pay covers it, if ever needed!
FFS! That happens all the time in the Alps! It's not nice but you deal with it. No wonder my premium is so high.....
Anyway - as I said - the BMC will investigate. The great majority of BMC members report positive experience with our insurance so it's clearly a great concern to us when instances of this type arise.
While you're at it and not connected with this claim, could you explain the "reported missing" bit of the wording in the policy? It does suggest some apparently legitimate claims might be thrown out by enthusiastic claims handlers. For example if someone descends leaving an injured partner in a known position, they aren't missing.
that bit makes no sense to me it should say OR not AND, it can't be expected you have to be reported missing to get rescued if injured.
But there has to be a balance. If getting rescued is seen as a right as soon as anything goes wrong (rather than doing all you can to sort the situation out yourself - isn't mountaineering all about self sufficiency after all?)there could be an increased tendency for people to get themselves into dangerous situations which they might have avoided if the chances of getting rescued were lower.
Note that I'm not judging your particular situation here and I do agree that the wording in the policy you quoted does beg some questions.
Really? As a BMC member I find the insurance overpriced and join a foreign Alpine Club every year in addition to the BMC for insurance. How many BMC members use AAC for insurance?
I had been using it on the somewhat incorrect assumption it was as good as or superior to AAC on all counts!
Actually that's not true entirely I had some medical investigations going on and AAC meant I got some coverage which BMC didn't give so I got both!
Agree. The requirement to have been reported missing is the most concerning thing here. That makes the insurance worthless for the most likely scenarios.
Probably approximately the entire membership of the UK section of the AAC...
Fully agree. I dont want to be paying a fortune for insurance so people can regard it as a cost free anytime bail out option, as in one statement implied by the OP. Rescue cover should be for situations where rescue is genuinely required (as would seem to be the case here but again we don't know full details). There does seem to be an issue with the wording but posting on UKC before a complaint is resolved is bad behaviour at best. It could for instance simply be poor wording of the claim that caused the current rejection rather than the fault of the company. I'm surprised more are not saying the same here.
I would be interested to know how good the support service that comes with insurance through a foreign alpine club is. The one time I have claimed on my BMC insurance, the support service was absolutely superb, smoothing over the aftermath of the incident (hospital, flight etc.). My accident was not too serious, but I would imagine that in a really bad situation, this sort of support would be a real godsend. I know of one accident covered by the AAC, where, although they paid up eventually, it was only after a huge amount of stress - but this was a while ago and may have been an isolated incident.
'800m off the deck, one getting electric shocks, lightning getting nearer and no decent anchors for bailing from after going off route' (the OP) sounds very different to 'If we'd just stayed there pointlessly overnight because we couldn't go anywhere, then we'd have been reported missing and rescued...I will remember next time I'm in that situation to wait out the lightning till we're both beyond bored and it gets dark.'
I don't know the real circumstances, obviously, but getting rescued to prevent a boring night out is not really what the cover is for.
Yes, and the idea that a rescue is going to be called out every time someone has an unplanned bivi (however boring!) in the alps is rather concerning.
Ombudsman? It seems that if one insurance company (AAC) accepted the claim it is genuine.
I find this news about BMC's rejection of the claim very worrying. In spite of being the most expensive I have (up to now) always insured with BMC because I have assumed, possibly erroneously, that they set the "Gold" standard for mountaineering insurance.
I await the formal response from Dave once he has investigated this. Depending on this I might have to consider using AAC in future.
yes, includes cover for Additional Pet Care Fees – reassuring to know when stuck on an Alpine face hoping someone else will call for a rescue !
It looks like AAC > BMC. That alone makes me question the insurance on my next trip, I just want the more reliable policy.
I appreciate that it is a matter between BMC/the insurers and the claimant, but it would be useful if you could respond in a more general level to the thread.
Eg"The circumstances as described by the OP are not as detailed in his claim and are disputed by the company"
Or "A review of this claim in conjunction with the report from the rescue team indicate that this claim does not fall within the cover"
I have an annual policy this year and am concerned that if the circs are as described in the OP and a rescue is not covered then this might not be the insurance I had hoped it was.
Lost/off route, encroaching darkness, lightning storm - not good (though I'm not sure how a heli rescues in a storm....)
Read above. 'The BMC' have NOT rejected the claim. They have had bugger all to do with it so far.
Feel free to use AAC. Look carefully at the level (i.e. just how much they are willing to fork out in total cash terms) of rescue and repatriation they offer and then compare it to the level offered through BMC insurance. You will probably find it is substantially different. If you are comfortable that your difficulties will be straightforward then AAC is the way to go. If you ever get yourself into a position where things are a bit more complicated.....
That is unless you are Bear Grylls incognito. In which case just go AAC, pal.
The OP has not made a claim. He is retelling the experience of a mate. We don't know what the mate said in his claim. I hope he didn't say 'we called the chopper because we were beyond bored....'
And yes, you are right to ask how a rescue is conducted in the hellish conditions described in the OP but a/ we don't actually know a formal rescue took place. b/ we don't know if a helicopter was involved c/ we actually know bugger all about this incident apart from the fact that someone has decided that BMC insurance is crap because his mate's claim (for something unspecified) has been rejected.
Let's just get a grip, eh?
I agree it'd be useful to hear the BMC view on the wording. TBH, I'd assume reporting yourself "lost" was entirely acceptable, and that's not what's being disputed here, but it'd be useful to get clarification.
We're on the case with our insurers but it will take a few days plus its the BMC AGM this weekend so there's a lot going on.
As others have said, the requirement for someone to report you as 'missing' is concerning as it could be used to throw out legitimate claims where the rescue call is put in by the party that actually needs rescuing - even if there is an actual injury! It is either unintentional shoddy wording or a sly way to cut out claims. Based on a literal interpretation, if I get injured and phone for help, that will not be covered.
I guess one will just have to make an anonymous call reporting that someone has been seen in difficulty/waving/whistling etc or be more circumspect in the way one fills in the claim form.
I suspect the most likely explanation is it's simply outdated wording - being able to call the rescue services yourself, from the mountain, is a pretty new state of affairs. Personally, I doubt that's the root of the problem.
>I suspect the most likely explanation is it's simply outdated wording - being able to call the rescue services yourself, from the mountain, is a pretty new state of affairs.
Have you just got mobile phones where you live?
We've had them for 15 years +
Then it needs updating! The terms are what they are and mean what they say. The insurer can choose to be more flexible but in principle there is nothing to oblige them to pay out if you fall outside the strict interpretation of the terms - unless it's possible to make some kind of misselling claim. I'm no legal expert though.
Given that he started this thread it would be good if the OP were to clarify what took place. He has been rather vague if not actually self-contradictory. Was rescue genuinely necessary (and not just in his opinion!) and, if so, was the claim rejected because the claimant was not "reported missing"?
That is simply astounding in so many ways. Hauled a jet ski up a 1000ft ice shelf? Aye, right. Absolutely stunned BMC agreed to cover this, surely it needed specialist insurance?
Well, all a bit academic if the BMC arn't actually going to pay out at all isn't it. Perhaps worse if you did manage to end up with a five, six or seven figure bill just to find out they wriggle out of paying on some sort of technicality. At least with AAC you know where you stand. It's the sort of thing I'd expect from a dodgy car insurance company, not the BMC, even if they are just a broker. Based on this, I'm unlikely to use them again.
(NB AAC insurance specifically excludes "unnecessary rescue" and did pay out in this case. Its policy documents are also written in sensible plain English, not jargon. Either the Austrians are simply better at writing English or the BMC insurance was deliberately vague in its legal writing)
I apologise, it should have read "The circumstances as described by the OP are not as detailed in THE claim and are disputed by the company"
a/ and b/ We don't "know" but it seems reasonable, given the circumstances "800m up" and the bill "£2500" - that some sort of helicopter pick-up/resuce was required.
c/ And that a claim in the same situation via AAC was accepted (with the addition that AAC apparently includes a condition refusing payout on unnecessary resuce)
If "getting a grip" is the same as "getting to the bottom of what happened" then fair enough.
The BMC insurance is sold as the best insurance for the activities we like to do. When I have gone further afield I have checked the coverage, and on occasion had to go with other providers. A helicopter pick-up in the circumstances as described in a European destination sounds exactly like what the insurance is sold to deal with.
Either the OP is describing something wrong, or many people may need to rethink their summer season insurance.
Or not bother with insurance.
I suggest you read the OP's post which clearly says that the claim was rejected by the BMC's underwriters.
"The claim has been referred to the Underwriters for consideration and unfortunately we have been unable to give favorable consideration to your claim."........."As your claim falls outside the scope of the insurance, we have no option but to decline your claim. '"
If that's not a rejection, then what is it?
Now if you are being petty and differentiating between the BMC and their Underwriters, you are being a pedant.
Fair enough if you don't want it, not fair enough if you thought you had it but in fact you aren't covered.
If I was a pedant I would say that the OP does not clearly say that the claim was rejected by the underwriters. He simply quotes an un-named someone else stating that. But I'm not a pedant :-)
No. What I'm suggesting is that the rejection, as quoted, was not written by the BMC and that, in fact, they probably knew nothing at all about this. So to call 'shame' on the BMC at this stage is inappropriate.
Sorry but you are nit-picking here, assuming the facts in the OP are true the bloke received a letter saying his claim had been refused and he was insured through the BMC. That he may have legal recourse does not in any way make up for this... You surely don't consider that it is acceptable to only be reimbursed by an insurance after legal hassling?
I understand why some people insure themselves when climbing but it is just this sort of "small print abuse" that has always put me off, not to mention the cost.
Another thought. If calling out a rescue was justified on the grounds that friends were going to report the claimant missing and call out a rescue next day anyway and so they might as well avoid a "boring" bivi, why did they not just call the friends to tell them they were ok?
800m off the deck in the Dollies? What route's that then? All the big routes (Lankofel, Tofana, etc...) get to easy ground before 800m is up.
Long day, bit tired, bit scared, didn't fancy an unplanned (and wet) bivvi...
Claiming through CAF just now and am in direct contact with my AXA adviser about what paperwork I need and how long it will take to get through. They responded to me within 48hours and have been extremely helpful even though my french vocabulary for this is terrible!
I've never had to claim on BMC insurance, but did witness a friend pester their underwriters to pay a rescue bill for several weeks (the insurance claim and bill had been approved by the underwriters and I guess they say they will pay within a month?? but the Mountain rescue needed paying immediately and weren't very happy with the delays)
Do you know whether helicopters fly in lightning storms, which is what the OP says they needed rescuing from ?
Bit of a silly response, its the wording of the policy which is causing concern, the BMC sell it, therefore they are responsible for whatever shortcomings there are in products they sell.
Looking at the BMC person's response he is not saying the policy is quoted incorrectly by the OP.
I certainly would not want BMC insurance having read the paragraph of concern, although I should say I am an AAC member as it gives me really cheap insurance as somebody living in the Alps for the winter.
I wasn't going to get involved in this thread, but I'm a sensitive soul so here's all the information so that you can criticize our decisions/ the insurance policy in a straight forward fashion.
Darkness was not encroaching, it was only 3pm in our summer storm, but backing off the route in the vertical choss fest the wrong route had become, with literally no anchors might have been a bit too suicidal for our liking. Things were going wrong for some time before the lightning started. I was being figurative when I said we could have waited to go missing. We indeed had a helicopter off our ledge.
This is my reply after our claim was refuted in case anyone is interested:
'We considered that the weather was becoming dangerous and putting us at risk as my climbing partner received several static shocks in the storm and was concerned about all the lightning around us continuing to get closer. That was when he decided definitely to phone. I am not sure what the text means by 'safety conditions' but there was no way of securing safety in the area we had gotten ourselves into because it was all piles of steep loose rock where a rope was no use, and there were no anchors and it continued to get much steeper again above us. Due to this we were putting ourselves at risk of a 800m fall by continuing up or down, not just injury.'
Admittedly we hadn't made the right decisions in getting oursevles to that position where there was nothing to back off with. But I'm confident we made the right decision in getting off safetly. There hadn't been one thread or bit of gear in perhaps 100m, but we'd been moving together so quickly, we hadn't considered carefully how sparse the gear was gradually becoming. It was our first '20 pitch' route, and was supposed to only be a grade IV.... if we'd started in the right gully. I should mention that we'd climbed several grade V 15 pitch routes, and a couple of shorter grade VI pitch before that with confidence, so it was the first time our route planning had somehow gone this stupid.
And of course we texted our mates too to tell them we were going to get rescued but were ok.
Incidentally (& you may be able to answer this next year, Emily!), do alpine insurance companies increase your premiums after a claim (never had to make one yet!) so would, say Joe Simpson be looking at a bigger premium than me?
That depends, doesn't it, but I don't see how this is relevant to the discussion.
Seems entirely reasonable to phone for help in that situation to me - I would ignore the inevitable "you should have waited six days until you were dying responses". Will be interesting to see the outcome of all this.
It looks as though the BMC policy is an amended standard travel policy, and so contains a lot of unnecessary cover resulting in a 35 ? page booklet, whereas the AAC policy is just two sides of A4. I seem to remember the BMC saying they had difficulty in getting any insurer to handle their scheme following poor claims experience, so presumably they are not in a position to dictate a complete rewording of the travel policy of the insurer they use. Or possibly the scheme produces too much commission income to justify altering too much and trying to compete with the AAC.
In reply to lardbrain:
Hopefully they won't hahah! It seems to be a fairly flat rate for CAF anyway - one price for everyone regardless of who you are/what you've done. The last few years I have been a member the prices haven't really changed, a couple of euros more this year maybe!
Most people I know in Chamonix are CAF members and a lot of them have claimed on it .I guess the difference between CAF and the BMC is that every single member pays for the personal insurance when they join, instead of having to fork out additional fees later as you do with BMC insurance. Although you could refuse to pay the insurance for CAF and just join the club, they strongly advise you against doing this when you join.
For us there isn't much choice! Although I live between the UK and Chamonix, I spend too much time away from the UK to be eligible for BMC insurance.
Thanks for clarifying. Only you (and the rescue helicopter) were there, so it would fair enough to give you the benefit of the doubt. However, I do think the OP has done you a bit of a disservice with his fragmentary and apparently self-contradictory and confusing posts.
Two things concern me about this thread. Firstly, the wording "reported missing" in the BMC smallprint. I find it hard to believe that being "reported missing" is really a necessary condition for a successful claim, but hopefully the BMC will clarify.
Secondly, I am alarmed at the tone of some of the posts which seem to be erring towards treating rescue services as a free bail out when the going gets tough rather than a last resort in genuinely life or limb threatening situations. If this is the case, then it can only result in even higher premiums for all of us and perhaps the warning shot of a few rejected claims might be a very good thing.
Really? Which ones? All I can find is stuff like:
I'd assume that "do your best... if you don't manage to..." doesn't mean "try briefly but give up if it seems inconvenient".
But it says in the OP that the AAC paid out quickly, so the level at which the cover pays seems to be different.
If you can get better cover for the same price it seems a bit daft to pay for worse cover on the principle that some people who may be marginal get rescued. Is this some sort of Cosmic Justice principle?
Of course the BMC may offer a higher level of cover at different points, so that may depend on where you (perceive) your exposure lies?
What about "Surely a lightening storm rolling in and being unable to retreat yourself satisfies criteria"
Anyway, in many situations retreating during a lightning storm is a pretty bad idea.
Yes. But I was making a more general point about people's expectation of a right to be rescued when they could sort themselves out.
Its relevant because it begs the question of whether it was a genuine rescue or whether it was a call for an air taxi.
Maybe that's what you thought you were doing, dunno.
But you mentioned higher premiums, which isn't about people calling for rescue in the wrong circumstances, it's about the inability of rescue services or insurance companies to judge whether calling the service is justified or not.
Then climb in France, rescue is a free public service here. Problem solved.
> Two things concern me about this thread. Firstly, the wording "reported missing" in the BMC smallprint. I find it hard to believe that being "reported missing" is really a necessary condition for a successful claim, but hopefully the BMC will clarify.
Having not used BMC insurance for a long time i'm not aware who the underwriters are at the moment, but to me it also seems similar to what someone mentioned above that this company having no knowledge or experience with this sort of activities just copied and adapted the wording from other policies without understanding fully the practicalities of it.
Some specialist insurance outfits separate "search" from "rescue" and designate different budgets and conditions for each, with some (last IHI policy i got) going so far as covering rescue but no search.
That's because search costs can quickly become astronomical once you got a bunch of choppers and ground teams scouring the mountain for days, and there have been some recent events where search costs reached 6 figures which didn't end in a rescue.
Those that cover search operations usually do have as a clause that for the search to be covered the insured have to have been declared missing and the operation initiated by an 'official' outfit, i assume in case someone worried for his/her mate/family member decide to hire a private chopper to go check if mate/family member is ok.
It's been a few years that i don't book such type of insurance, so i don't know how it stands right now.
P.S. What i find the most shocking on this thread is the amount of people that throws money to insurance companies without reading the policy.
This case is very clear. Policy says you must be reported missing, claimee was not reported missing, claim denied. Open and closed case and no amount of pot banging will change that, but hopefully they'll use discretion to let that slide.
But I simply cannot believe that if I was lying on a ledge on the Freney Face with a broken pelvis and phoned for a helicopter rescue that my BMC claim would be dismissed because no one had reported me missing.
I think it's both. If people call for a rescue when they could have reasonably sorted themselves out and manage to convince the insurers they really did need rescuing then premiums will go up. If my premium goes up because others pretend they lose their cameras, I wouldn't be blaming the BMC for the resulting increase in premium.
>But I simply cannot believe that if I was lying on a ledge on the Freney Face with a broken pelvis and phoned for a helicopter rescue that my BMC claim would be dismissed because no one had reported me missing.
They have every right to do so. It is clearly stated in the policy wording you agreed to.
We are not talking common sense here, we are talking contracts, lawyers, fine print, and crooked insurance providers.
But to make you feel better, in your example above your rescue fees would be waived as the rescue would have been deemed by the s&r services to have been necessary ;)
I agree. And I'm still not clear that the claim was turned down because they reported *themselves* as stuck, rather than because the insurance company believes they weren't actually at risk of injury.
> I agree. And I'm still not clear that the claim was turned down because they reported *themselves* as stuck, rather than because the insurance company believes they weren't actually at risk of injury.
This section of the policy offers two reasons in which there is provision to claim. From the information you have kindly provided, we note that you were not reported missing (...)
As your claim falls outside the scope of the insurance, we have no option but to decline your claim. '
It's not relevant!
The AAC paid out, so if you want that level of taxi service insure with the AAC.
'We note that you were not reported missing NOR does it fall under the above covered reasons (... weather or safety conditions are such that it becomes necessary...to instigate a search and rescue operation...in order to prevent you from sustaining injury or becoming ill) outlined within the policy
I don't think its exclusively the issue of them not being 'reported missing'. I think the judgement has been made that they were not 'sufficiently' at risk.
And if it was a 'summer storm' then this has been dragging on quite a while.
Careful. I am not involved with any insurance business, but I don't think that there is any factual basis on this thread for implying or inferring that any insurance provider mentioned on it is crooked. Do you have evidence to the contrary?
They found 2 reasons not to pay. One of them is arguable, the other one isn't.
As in "you don't fulfil this conditon NOR the other"
I think that is part of the problem. It really is not clear why the BMC policy did not pay out.
Eg - It wasn't that bad weather, or it wasn't sufficiently unsafe, - and if that is the case who has made that judgement? Is it because the claim was badly worded or is there further info from the rescue team?
2. Informal Dishonest or unscrupulous; fraudulent.
1.having or showing no moral principles; not honest or fair
Just because the AAC paid out in one claim does not mean that a) they were paying attention (perhaps by their own rules they ought to have refused it) or b) they will always pay out in similar circumstances.
Yes, but would they actually do so. I think this is what everyone wants to know. If the answer is yes, then nobody will be taking out BMC insurance ever again. I strongly suspect that the answer will be no but that the wording will be quickly amended.
I deliberately invented a scenario in Italy rather than in France. Would that be the case there?
What are the chances that the UK underwriter reinsures (lays off/hedges) the whole thing to a Swiss underwriter, who prices the risk lower, and then pockets the difference. It's what I would do.
Yes, certainly in "high" mountains. I'm not sure about lower down/ski resorts.
Actually, in France I think there is no deeming at all - it's just done for free.
I'm not sure that it is quite as 'open and closed' as you suggest. We have a lot of consumer protection legislation (as well as voluntary codes) that regulate whether or not terms of contracts are legitimate.
Whether you can sell a mountain rescue insurance policy that doesn't allow you to call for help yourself is a question that I will leave to the lawyers, but I would be very surprised if such a contract would stand up in court!
Even so, to me the clear lesson is *always* read the policy document in full of any insurance policy you intend to take out. And as you do, imagine the strictest interpretation possible of the document, and whether that will suit you.
Yes, but it is often not easy to imagine all the possible circumstance that might arise and relate them to precise interpretations of a policy document. I certainly wouldn't have picked up on the "missing" thing if the OP hadn't posted, even on a careful reading. This is why the likes of the BMC or other trusted bodies get involved to do some of the reading for us, and why it would be shocking if typical rescues turn out not to be covered.
Even if it was blatantly obvious that you were just a bit tired and couldn't be bothered with the descent on foot?
This raises an interesting dilemma. Given a similar situation, your mate (who has the relevant insurance) arranges a helicopter rescue to get himself off the face. If you don't have the same type of insurance and aren't covered for a helicopter rescue in the given situation, do you just get left behind and so have to solo off the mountain? or have to stump up the full cost of yourself being rescued?
That's my understanding. I have used the "service" and was stunned to be told to "piss of that way" (I paraphrase only a little) on landing rather than being presented with a bill. Essentially no questions were asked despite, due to the nature of what happened, I am pretty sure suspicions we were taking the piss (we weren't).
It's just that to call any person or organization crooked is a pretty serious (?libellous) allegation. You may be right but I don't think we've got enough evidence (I certainly haven't) to make it, and Dave Turnbull has come on here and promised to investigate it, so let's give the BMC a chance. Which is not to say that their underwriters couldn't have made a mistake...
Indeed that is what we expect with the BMC and other mountaineering organisation linked providers: minimum hassle for honest claims, not hidden small print issues. Yet it is not small print to expect free taxi rides (unless paid for) nor is a lack of any check for potential dishonest behaviour, otherwise premiums would go through the roof. For all the fuss made about the BMC the main issues on claims to date seem to be mainly where the settlement or policy was too generous (esp the alledged BG incident and winter sports claims) and maybe partly as a result involving more checks and being less good value than it was.
I still maintain it is bad form for the OP to post here without trying dispute resolution with the BMC first as is corum members making assumptions about what the BMC will do before they even get a chance to look at it.
Well maybe but I think now the wording of the policy is causing more concern than the OP's claim. This stands alone and should be clarified.
Doesn't that sound like they believed in good faith that it was a last resort rather than an easy bail-out?
You may be aware that an electrical storm is something that Proper Alpinists can just grit their teeth and tough out (I'm not a Proper Alpinist so I'm not going to argue either way) but the OP seems to have genuinely thought that his life was in danger, and that seems like the sensible time to call mountain rescue.
And cragfast is cragfast - sitting on the ledge for a day or two until they were hypothermic and hungry might have made for a more dramatic story, but it wouldn't make much difference to the rescue, and probably wouldn't have resulted in an easier way to extricate themselves suddenly presenting itself either.
It is to me. If I'm covered when I phone myself in "missing" with a broken leg, but not when I phone in a bit scared fancying someone to come and hold my hand, that's acceptable cover for what I need.
Which I suspect is the situation (and that the current claim is between those scenarios), but I'm sure the BMC will clarify with time.
Yes, I could just use a AAC policy, but I wouldn't take that decision simply based on this one incident!
The conversation we had with ski patrol on a off piste rescue in the French Alps was that it was chargeable within the ski area, including off piste within ski resort boundaries, but free outside of the ski area (I'm not sure how low that extends to though).
> I deliberately invented a scenario in Italy rather than in France. Would that be the case there?
I don't know if it's the same all around the country, but in Aosta and Trento they look at the circumstances that led to the rescue and then use their discretion to waive the fees, waive a proportion of the fees, or bill you the full whack.
Rescue of an injured person who needs hospitalisation following an accident normally warrants complimentary taxi service.
I've had a mobile for about 20 years. Coverage in mountain areas has only become reasonable in the last 10, IME. Insurance companies move slowly.
So yes, if (I assume) that's the origin of the wording, it needs updating, but the intent probably wasn't to exclude people calling for their own rescue.
I thought the position with rescue in Italy was that it is free, unless you have been extremely incompetent where you may be charged, and I wonder if the Italians have charged for that reason in this case. I could be wrong but seem to remember a thread before from Luca about this.
No, it sounds to me like just wanting out before the storm hit.
The OP wasn't the claimant and his posts were vague and inconsistent. Once the actual claimant posted clearly what happened it was easier to have sympathy.
What worried me was the immediate response in support of the OP and slagging off the BMC when it was not at that point at all clear that the rescue was justified.
Indeed, but the OP didn't mention anything about cragfast (the claimant did later).
Yes. I think I remember that; didn't it sound like someone had quite justifiably been made an example of by being landed with a massive bill for basically taking the piss.
Is that the IV+ normal route on Tofana?
If so, IIRC the route exists the upper pitches onto a crumbly crest that connects the top of the route to the mountain proper. After this you have to bear left onto fairly steep scree and then join a path that zig zags up to the top. If you stay too far right it steepens more and there is indeed horrible looseness all around. However, it's reversible and not call-a-rescue territory. Or did you somehow stray out of the chimneys that the last 4 pitches follow (not sure how you could really)?
That said, I hope the underwriters will take a lenient view. If not, well - it's a great route; worth every penny (as JCM famously said)
That's because you missed the bit about the AAC paying out.
This is insurance, 'justified' is a value loaded phrase, the correct phrase, as it's insurance, is 'covered', what you want to know is if you're covered, not justified.
Unless we go along with the idea that the AAC made a mistake, which is possible but not more likely.
Really? "One getting electric shocks, lightning getting nearer" sounds like someone who thinks they're going get struck by lightning, not someone who's worried about getting a bit cold and wet and uncomfortable.
Ah, okay. For some reason I assumed that he was the one with the AAC insurance.
The post I was referring to was "Surely a lightening storm rolling in and being unable to retreat yourself satisfies criteria"
He may have been. Not really clear from his muddled posts.
No I didn't. I don't see the relevance.
Well, I think it's clear from the "reported missing" wording that, strictly speaking, he wasn't covered anyway.
Anyway, even if I was covered for calling for a helicopter because I was facing a cold and uncomfortable unplanned bivi, I certainly wouldn't be justified in doing so, and if I did, I would certainly deserve a massive bill even if I didn't get one.
Thats the word of a person prepared to complain on the internet on behalf of another party before the organisation had a chance to check if its insurance company was doing what they would like. Dave clearly regarded it worth investigating. Who hasn't had minor shocks and hair standing on end on European mountain routes as storms approached, yet most of us get off under our own steam. In this case it looks like they were lost and its probably a fair claim but thats for the BMC to look into, not UKC forums. Getting stormbound is serious and it kills climbers every year so people do want insurance to help avoid this where things have gone wrong and they can't safely help themselves.
Others have asked why the charge was made when rescue is normally free (baring incompetance)? Did the Italian rescue services make a mistake as well?
Sorry Robert, but the phrase to look for was "no decent anchors for bailing from after going off route," in the first post which was written to show that they were cragfast. I apologise for my muddled posts.
Aosta and Dolomites rules re rescue costs are different. I think you pay in the Dolomites.
I find this amazing, the whole point of this thread is that they have looked into it, a claim was made concerning this event to the BMC insurance and another to the AAC insurance for the same incident, the AAC paid up the BMC insurance wrote back saying the person wasn't covered and refusing the claim. It's a bit late for the BMC to consider the claim more seriously because a fuss has been made, and it is quite legitimate for potential customers to make a perfectly valid decision on these very clear facts.
IMO even if the BMC decides to cover the claim anyway "on appeal", as I hope they will, they will have quite rightly lost a lot of custom... they aren't the cheapest after all. I have no axe to grind as I don't believe in taking out this sort of insurance.
Whatever the case that wording of the policy is very worrying it basically says you can't get rescued unless you are reported missing!
I'd be very keen to get this "reported missing clause" expanded upon.
I've used BMC insurance for two remote trips, wild camping at the base of long routes etc. While we did endure some long bails in storms (just rain no lightening though) I would have assumed that I can phone in a rescue for myself/partner? I'd never approach a route with an "air taxi" mentality. But the idea you have to be reported missing is total bollocks.
Imagine this scenario - You're going to do a long route, you wont be back for a 24hrs (totally reasonable). 12 hours in you get hit by rock fall, one rope gets cut and you're bleeding. You're supposed to sit it out for another 12hours? Or do you phone MRT and report in a bad accent "im walking my dog in storm up this col and I can see two climbers 600 meters up a wall...from here it looks like one of them is seriously hurt. good day, Sir!"
Can't understand your problem with lightning. My daughter and I both received a direct strike from lightning at around 3000m - only saved by the electric path going down over wet hoods and jackets rather than our spines. We continued down to the valley in continuing lightning.
I'm not sure about how the service level of the BMC vs AAC compare generally. I expect that people have what they feel are good and bad experiences from both organisations, as each case is handled individually.
However, the one experience I had with the AAC was very positive. The support was very good and there were no problems / delays.
As I say, I'm sure people have good and bad experiences with both. TBH I think both organisations provide a very good level of service in general. I'm sure there are exceptions but overall I think they are both good.
In terms of people's claims: I'm expect the biggest factor in determining the outcome of any claim is which Underwriter is being used by the BMC / at the time, and what there rules stipulate.
Since this incident was, presumably, in Trento it would seem that the rescue services deemed it 'chargeable' then?
Personally I am extremely grateful for the really good, and free, casualty service I got in Friuli - but I got driven to the hospital from the crag.
Yes, but to me "cragfast" means unable to escape up, down or sideways (and the claimant did eventually clarify that he felt this was the case). Anyway, unless I was in an exposed position on or close to a ridge, I think the last thing I would want to be doing in an electrical storm is abseiling; I would make myself as safe as possible, get as far as possible away from metal hardware and sit it out, hoping for the best. Scary, but it comes to all alpinists in time!
Hi JJL. The truth was we were so far off route, the rescue service had to fly back and forth a good number of times before they spotted us. It's too embarrassing to detail how many pitches we had made fit the guide book description - oh that grade 3 corner pitch maybe seemed slightly stiffer than the grade 3's we've done so far... hmm that bump on the left must be the pedestal etc etc. So we didn't do the normal and never saw the ampitheatre. (We had expected the low clouds at the beginning of the day to lift like on previous days as the weather report was good.) Did the other classic VI- on Tofana later on though with the increased route finding vigilence gained(!), which was a beauty. Not sure if I'm allowed back now though????
Yep, we've all been there. *However* - the problem here is that what is deemed worthy of rescue is a very individual thing. Your uncomfortable unplanned bivvy is another person's rescue situation. The underwriter's job is the turn that subjective call into something commercially viable.
That is why I don't work in insurance.
Yes, agreed, but there has to be a line somewhere; you can't just say that one person's minor fatigue is another person's rescue situation. Anyway, anyone, however inexperienced, who called for a rescue to avoid a merely uncomfortable unplanned bivvy just because a route took longer than expected (no other factors involved) is certainly an irresponsible muppet.
Maybe he is concerned because it kills tens of thousands each year across the world? Your post is so 'Yorkshire childhoods' it is hard to be clear if you are being serious. Ligtning...what's the fuss... that just tickles!
I definitely know of people gettin unneccessary helicopters out here....haha
Just to confirm that you can indeed report an incident yourself i.e. you do not have to be reported missing by someone else. This was confirmed by our brokers Perkins Slade yesterday.
Thanks Dave - that's good to know!
Snigger snigger ;-)
That is certainly what I expected the outcome to be. I hope that the wording in policies is now changed/clarified and I assume that you will be taking steps to minimise damage done to BMC Insurance's reputation by this thread. I shall certainly be remaining loyal (I don't have much choice in the meantime having just taken out an annual policy!)
It would now be interesting to know the final outcome of the OP's friend's claim........
"I assume that you will be taking steps to minimise damage done to BMC Insurance's reputation by this thread. I shall certainly be remaining loyal"
I really don't understand people who are angry that this has been publicised in this way. Somebody was cragfast and clearly needed to be rescued (even if perhaps the OPs post was slightly vague), it is unacceptable that their claim was denied and renders the policy unfit for purpose.
I'm sure many choose BMC insurance as they associate the name with a degree of trust and reliability. They may well be prepared to pay more then other quotes for this reason- I have in the past.
I am glad that the BMC will be looking into this- But they shouldn't have to! Even if they do eventually pay out this will have caused a degree of stress and worry far from that you'd expect of an organisation like the BMC. By placing their name on it they should have made assurances about the conduct of the actual insurer.
It is a beauty of the internet that this can be publicised so quickly. There are 2 options for insurance mentioned in the threads title- It appears only one of them is fit for purpose. If the final outcome is not favourable I will not use them again, even if it is I will think twice.
It is not 100% clear they needed to be rescued, it is not 100% clear they made an understandable claim, it is not 100% clear the claim made to both organisation's insurance companies were identical. It is not 100% clear if they were charged for the rescue because the rescue teams felt they had demonstarted a degree of incompetance. The only things that are clear are that AAC payed up and the BMC are investigating their end, and that for BMC policies we can ask for help in situations that require it (and I agree a change in wording needs to be done to help with this, despite being someone who uses the BMC to avoid small print quibbles in real emergencies). I do not want BMC insurance to be an air taxi when climbers are feeling a little nervous, tired or bored or I suspect I will be moving elsewhere to cut my premiums.
and the BMC are investigating their end,
Which wouldn't have happened but for this thread, most likely. Nor would the implications of the confusing policy wording have been clarified (thanks Dave). Pretty much every other product is widely reviewed and discussed online these days. I don't see why BMC insurance should be different.
Really? I've known people who ask the BMC things privately and get a very good respone. Consumer Affairs TV shows the behaviour of way too many organisations to customer complaint is frankly terrible but I use BMC insurance because I expect the BMC to be different.
This isn't clear at all, the information given in the OP says that the BMC insurance refused the claim. It's dishonest to make a difference between the "BMC" and the "BMC insurance", for the customer they are one and the same thing.
No they are not the same thing. Thats partly why we use the BMC. It is clear the AAC paid. It is clear the cheif exec of the BMC came on this thread and said he is looking into it. As I said above we live in a world where the treatment of customers by organisations can be shocking and my experience of the BMC is very different so tarring them with the same brush before a decision is made and reasons are clear is very unfair.
?? Blatantly obvious a decision has been made. They may choose to change that, but it has been made. Remove head from sand.
My experience of the BMC is that it had a good insurance policy, which then went through the roof (snowboarding in USA or Bear Grylls?) while other countries were always cheaper. There has been an issue for mountaineering members that hasn't been addressed since the policy went up in price, about 5 or 6 years. The BMC may choose to focus more on signs in climbing walls, but I personally use them out of all products advertised to ensure that crags have access and would like to add insurance and reciprocal rights card, but it's much more expensive than other clubs which include the latter two as part of membership costs. Maybe they need a volunteer insurance broker on the committee to advise on a better deal?
The Scout Association own their own insurance broker (which also offers insurance for other youth organisations or similar as a means of fundraising). This seems a very effective arrangement. Have the BMC considered that, or are they not big enough I guess?
I don't know? A partnership could work? Maybe Bear Grylls can right a wrong (he is/was chief scout...)
Another sensible idea is for the BMC to check on refused claims by the underwriters, the BMC are the experts.
Not sure it is 'through he roof', really.
What's the issue?
More than what?
I just can't understand what you are saying here. I think you are saying you support their access work but would like to pay a much higher membership rate which included free insurance and reciprocal rights? Any idea what level of membership fee you'd be willing to pay for that?
And how that level of membership fee would play with the other 69,999. Many of whom don't indulge in alpine climbing members?
Now, if BMC membership was mandatory in the UK then maybe the BMC would have the clout to get such favourable rates.
So, are you saying that all climbers in the UK should be made to join the BMC so you can have your deal?
Dear Tofana amateur.
A few queries before I get out of here (as I'm finding some of the repetition on this thread tedious in the extreme).
This was an incident last summer (i.e. 2013 and eight months ago)?
You and your partner were rescued from near the top of the Tofana after calling for rescue yourselves?
Had you suffered any physical injury prior to the call for rescue'?
You and your partner received a bill from the rescue services of £2,500 EACH for that rescue from the services (i.e total bill = £5,000)?
Have the rescue service stated why they elected to bill you rather than provide a free service to 'injured climbers'?
Did you and your partner make separate claims for 50% (i.e. £2,500 each) of the rescue bill to your separate insurers?
You made an initial claim which, it seems, was turned down by someone from the underwriters or the brokers, (see quote in OP). You would appear to have responded to 'the underwriters'. Has there been any subsequent correspondence from those 'underwriters'?
Who have you currently been corresponding with?
Have you at any time contacted the staff of the BMC directly (for the hard of understanding I mean staff employed by the BMC and based in their office in Didsbury)?
Has all 'correspondence' with the BMC offices been through this UKC thread?
Most of those questions can be simply 'yes' / 'no' I would have thought.
Hey. I'm interested.
good point about the higher general price reflecting included insurance / rights with the AAC, although I think the majority of AAC members prolly join for the benefits - outside Austria anyway.
I found just being a member of the BMC seems to get money of some huts irrelevant of the reciprocal rights card - although maybe they made a mistake? For the same money you may as well join AAC as although the limits are lower the conditions of paying out are much more general and less confined (even if you intend to get BMC insurance). When getting insurance in general (not just for outdoor stuff) the less get out clauses the better for me. I find it can be hard to actually work out what you are covered for at times!
So now you want to put the victims on trial? This thread is pretty weird!
Just trying to find out what exactly has transpired. Are you really totally clear about the circumstances surrounding this insurance claim which is being presented to us as a total travesty? Your use of the word 'victim' is less than helpful. This is someone who has made an insurance claim that has been turned down rather than the recipient of a bullet. Right?
I mean, you'd be pretty pissed off if they had tried to claim the full amount off AAC AND BMC for the same incident, right?
I think there is a lot more to this case than has been apparent on this thread so far.
Why did the rescue services charge?
And , hey, Bruce, I didn't start the bloody thread.........
Whilst I take yr point - however if insurance will not pay out in some contries when the rescue services charge they should make that clear as getting insurance seems futile.
Having spent several hours today trying to sort out insurance for a trip to do some via ferratta, trekking, mountain biking, and maybe some climbing, I must say it was very confusing. Each policy had different standard cover and extra cover areas. I gave up on reading some policies - like the one that allowed "rock climbing (with ropes &/or guide or bolted)", "rock scrambling", but did not cover "solo climbing".
Just what is the difference between solo climbing and rock scrambling in a practical sense on easy climbs, and what do they mean by "rock climbing (with ropes &/or guide or bolted)"? Sure there is lots to dispute In the event of any claims under a policy with that wording!!
The "victims" have potentially done considerable damage to the reputation of BMC insurance. It seems perfectly fair that their claims, which have been at times, shall we say, rather vague, should be held to account.
My view entirely. It seems now the OP also had a previous agenda wrt the BMC insurance from his most recent post on this thread.
Weirder and weirder! Since when did climbers stick up for insurance companies ripping off other climbers? "The damage was done" when an insurance company, and not the cheapest, sold a poorly worded contract and then refused to pay up whereas another did without a quibble... Do some of you have "shares" in the BMC insurance or what?
I can understand the BMC replying, although I'm not sure it is in their interest, but that other climbers who have no idea what happened should feel the need to back them up, is simply weird.
It's not surprising though as nearly every time someone criticizes a company on ukc people pop up to defend the company and slag off the victims... A psychologist could probably give us an explanation.
I would no more stick up for insurance companies ripping off climbers than I would for climbers ripping off insurance companies and therefore other climbers. The fact is that we do not know all the facts of this case. Apart from the poor wording (and it has been confirmed that a climber does not in fact have to have been reported missing), there is no reason, yet, to condemn the BMC.
And you do know exactly what happened? I suspect the chances are that there may be more to this than meets the eye. Otherwise, why did the BMC insurance not pay up?
That's the thing, nobody is condemning BMC insurance. Just stating the facts.
Bad wording on BMC insurance waiver (BMC has verified, it is not how it is written. Good). At the time BMC insurance refused to cover the rescue where as OeAV did.
So at least Uniqa (from CH, insurance broker for OeAV)has deemed the rescue appropriate where as BMCs broker has not. And the case is under scrutiny, but remains to be seen if it is covered or not.
Since people believed in honest resolution over militant polemic. As most of us need insurance and those of us who use policies linked through the BMC do so because we dont want haggling in honest cases and we like the idea profits go into BMC coffers and yet we are not prepared to pay increased premiums to support 'class heros who make a stand against the global capital' by stealing. With your very outlier views like your love of China and your bizzare theories about the Pinnacle Club you are about as odd a left wing thinker as Ive ever come across and yet like most odd militant lefties you still claim to be representative of 'the people'. You can hold your opinions Bruce, but your about as representative of the average climber as I am of the average insurance cheif, just becuase I had the temerity to question those who go to the internet before seeking resolution with the BMC.
Have you read the thread? The condemnation was almost vicious at the start after the OP's rather incoherent opening rant.
I have, and there's been bantering and nitpicking yes. But not more than any other UKC thread.
You're doing it again :-)
Is your default mode to blame the customer? To assume a "company" is more likely to be in the right as they are "official"? Here I'm doing my bar-room psychologist bit so the motive might be elsewhere. If, as you say, you don't feel we are in possession of the full facts why make a comment at all?
Personally I feel I have enough facts (the poor wording of the policy, the text of the letter of refusal, not "user friendly" and not even bothering to give a precise explanation for the refusal, and the various info about the event - whether it was the "incompetence" of the climbers or not, insurance is to cover errors or it's no use at all) to have sympathy with the poster and express my opinion without any qualms.
To offset the kneejerk condemnation of the BMC in reaction, without the full facts, to the OP's rant.
Do I? Wow, you are an angry bunny, and what has politics, even your weird views of mine, got to do with this issue? To be kind I'll assume you've had an early morning drink, or a lot last night and say no more...
PS. Just a reminder, the person concerned did "seek resolution with the BMC", he sent off his claim, and they refused to pay up without even giving a clear reason... That's why the thread was started.
Something odd here as I think I agree with you.
I suspect there is a bit of assuming the BMC are nice and cuddly and therefore their insurance shouldn't be questioned going on here. If the OP had been about car insurance I don't think there would have been so much concern for poor insurance companies. As you say we have quite a bit of information about events, most notably that the cheaper insurance paid when the pricier one didn't. Maybe there is a good explanation for this but to suggest we should all be quiet until the BMC deign to investigate further (assuming they would have without this thread) is odd. That the insurance didn't pay in the first place is enough for questions to be asked, I would say.
Why do you feel the need to do this?
Why does anybody comment on anything on UKC?
My own experience with BMC insurance has been excellent and I thought I would provide some balance.
I am sure that all insurance companies strive to get a balance between keeping customers happy and not getting ripped off by dodgy claims. I am sure that they sometimes get it wrong either way. I know for a fact that some climbers are not above "losing" a camera to offset the cost of their policy or of calling for a convenient air taxi "because I've paid for it". If the BMC or any other insurer did not reserve the right to some degree of scepticism (and then inevitably, at least very occasionally, get it wrong) we'd all be paying higher premiums.
I think however BMC / their insurance need to change the wording - it is still wrong and legally leaves us not fully covered when we should be.
How can you report yourself missing if you are injured at a known location?
Interesting considering OeAV insurance price has stayed the same for about 8 years or so. Perhaps the continentals are better at not calling rescue when not needed.
Of course, I'm not arguing with that. "Losing" a camera like that is simply fraud, and should be condemned. However, I would suggest this idea of "air taxis" is wildly exaggerated. There have been a few high profile examples but, really, do you think 99.9% of climbers/walkers would even consider it?
The grey areas of judgement about when to request help are tricky but that is exactly why threads like this are valuable - they highlight what you can expect from different policies. It's become clear that a) the wording on the BMC insurance is convoluted and vague and b) that they sometimes argue the case when other companies won't. Similarly it has shown some (such as you) find their policies "excellent", and that others note the limited costs AAC will cover. All good information that those buying insurance can use.
Bring on the important questions of BMC insurance like what really happened with Bear Grylls. The BMC are not cute and cuddly they are a campaigning organisation that defends the interests of climbers. Asking questions about claimants using the internet to bypass due proccess is important. If the BMC insurance gives away money to any old chancer, will the 'evil capitalist' insurance industry lose out? Of course they won't, climbers will just pay more for their premiums and the BMC 'cut' of profits that could really help with their activities will drop. I dont mind paying a bit more, knowing where some of the money goes, if fair asssessment is made to help drive the potential rip-off merchants elsewhere, if the BMC policy fails to stop future 'Bear Grylls' incidents and I have to pay a lot more for it I will regretfully move. In the case of BMC insurance, ripping off the policy is ripping off the BMC.
Has anyone looked at the vague wording on the competitor policies. Its hardly like the BMC policy is unique. The attitude sold by BMC and other organisations like AAC is different though and that presumably what the BMC will check. Tidying up wording is good but it shouldnt matter in this case.
Yes, it's all very well stating you will be covered on an internet forum but the legal situation is what is written in the document. A small change in wording would be welcome.
You assume the OPs mate is a "rip off merchant" which based on what he wrote seems unfair. Of course he could be lying but it didn't come over that way to me. And he did follow "due process" the letter from the insurers is copied somewhere above - they refused the claim.
I don't think anyone is arguing with that.
Obviously I couldn't put a figure on it, but I have certainly sensed over the years a shift in expectation of rescue from a last resort for which we should be humbly grateful with our tail firmly between our legs when we f*** up (As I hope I was) to more of a convenient safety net service allowing more of a gamble on weather or conditions or experience.
Yes. As long as the discussion is balanced (as it now finally seems to be).
I don't think anyone is assuming that.
Perhaps a different thread but isn't that inevitable given changes in what is possible? Up until say 1950, you basically were entirely on your own, come what may. Helicopters changed that, and mobile phones changed it more
But all of us should scrupulouly plan and climb as we would if mobile phones and helicopters didn't exist. It is certainly what we should be striving for. Helicopters and the ability to summon them effortlessly should be a last resort. Treating them as anything else is irresponsible and ethically bankrupt in mountaineering terms.
Well, all this tub thumping about how the BMC shouldn't have to pay up if someone just gets a bit cold and tired and fancies a nice convenient taxi service seems a bit irrelevant if the OP's mate wasn't, in fact, just a bit cold and tired and fancying a nice convenient taxi service but in fact a) was cragfast and b) believed he was in serious danger of his life due to the approaching electric storm.
Sure but it's the definition of "last resort" that has changed, I think. As an example if a party is cragfast , perhaps like that described above, helicopters and phones have changed things. With no communication or rescue possible, the choice is continue up ground you think is really dangerous with a risk of dying, or certainly die of starvation/dehydration. Obviously you continue as far as you can. With helicopters and no phones, the choice is continue and risk dying, or wait and hope someone will report you missing before you die of dehydration. Tricky decision. With helicopters and phones you call for help. The net result is more rescues but I don't think that is really a bad thing, or irresponsible.
However, it's certainly possible to believe you're cragfast and in serious danger when in fact you've begun to lose the plot because you're cold, tired and a bit out of your depth, and a little hunting around would find you a fairly straightforward way out of the situation.
It's by no means an easy line to draw, because of course that "little hunting around" might lead you into a much more dangerous position, particularly if you're well out if your depth and can't sensibly assess the terrain.
I've seen both in the UK - "cragfast" people where a team member has been able to walk straight in to them, and show them a safe route to walk off, perhaps with a safety rope (and who would have probably managed to find a safe way off themselves if they didn't have a mobile phone in their pocket), and "cragfast" people who've ended up in deep gullies where any movement would lead to them falling over a significant drop (and having a mobile phone and signal has doubtless saved them from serious injury or death).
I certainly don't feel I have a good idea of where this incident falls on that spectrum.
Couldn't agree more, well said.
I honestly don't think this discussion can be balanced whilst people are still going on and on about the supposed moral aspects of insurance claims or the circumstances under which insurance should pay out.
If it's covered they should pay out, if it isn't then people should get the cover they require.
Tone policing how people should act when they call for rescue or how people should act if they feel a claim has been denied is just an irrelevance.
Can it be confirmed in updated policy wording? That's the legal agreement, not this forum thread. Until it is, BMC insurance doesn't look like an attractive product - I don't think I would buy it.
There have been other issues raised in the past regarding the policy wording (eg. http://www.ukclimbing.com/forums/t.php?n=442717&v=1#x6222073) which to the best of my knowledge - although I may be mistaken - have also not been modified. Maybe it's time for the BMC to do a review of the policy and negotiate a rewording with Perkins Slade, clearly tidying up what is and is not covered, rather than stating it piecemeal on scattered parts of the UKC site?
I think it's clarity people are after, rather than the policy stating something is not covered and the BMC stating otherwise. Then people can fairly compare with eg. AAC.
I agree - there is some confusion of the thread - Robert Durran and offwidth seem to be suggesting that
a)The BMC shouldn't pay out in all claims. I totally agree, however there is no suggestion that the OP's claim is one.
b)The matter shouldn't be discussed as it is somehow "ongoing". I disagree the claim was submitted and refused. It may well be re-examined - but that is enough to sound alarm bells to those of us with BMC insurance.
c)The "BMC" is a different entity form "BMC insurance", Well, technically it might be but the fact that
1) the insurance is marketed by the BMC in all the bumf we get sent every year,
2)is called "BMC insurance",
3)is sold in categories such as "Trekking", "Alpine and ski" and similar climber specific titles,
4)in order to get insurance you need a BMC membership
5) the BMC presumably makes money from the insurance
would all suggest that trying to separate the insurance from the organisation is pointless.
As a BMC member and a holder of annual insurance, I would simply like to know (in vague terms if necessary) why was this claim refused - the reference to clauses in the OP is by no means clear.
This will enable me to make a decision on whether this so-called climbing insurance will cover me for what I want. On the current information it doesn't appear so. The suggestion is that "someone" has decided that this was not a suitable case for a rescue - and as yet we are still unclear why, whether that be an "emergency taxi" or a clause in the small print.
I've pointed this out a couple of times too and a poster still keeps repeating that "due process" is under way! I don't know about "clear wording" on insurance policies but even clear wording on this forum doesn't seem to help much :-)
The discussion has moved on to be more general, including the possible existence of rip off merchants, but I am certainly not suggesting that this claimant is a rip off merchant. Indeed, I said earlier in the thread when the actual claimant came on (rather than the somewhat hysterical OP!) to clarify the story that he should be given the benefit of the doubt that the claim was made in good faith. However, the fact that the claim was rejected (presumably not actually because he was not reported missing, or, at least, if so, an appeal should be successful) presumably either unfairly (in which case again, hopefully, an appeal will be successful) or because the claim really was not valid under the terms of the insurance for some reason, possibly because they were judged not to have actually needed rescuing.
Fair point, but my main point that the possibility of rescue should not ever be built into your plans still stands. If I set out on the N.Face of the Droites wearing just the clothes I am stood in and a few gels in my pocket with the mindset that if I am slower than expected or if the weather deteriorates unexpectedly I'll simply call for a rescue, then I am an absolute disgrace to mountaineering and even if my insurance is technically obliged to pay out, I should at least be given a very severe metaphorical rap over the knuckles. In my view, I should in fact be faced with a very hefty bill (though I concede that grey areas might make judgement of guilt tricky).
Having once worked on the " other side of the fence" so to speak- in the insurance industry- these wordings tend to evolve over time. There have probably been in the past numerous claims turned down under the scheme, which have then been renegotiated,paid out, policy wording adjusted to clarify meaning and so on.In most cases this is just down to clarification of issues where its not really clear if cover applies and negotiations have to take place about intention and meaning and so on.Its a continuous process that never stops in large schemes like with the BMC.
I would think that a study of AAC wording would show comparable or different unintentional clauses which would cause concern .
Apologies. More confusion...... I have just realised that your post was not saying that I seem to be suggesting that the OP's mate is a rip-off merchant (I failed to notice that the first line of your post did not end in a full stop!
Yes, exactly. But people praising the BMC's insurance often talk about the "peace of mind" you get in exchange for your slightly inflated premium. And "peace of mind", to me, means that if I genuinely believe based on the information available to me at the time that calling for a rescue is the only sensible option (and if I haven't done anything grossly incompetent) then I can make that call and not worry about the underwriters deciding with the benefit of hindsight that I actually got it wrong.
Agreed, and I'm hoping the BMC are still in discussion with their underwriters about why this claim was turned down (and that clarification that you can indeed declare yourself "missing" is only an interim response).
If the local rescue team did indeed deem the rescue unnecessary, and hence chargeable, that'd be an interesting situation, and I'd be surprised if it's a decision they take lightly (although if they know climbers have insurance, perhaps they veer towards charging more readily?). Although, tbh, I doubt the underwriters had that depth of knowledge when they made their original decision.
Well, I can't remember all the policies in the alps. But I do seem to recall that rescue which does *not* end in a hospital will be charged in some locales. Even if it was a real rescue.
So best check your coverage and local rescue policy.
"But people praising the BMC's insurance often talk about the "peace of mind" you get in exchange for your slightly inflated premium. And "peace of mind", to me, means that if I genuinely believe based on the information available to me at the time that calling for a rescue is the only sensible option (and if I haven't done anything grossly incompetent) then I can make that call and not worry about the underwriters deciding with the benefit of hindsight that I actually got it wrong."
I'd agree with all of that if it wasn't for the fact that what some people believe is clearly unreasonable. The policy has to be based on the 'climber on the clapham omnibus' not any fantasist who can convince themself they always have a right of rescue.
As for the OP's mate I indicated before that I think his case looks likley to be one which should have been settled but until that is looked at by the BMC in conjunction with their underwriters, with the real information to hand (as opposed to our speculation about it), I'm reserving judgement. I certainly don't suspect them of being rip-of merchants. However, the OP did post here before his pal sought direct help from the BMC and as such is a 'wind up merchant' (like others on this thread).
Back to distinction between the BMC and its insurance. For the 'climber on the clapham omnibus' if the underwriters turned the claim down when they as an individual experinced climber felt it was wrong, wouldnt they be straight on the phone to the BMC? Or am I so out of touch and most now would be on the phone to Dom or Watchdog or UKC, to extract maximum public humiliation.
...the OP did post here before his pal sought direct help from the BMC and as such is a 'wind up merchant'
Er, not really. Pretty harsh accusation actually, Mr Offwidth (in fact, maybe you are trying to wind people up, eh?)
I'm a BMC member who has paid for BMC insurance, and I do want to know that this has happened and I am insterested to know how it pans out.
Must be lost on the way to the Westway. Probably the tube strike.
Pretty accurate in my view but I pointed out my view might be outdated: I guess you might be another who would post on UKC before phoning the BMC. I may be old fashioned but I find it indecent to publicly slag someone off before you give them a chance to sort it out first. The OP could also have said 'shame on the BMC Underwriters' etc but he didnt.
Indeed, maybe it is the world we live in now that the honest typical man is plain lost.
... The OP could also have said 'shame on the BMC Underwriters' etc but he didnt.
Yep, and you could have made your point without the namecalling.
The insurance policy I prefer to buy is damaged by such posts. Excuse me if a little of what you regard name calling goes back in return.
It should also be noted that presumably insurance contracts fall under the Unfair Terms act, and as such the exact wording of minor clauses is not critical (for contracts which are not individually negotiated). This does not mean that you don't need to check the major clauses carefully - for example what is covered is likely to be a major clause? But the minor terms can't be unfair. For example, if you bought an Alpine policy including rescue, and there was some minor clause that meant you the policy wouldn't pay out unless you reported yourself missing using one of those dogs with the whiskey barrels, then that clause would probably be considered unfair and ignored?
The insurance policy I prefer to buy is one that works and provides "peace of mind" (as suggested by climbers insurance, for climbers, provided by a climbing organisation) - not one that refuses to pay out on what, on the face of it, appears to be a wholly legitimate claim.
I'm glad it has been raised and I hope that BMC or the claimant clarify the reason for the refusal.
Those wanting BMC insurance generally have much more demanding requirements.
As regards MR costs, Unity (the SA broker) explicitly duck the issue by having a £2000 limit in their policy.
The insurance policy I prefer to buy is one that works and provides "peace of mind" (as suggested by climbers insurance, for climbers, provided by a climbing organisation) - not one that refuses to pay out on a wholly legitimate claim.
I fixed that for you because 'on the face of it' we are clueless what actually happened to the claim and despite all the hot air there is no evidence at all yet that the BMC insurance doesn't do 'exactly what it says it does on the tin'. I hope if the underwriter did make a mistake the BMC can admit this, but the way these things go the resolution can end up having to be private and if so it's then frankly none of our business.
Well, there is some evidence that the BMC insurance doesn't do what it 'says on the tin' as we are presented with what appears to be a legitimate claim (that has been paid out by AAC) which the BMC insurance has refused to pay out by reference to a clause that is somewhat unclear.
"Quite frankly" it is literally our business, if I am in a position where I am thinking I am going to have to call a rescue chopper, then the last thing I want is to be reticent about calling because I think I will be hit by a huge bill. That is exactly the point of having insurance.
I previously said that it would be of some assistance/reassurance if the BMC could post further details of any resolution even in vague terms "The circumstances as described in the claim are disputed" or "The claim was turned down becuase in the opinion of the MRT there was no need for rescue".
> If the local rescue team did indeed deem the rescue unnecessary, and hence chargeable(...)
Just a little clarification from my understanding on rescue operations.
An s&r team will very rarely (never?) deem a rescue 'unnecessary'. The control centre will take the decision if it's necessary or not in advance, and they'll put the assets in place that they deem adequate. If they send a chopper then they have assessed the situation and decided it's necessary.
Where they take a dim view is as to how the people got into the situation of needing rescue. Without being specific to this case, being under-prepared, under-equipped, or ignoring weather reports are but examples where they'll throw the book at you.
They don't want people to not call for help when deep in the s**t, what they want is for people taking reasonable steps not to get into that situation to begin with.
I think people choose BMC insurance because (besides supporting the BMC) they expect that their claims will be handled by someone with more understanding of climbing and mountaineering than the average insurance broker. Of course the claims themselves are handled by underwriters who may not have that knowledge, but the BMC is there to provide that overview.
In the present case that seems to be exactly what they are doing. They have already confirmed that it is not necessary to have been reported missing by a third party, which deals with one of the underwriter's reasons for rejecting the claim quoted by the OP.
Of the other reasons covered by the policy, they had not actually suffered injury or illness. That leaves "weather or safety conditions are such that it becomes necessary to do so in order to prevent You from sustaining injury or becoming ill". Whether a rescue was "necessary" in the circumstances is precisely the situation where we would hope the BMC would be able to make a well-informed judgement. Presumably this is what they are now looking at.
Only because of the shitstorm kicked up on this thread, reactive rather than proactive is not good
The underwriters appear to take the policy wording literally (as is their job). herin lies the problem - the policy is inadequate
As has been pointed out above there is no indication that there had been any communication with staff at the BMC offices before this thread was posted. It's tricky reacting to something you know nothing about I think you would agree? :-)
Although it's a shame that Dave Turnbull didn't take the opportunity to say if the BMC were going to check if there were any other claims that had been denied on that basis.
But if the BMC decide that in this case the underwriters got (at least) that bit right, then the OP is correct to say people should be thinking about the AAC, if they want that type of cover.
OTOH if the BMC decide that the underwriters got it wrong, since DT says the BMC rarely gets involved, then either the vast majority of claims are successful or people whose claims are denied are not involving the BMC to seek redress.
Either way, unless the AAC made a mistake, then discussing insurance cover in terms of 'needed, justified or necessary' is pejorative.
It may well be the case that the AAC cover is set up to pay a larger number of smaller value claims, whilst the BMCs is set up for fewer, larger value claims, that would be a commercial decision, presumably based on the (perceived) needs of the customers that the cover is aimed at.
Does anyone know how AAC insurance compares to CAI (Italian Alpine Club) insurance? I live in Italy and currently have AAC insurance.
Which produces a sort of delightful Catch - 22. If the rescue was 'justified' (e.g. injury from rockfall requiring helicopter rescue) then it is normally free and it is covered by your friendly insurance company. If the rescue is 'unjustified' (e.g. you had a nasty blister forming and the weather looked like it might rain a bit so you felt you needed lifting out) and the rescue is charged to you it is not covered by your nasty insurance company as it was your 'own fault'.
Am I missing something?
It never stops, does it? This has been covered loads of times already, the customer made his claim to his insurance, presumably sending it to the address indicated and it was refused in writing. If the BMC "experts" were involved then logically this was done before the written refusal or do you think standard practice is to claim, get a refusal then reclaim again to someone else? It's mind boggling the mental gymnastics some on this thread are going through to let this insurance company off the hook just because it's the BMC!
Why logically? It would be equally logical to only call in the "experts" at the BMC if the outcome of a claim is contested. We just don't know. You don't and I don't, but it would be interesting to know how these things do work.
Mental gymnastics!? Whatever the argument Bruce is always right. Mao's heroism tainted by the death of millions? Nah, Bruce is aways right. Pinnacle Club seriously damaging the cause of women? You bet, Bruce is always right. Ukraine government a fascist coup? Sure thing Bruce is always right. Insurance companies evil and the BMC culpable even though they are investigating and none of us know the details or the outcome......got the pattern yet?
There's been a lot of comments about underwriters on this thread (I just picked this one to reply to as it was the first I saw today, but it probably includes about 90% of replies).
Do we really think underwriters assess claims?
I think I've got the pattern, you are seriously in need of a holiday! Do you work for the BMC or what, no one in their right mind would consider it normal for an insurance claim to require a double demand, first one that is refused, without even a clear reason (you have read the letter from the BMC Insurance like I did) then, once the customer who has not only had the stress of the climbing mishap and rescue but the added stress of receiving a letter from his insurance company, the BMC, saying he wasn't going to be covered when he had been paying a particularly high premium to cover just such events... or so he thought, then he must, according to you, to make another claim, this time to the "head office" of the BMC in order to get redress!
Only a loony would consider this normal practice, but judging by you rant, rants rather, about Maoism, millions of deaths, Ukraine, evil insurance companies etc that may be it... Really, take a few days off.
Cragfast is what happens to ignorant frightened people who are knackered and do have the remaining wit to start abseiling. Your really cragfast if you have an empty rack.,,,
I'm still in discussion with our insurers on this but in short we are having a significant difference of opinion and I am not at all satisfied with the way the claim has been dealt with so far.
Unfortunately this particular case has been complicated by the fact that whilst the initial incident took place in July 2013, the claim and helicopter bill was not reported to our underwriters until March 2014 (i.e. 7-8 months after the claimant had received the bill), and even then with only very limited information about the circumstances of the claim. Delays in reporting claims will naturally lead insurance companies to raise queries.
That said, from what I understand of the rescue incident (and I have climbed on the Tofana myself), the claim does appear to be legitimate and precisely the kind of thing BMC members could rightly expect to covered under the policy.
This is a developing issue and there is clearly a limit to the amount of information I can give on an individual claim in a public forum.
BMC members can however feel assured that one way or the other legitimate rescue claims of this type will be honoured, whether it be through the BMC supporting a policy holder with an appeal to the Financial Ombudsman or if it comes to it by the BMC covering the claim cost itself.
I hope to be able to resolve the question of the policy wording with our underwriters over the next few weeks, a number of changes are needed.
Just what we all want to hear. Thanks for the legwork, I'm glad you responded with such a solid answer. I hope that her claim is sorted and thank you for the effort you put into Alpine and worldwide mountaineering.
Thanks for the update. At the end of the day, I'm sure I'm not the only one who would much rather get the BMC insurance to support the BMC etc, as long as the policy wording can be resolved.
I've got annual BMC insurance and was getting a little nervous reading all the guesswork on this thread. Although I'm not 100% happy yet, I can see that changes are in progress and feel reassured by that. Thanks for the feedback Dave.
I like the AAC because it also includes reciprical rights to huts whereas the BMC make you pay that seperately. I think its a no brainer.
Well, actually Dave Turnbull's answer is not solid at all, at the moment the claimant hasn't been paid out and has been refused their claim, until the claimant is paid and the wording on the policy changed, then his response is just words, and presently actions speak louder.
It appears that at the moment the CAF and AAC produce a much better policy for British climbers abroad.Not much of an advert for those that run the BMC.
If this is resolved it is only because a mate of the claimant has posted it on the internet, otherwise it appears the BMC policy would have been a complete waste of money.
Cheers for the reply - exactly the sort of information we needed.
Definitely worrying though if:-
"I am not at all satisfied with the way the claim has been dealt with so far."
"the claim does appear to be legitimate and precisely the kind of thing BMC members could rightly expect to covered under the policy."
"one way or the other legitimate rescue claims of this type will be honoured, whether it be through the BMC supporting a policy holder with an appeal to the Financial Ombudsman or if it comes to it by the BMC covering the claim cost itself."
I'm not too keen on my membership money being spent on paying EXACTLY the sort of costs that "our" insurance is supposed to be covering.
Time for BMC to look at another provider?
That's a bit unfair. He has said the claimant will be paid, one way or the other. Unless that is a blatant lie, I would say that is a satisfactory outcome in this instance and about all he can do.
I agree with this. It will be interesting to know what those who objected to this being publicised have to say now.
Imagine if the claim was 10 times higher etc would BMC still be saying they'd pay whatever I wonder?
I'd rather they (had) asked more questions about the Gryll's claim as detailed in Andy Kirkpatrick's blog.
"If this is resolved it is only because a mate of the claimant has posted it on the internet, otherwise it appears the BMC policy would have been a complete waste of money."
I'm not suggesting BMC should back up claims the insurance company refuses. There definitely seems to be a difference of opinion regarding what the insurance company thought they were insuring and what the BMC / climbers thought there were getting and that should have been spotted by the BMC (and the people taking the insurance out, but I suspect most of us took it out in good faith and didn't question every clause.)
Yes I read about the Gryll's claim, the guy is a joke!
The BMC seems to share the views of most people here on what the insurance should be providing and what people should reasonably expect from it. The question now is whether this case depends on the particular circumstances (and here the claimants don't appear to have helped themselves) or whether there is a more fundamental gap between the policy BMC thought they had negotiated with the underwriters and what they are actually providing. Until this is clarified the question remains whether the insurance is fit for purpose.
why the delay with the claim ?
I agree with that.
I wonder if it took the claimants so long to make the claim as the rescue services took some time to bill them.
You have no evidence for that. It might have been resolved perfectly satisfactorily if the claimant had contacted the BMC privately.
I think that Dave Turnbull's reply is very reasonable and reassuring. Obviously something has gone wrong (and the claimant might be at least partly to blame by leaving it so late to make their claim), but it may well be a very isolated incident (people havn't exactly been queueing up on here to report similar issues). The fact that Dave Turnbull, the man at the top of the BMC, is prepared to personally look into and sort out the problem (and post on here) is perhaps a very good advertisement for sticking with the BMC rather than an organisation that may have much less stake in and concern for its members.
The fact that Dave Turnbull, the man at the top of the BMC, is prepared to personally look into and sort out the problem (and post on here) is perhaps a very good advertisement for sticking with the BMC rather than an organisation that may have much less stake in and concern for its members.
That is a fair point, I doubt the AAC president would look in to similar claims due to thread on UKC. However, I also doubt very much this would have been followed up so thoroughly without it being highlighted on here.
Or possibly his HR minion posting for him!
*goes back under my bridge*
The AAC president wouldn't have to, his policy paid out.
Well, we just don't know. But I don't think there is any doubt that the reasonable thing would have been for the claimant to try to sort things out with the BMC sensibly (and then post on here afterwards either saying he was unhappy with the outcome or perhaps delighted with their positive and helpful response) rather than having his/her mate post so hysterically and confusingly on UKC that he/she had to later reluctantly come along and clarify things when the damage had already been done.
If only they had tried to sort things out "sensibly" by say, submitting a claim and waiting for the insurers response. Then they could have posted the details of the rejection letter and explained the circumstances of the incident that had required the rescue.
Oh, hang on a minute....
Not sure what "damage" has been done. The BMC insurance has failed to pay on a claim where the circumstances of the rescue (as confirmed by Dave Turnbull) fall within the criteria of what us ordinary BMC members would assume was convered.
You've really got it in for them! Why?
Are you a believer of the age old British commercial philosophy that "the customer is always wrong"? :-)
Don't you think they've suffered enough? Why add insult to (financial) injury?
So many speculative assumptions in that: that the claims are indentical, that in dfferent circumstances the situation wouldnt be reversed etc. Back in the real world, Dave did respond here and as a policy user and BMC volunteer I thank him for that.
From what Dave said it looks like the claiment might have been in trouble on any standard insurance policy, yet I hope the BMC ensures that what we expect in mountain fairness, rather than any small print incompetance in making the claim, takes priority. Ive not seen any disagreement from that being the reason why many mountaineers use the BMC for insurance
That's the most straightforward explanation - though perhaps as the reason hasn't been explained on this thread (so far as I can follow), then it wasn't clearly explained in the claim, either.
Certainly, on a claim we made (for medical treatment, not rescue), most bills came through immediately, but one on the x-ray bills didn't come filter through for a good few months - certainly after the main claim had been settled (promptly, with no quibbles, by the BMC ;-) ).
We'd moved house in that period - post was being forwarded in our case, but something like that could easily introduce quite a delay. Assuming of course the rescue service had full details in the first place, and didn't have to spend time tracking them down.
Dave T suggests that 'whilst the initial incident took place in July 2013, the claim and helicopter bill was not reported to our underwriters until March 2014 (i.e. 7-8 months after the claimant had received the bill)'.
So apparently not.
I just think, very reasonably, that they should have followed the blindingly obvious sensible procedure before dragging the BMC through the mud on here in public without even giving a clear explanation of the situation.
That's one to bear in mind. Next time I submit a legitimate claim, and receive a rejection letter, then the most important thing is to make sure any issues are resolved behind closed doors before I have the temerity to make public the fact that my seemingly straightforward claim has been rejected apparently due to some interpretation of some (opaque at best) clauses within the policy.
Possibly the insurers are using the policy "small print" to avoid paying what they consider a "dodgy" claim.
Right! I think the point is that the AAC can offer "free" insurance with membership because they have loads more members than the BMC. This means they have the economic power to delegate to insurance company professionals claims relating to a clearly worded minimalist policy (ie you are not covered for "thrill tourist" activities like bungee jumping which HAVE BEEN covered by the BMC's policies). With the best will in the world the BMC struggles with its insurance administration. Bear Grylls was not the first huge antarctic claim that the BMC has paid out on (rescuing ice yachters from the South pole without checking with ALE or the scientific base there was another).
In my own experience I led an expedition to Kyrgyzstan where two of the members had 2 different BMC policies (1 expedition, 1 alpine) and both had been assured by BMC staff that these were the right ones for the expedition. In the case of the expedition policy the person had been told that the alpine policy would not cover them whereas the alpine policy holder had been told they were covered. This left me in a difficult position in the field as both members had confirmed to me that they had insurance cover but there was nothing that could be done and in any case in such situations self-rescue is the most likely first resort. There is little in the way of infrastructure but it can be expensive when it is available. This is exactly when insurance can be most useful particularly for medical needs.
It's worth noting that 2 helicopter rescues with which I have been involved in the Italian Alps and Spanish Pyrenees in the past 5 years operated on the principle that if you were delivered to hospital rather than your campsite or car then there was no charge. I'm told that the same principle is also applied in France but not in Switzerland. I was not the victim of the accident on either occasion but when I self-rescued after a fall in the Pyrenees recently and presented at the local hospital for treatment there was no charge because I had my EHIC card. My point is that it is exactly for the kind of situation in which one is trapped but uninjured, although in danger of injury, that commercial insurance exists so there shouldn't be any dispute about a case like that with the BMC. We basically don't need their insurance for rescue when injured or medical treatment in the Dollies or elsewhere in the EU.
The BMC will argue that it is trying to get the best deal for its members but there is a potential conflict of interest in that commission is paid by the Insurance company to the BMC. Arguably the best deal for members is already available but provided by other organisations like the AAC or CAF.
Slightly off topic, but I'm a little confused and have heard a few different things from different people.
In France, do I need insurance to cover the costs of being airlifted out of the hills due to injury, or is rescue (helicopter etc) and transport to a hospital free?
I've heard several people say it's free and insurance is not necessary. And yet several other 'well regarded' climbers who often frequent Chamonix have insurance to cover rescue costs if needed.
Is this a great secret that insurance companies keep quiet about, that insurance isn't actually needed for this purpose in France? On my next trip to Chamonix would I be just as well off in the event of a rescue and ensuing costs with a £10 policy to cover lost baggage and cancelled flights, and not spend need to spend £60+ for BMC (or £35 or whatever it is for AAC)?
It does appear to free . But...a)I am not sure it is free everywhere. I think oddly not lower down, for example. b) you may not be picked up by a French helicopter in border areas. c) there may be other costs (e.g. rescue is free but the cost of the doctor dropped down to you isn't (hypothetically).
You'd probably also want insurance for
- medical costs (ie hospital treatment) that EHIC will reduce (to what a French national would pay) but not completely cover
- repatriation (eg you break your back, and need specialist transport back to UK)
Normal travel insurance may well not cover these costs if they're for injuries sustained whilst mountaineering, though you might be able to find something suitable if you hunt around.
Just make sure that you don't carelessly fall down the Italian side.
In France it is still a free public service in climbing situations. There were attempts to change this a few years ago but as climbing is so important commercially for some areas the resulting fuss prevented the change - which IIRC was to pass the responsibility to the local communes and give them the choice of charging or not.
So in Chamonix, for example, it is the CRS, oddly the same body that provides riot police, and you will not normally be charged. But, as said, if you need to be repatriated to Britain, that could be another kettle of fish. On the other hand just how well covered do you need to be?
PS. In ski areas the situation is different and they propose an insurance for a few euros extra when you buy the "forfait" for the lifts.
I'm under the belief that it's only free in the Chamonix valley???? But I may be totally wrong with this... Maybe someone who lives elsewhere/is involved in the PGHM can confirm this?
You have to be very careful in the Chamonix area as Swiss helicopter charge (I've got a bill for nearly 7000 CHFs for an hour of helicopter airtime....) If you are just over the border in Switzerland or it's easier for a Swiss chopper to pick you up then you have to pay for it! Regardless of where they take you to! This has happened to a few of our friends out here which is one of the reasons why most of us buy insurance.
Equally if you are here in winter, need rescuing and are accessible from a piste/lift station (eg bottom of the Argentiere glacier) then you have to pay the charges for any pisteurs that come out to find you, regardless of whether you get helicoptered off the mountain or not.
I do, in that when the prices went up I called them to say that I would rather get insurance through BMC but was being priced out. They told me that they didn't get that much anyway(!) and that they can't get a more specific policy as the numbers being insured were too small to justify it, so it is an adventure sport policy than mountaineering. Look at the other sports covered; surfing, dog sledding, marathon des sables, kayaking up to grade 5, scuba diving and tobogganing. The extra cost goes into insurance for those activities, not the BMC, so I use AAC for insurance.
This conversation was about 6 years ago, so things may have changed since then. I'd still rather use the BMC for insurance.
Thanks Emily! Worth knowing that, sounds a bit too risky to take a gamble...
Thanks for that honest answer. Maybe you could clear up the situation around why the charge was made for the rescue and what caused the claim to be made so late (delays to billing or whatever).
Dunno, there was a charge though. Maybe ask the Cortina MRT for their policy?
There is no claim form for non-injury rescues on BMC page, she called BMC in September to report the incident and ask what to do.
You may be interested in my reasons for the thread, if not please ignore the following! I posted the original as I'm still in touch with a uni mountaineering club who have all heard about the issue. I want the new members with less Alpine experience (they get Convilled to the max, but I still class them as mega vulnerable,) who are heading out to the Alps this summer to be assured that if they get in a sticky situation where they think it best to call MRT, to go ahead without worrying that the costs are not going to be covered by insurance. I could have emailed BMC direct but assume that third party involvement would not have had a response and I also wanted to warn others that there is a potential gap in their insurance cover. My own past experience is a side issue. It'd be nice if there was a cheaper mountaineering specific policy, but I don't see it happening, otherwise they would have done it.
She has been restricted from posting on this thread otherwise she would have posted more, her main gripe is the assumption that everyone thought she was male! She is more focused on speaking to BMC directly.
And the most appropriate way of doing this was a rant on UKC?
Sorry, that reply was directed at Offwidth, who seems a reasonable bloke. What would you have done? Anything? Told them to man up and never call an MRT?
Contacted the BMC and appealed the claim. If it had turned out that BMC insurance does not pay out in some situations when there is a reasonable case for a helicopter rescue and that their policy is misleading (ie that the appeal was unsuccessful) then contact the officials of the club asking that they make the new members aware of this before purchasing insurance. This might also have been the appropriate time to post something on UKC.
It's not my claim. Did you read/understand my post?
I know, so suggest your friend appeals and if they don't and you are so concerned, maybe clarify things with the BMC yourself before posting on here so inflammatorily.
So you would do nothing. I just differ in opinion on whether you can comment on an insurance policy without having to go through an appeal first. What you recommend sets a precedent that all insurance claims are turned down straight away and only people that appeal are paid. Do you want to appeal for every claim you make? Why?
No. That is clearly not what I said.
Comment possibly, but preferably having given the BMC a chance to clarify things first. Muddled incoherent rant no.
We clearly disagree on the appropriate way in which this should have been dealt with. I really have nothing more to add.
So now it is considered reasonable for a climbing insurance, sold by a climbing association to refuse to pay out on a climbing claim and the claimant should just "woman-up" and make an appeal and certainly not have the temerity to complain or highlight the issue to other climbers.
I am aghast. You genuinely seem to be placing the responsibility for the whole situation on the shoulders of the claimant - with no fault at the door of the BMC and the insurer.
It seems a perfectly legitimate claim, rejected in an extremely opaque manner by the insurance company.
It has certainly shaken my belief in the BMC being the insurance policy of choice - particularly if it now transpires it is a generic (and not particularly cheap) adventure sports policy.
That's highly unlikely, especially the latter :-)
In reply to RD:
It seems to be very effective, thanks to this thread future clients of BMC Insurance will have a better contract... hopefully those who signed the previous one will benefit too... It's called consumer power.
No. It was the manner in which it was done which I object to.
No. There may well be a genuine problem. Again, it only the manner in which the OP went about things that I object to.
And I contend that any problems (and there undoubtedly was one with the wording of the contract) could and should have been sorted out through more apporpriate channels. I do not like the precedent of this sort of thing being dealt with through a rant on UKC as a first resort. What if next time it was a completely invalid complaint? Is it fair to rant on here without first approaching the insurers?
I haven't read the full thread but would just like to say what excellent service I've had from Snowcard. I got an annual policy which covers all my skiing, climbing and ski mountaineering and was a better price than that offerred by BMC. When I broke my ankle in France this march and required surgery they were brilliant from start to finish and they've now paid up in full for some extra bits we claimed (e.g. my wife flying out to join me) whereas the remainder of our claims for the trip made through our NatWest Private Banking insurance which were sent at the same time have not yet even been acknowledged
What part of the refusal in the first post needed clarifying?
It was the reason for the claim that needed clarifying. The claimant eventually did so.
They wouldn't insure me for stuff over 6500m in the Andes. When I decided to go with them anyway and stay below that height I was surprised to find they cancelled the policy and send me an email telling me they wouldn't insure me.
That "manner" being as per the OP - a cut and paste of the mealy mouthed, vague and unclear reasons for the rejection taken from the insurance companies response, followed by a brief description of the incident, including the fact that the AAC paid out in the same incident, prefaced by "shame on the BMC".
That is far from a rant, and FWIW I agree with it. As I have repeatedly said, a climbers insurance promoted by a climbers association should not have to resort to an appeal to get a perfectly legitimate claim paid.
It would have been an entirely different matter if
A) The rejection letter had not been so opaque
B)The grounds had been specified - ie we don't believe you
C)Or even if as the BMC have expanded - there are some issues with this claim - delay etc that we need to investigate further.
There may well be a ggenuine problem. Again, it only the manner in which the OP went about things that I object to.
Because you see it as entirely reasonable that an insured person should just shut up about the fact that it now appears that we are likely to have to appeal in order to get payouts for legitimate claims. The whole point of BMC insurance is that it is supposed to be a bespoke insurance for exactly the activity we do and we shouldn't have to explain the ins and outs of a mountain rescue to get a pay out. It reflects badly on the BMC - and they need to ensure that this is addressed by their insurer.
Even if it had been resolved following an appeal - if I wanted a product that I was going to have to wrangle for every penny then there are plenty of others on the market.
If it is, then it is expected that the OP will get shot down by the BMC with a loss of face. I wouldn't have posted if I was not sure that I thought that it was a legitimate claim
Can you please then point to all the other rejected claims that prove that this was not an unfortunate isolated incident (either through the fault of the insurer or the claimant).
I don't now doubt that, but it really would have helped if you had given a clear account of the incident (as was eventually done by the claimant).
I've no idea - perhaps they followed your advice to shut the f. up and didn't press their claim, assuming as you appear to, that the BMC are infallible.
Don't misunderstand me - I would hope this is an isolated incident with extra complications that make it different to the claims I am aware of where BMC has paid out - however it's not my job to reassure those reading that this is the case, it's the job of the BMC.
And that is what they appear to be doing.
I would far rather these issues were raised and resolved in public.
That was not my advice and I don't think anyone is infallible (no idea what gave you any ideas to the contrary).
seems a bit of "non-answer" to the claim delay question - no wonder the insurers are suspicious !
I'm a little surprised you don't know details of the reasons for the charge and delay, as you seem genuinely concerned but these could be the key reasons why the insurer rejected the claim.
Your reasons for the original Post seem honourable but could be counter-productive. Firstly it's only polite to give the organisation a chance to sort things out properly before going public. Secondly such posts inevitably increase distrust of insurance in a situation where too many people take silly financial risks. It also increases distrust of the BMC policy when I suspect they would have dealt with this the same if it had been reported to them privately. Also the BMC income form insurance, although small, does help with their broader remit which includes the link with Conville and information for climbing in the Alps. I also worked with a Uni club and have lost good friends in the alps but in situations where rescue could not help: in the end climbers make a decision to climb and the need for self reliance is crucial and I strongly support Conville and the BMC and proper insurance backed by the likes of AAC, BMC etc.
On the female point do women climb high mountains? ;-) It can get worse : my wife Moff climbed Elbrus and did this on a Russian visa that officially said she was a man.
I think this has definitely been beneficial. I've learned quite a bit from it that hasn't been clear before. Number 1 is that there is still bucket loads of support for the BMC.
Other things for example; if climbing in the Ecrins, where the chance of rescue by any nation other than France is unlikely, is it neccessary to have insurance? Or just rely on a free helicopter and E111 (and hope that extras on top are not too bad and medical repatriation is not required.) Barre Des Ecrin normally needs a glacier approach so Alpine and Ski Policy would be required.
It's also flagged up that there is no claim form for non-injury rescues on the BMC website, or at least direction as to which claim form to use.
It has also made me think that most of the expedition stuff I've done has been self rescue in cheap countries, so I'd have to take a taxi to a hospital, so rescue cover may not be required, only medical...
It has raised valid questions about the wording of the policy, that you yourselves are not happy with.
It has also raised questions about the requirement for some of the other activities on the policy. 9,500 members of AAC(UK) would probably prefer some competition to AAC from BMC.
P.S. I disagree with your "Firstly it's only polite to give the organisation a chance to sort things out properly before going public," as you had already refused the claim.
Airing dirty laundry in public is only bad if you haven't got clean undies on. It seems to me that the BMC have an opportunity to show why UK climbers should be using their insurance instead of anyone else's, the question regularly comes up on these forums.
Thank you for your reply. I have read this thread with a mounting feeling of concern as I habitually use BMC insurance for all overseas climbing trips.
However, despite your post - for which sincere thanks - the next time I do so I will be checking the wording of the policy in some detail. If it still states that I need to be reported missing in order to make any claim valid - which is my concern and the concern of a number of others on this thread - then I will be looking for alternative providers.
I will also alert other friends of the situation. Luckily, as it looks like its going to be a nice summer (touches wood) then I think my climbing fix can be covered without leaving the UK:-) Hence I'll worry more about this come the autumn.
medium range weather forecast not looking great - longer range is make beleive anyway.
UK Outlook for Sunday 11 May 2014 to Tuesday 20 May 2014:
Once any early rain clears eastwards, there are going to be further showers on Sunday, especially in the north and west. More showers are likely in the north on Monday, whilst it should be drier further south, although there is a chance of some heavy rain later. Temperatures around or slightly below normal, however it will remain windy, making it feel cold at times. It is likely to continue unsettled through the rest of next week with outbreaks of rain, mainly in the west/northwest, but some sunnier interludes as well. Temperatures still around normal but feeling colder in the rain and strong winds. Towards the end of the period it may remain largely unsettled, but there are some signs that warmer and drier weather could edge into southern parts.
UK Outlook for Sunday 18 May 2014 to Sunday 1 Jun 2014:
In the absence of any strong signals for any particular weather type to dominate during this period, the most likely scenario is for conditions to be fairly typical for the time of year. As such, there are likely to be periods of fine and dry weather interspersed with occasional more unsettled spells with rain or showers. By day, temperatures are most likely to be near, or just above, average which at this time of year would leave conditions feeling warm in the sunshine when winds are light.
BMC have recommended raising it with the financial ombudsman and have drafted a letter to help. Good on them, we'll see what happens next.
Why are the insurers still turning the claim down ?
Seems a bit surprising that if the BMC think it's a "legit" claim under their own scheme, they can't just get the insurers to pay this one, or even pay themselves.
Hence they are trying to get the insurers to pay it!
I'd call that a moral victory for you and for the BMC. Good on them. Let us know whether you get financial victory, too!
Is that moral victory in the sense of total unequivocal loss?
The insurance won't pay up and not even the BMC can persuade them otherwise.
And I'm still not clear exactly why the claim was refused.
Sounds to me that they feel the obudsman will find the claim should have been paid - that decision would presumably set a precedent for future, similar claims being paid, whereas the BMC paying out directly at this stage would set an entirely different precedent.....
So the BMC has no direct control on BMC insurance? It's just a middle man selling a product and taking a commission? I wonder how many of their customers were aware of this when the signed up and paid up?.
Of course not. The BMC is not an insurance company.
And one, it seems, prepared to fight their member's corner.
So you confirm that this is not a BMC insurance at all, they are just acting as brokers?
There seems to be some confusion though as even Dave Turnbull speaking for the BMC refers to "our underwriters" which means he thinks the BMC is an insurance, like I suspect the majority of those who buy the insurance.
It's reassuring that you know better than the BMC themselves, except possibly for the poor victim who still hasn't been paid!
I think it's always been clear to me when buying BMC insurance that they have underwriters and, as I understand it, are therefore middlemen rather than an insurance company. Is insurance of any type ever bought directly from the underwriter?
That'll be fight in the sense of "We are unable to influence our insurer in any way. We suggest you complain to someone else"
But on every page about insurance of the BMC´s website there´s a logo and "provided by ace insurance". How could any normal person be confused?
I didn't say they would necessarily win every fight. Going to the ombudsman seems perfectly sensible and helpful advice in the circumstances.
The BMC are not insurance specialists - it would be rather odd if they were. Their role is to promoted the interests of climbers. This includes engaging with people who are insurance specialists to create a product geared to climbers' particular needs, and with an informed understanding of the activities and risks involved. In this they are no different from organisations such as the AA in offering car insurance or Saga offering insurance to the over-50s.
What this case has highlighted is some possible shortfalls between what the BMC and its customers expect from a tailored climbing policy and how the underwriters have interpreted it. If the ombudsman finds in the claimant's favour then hopefully this will be resolved. If not then the BMC will have to renegotiate the terms of the policy or find another underwriter.
Just spotted this OP and I can't make head nor tail with the various off topics but I would like to know if it has been resolved?
Did the BMC Insurance stick to their rejection of the claim?
Can’t see it myself – the BMC having to rely on an Ombudsman decision(which could take months ?) to try and determine the scope of cover of their own insurance ?
However there are some pointedly unanswered questions about the claim, so presumably circumstances not as clear cut as can be gleaned from OP’s posts.
No, it's a moral victory as in "you may not have got the dosh (yet) but you were in the right". If I understand you correctly, 'total unequivocal loss' by the underwriters would be an actual financial and moral victory. That is pending the Ombudman's decision.
Well, if the Ombudsman finds against the underwriters, then presumably they will have to.
No, but I imagine that the BMC's lawyers and the underwriter's lawyers are in disagreement, so it's been sent to a higher authority = the Ombudsman.
Well BMC's Dave Turnbull was apparently, he refered to their "underwiters", and only insurers have underwriters.
You´re struggling now Bruce!
Ah, but that's capitalism, Jon. Not in Bruce's purview, methinks.
I believe you are correct and would add that the commission is significant i.e. £162k the last time I looked at the BMC annual accounts and that is some years ago.
Members,( individual and club) need to be clear that the BMC is making a surplus from the insurance they offer us and of course use that is used for the valuable work they do on our behalf….
So how is it that Austrian AC UK can offer membership, rescue insurance and reciprocal hut rights (£40 extra from BMC) all included for £43.50 ??
There are different sorts of underwriters but concerning insurance they are people who cover the engagements made by insurance companies. A mere insurance agent, someone who sell other people's policies, would not be in contact with underwriters but with insurance companies - the point was made by Kipper a couple of weeks ago:
Kipper - on 30 Apr 2014
In reply to Webster:
There's been a lot of comments about underwriters on this thread (I just picked this one to reply to as it was the first I saw today, but it probably includes about 90% of replies).
Do we really think underwriters assess claims?
He is quite right, underwriters don't enter into contact with the customer who is insured, only with the companies, most people seem to confusing who is who and who does what in this sort of situation - even the BMC itself!
Thanks Bruce; it's a fine profession, and I was about to respond again in defence, but noticed that some paint was drying.
In 2012 I was down in Saas Grund for a great(ish) fortnight. Our car was broken into whilst we were up in a hut, and a number of things (inc cash) stolen. The thieves did dozens of cars in a single night. The BMC refused to pay a penny as we hadn't taken a safe. How many mountaineers carry a safe? I'll never use BMC insurance again and now use AAC.
Though the BMC arn't just middle men passing on data. While this is total pub anecdote, i have no reason to expect the person to be lying - A guy a met said he made a BMC insurance claim. It was denied for a ridiculous loop hole reason. He contacted that underwriters directly and they confirmed they would pay out accompanied with groveling BMC apology.
Apologies if I've missed some info in the 320 posts, but wondered if the best solution at present while the BMC try to 'improve' or change insurance providers is to have AAC insurance for the climbing/rescue aspect and a cheap holiday insurance to cover belongings??? The combined cost would still probably be similar to the BMC insurance or maybe cheaper anyway
AAC yearly - £43.50 (for my age!)
Go insurance yearly Europe cover with baggage etc - £25
AAC = Austrian Alpine Club?
Yes, they have a UK branch. With a whole bunch of interesting meets particularly interested if u speak German!
Ah ok; I actually live in Austria so my German is ok! But im ashamed to say ive only been an ÖAV (Österreicher Alpen Verein) member on and off. But i have a question, maybe someone knows the answer, if I join the ÖAV here in Austria would i also become an AAC member; or do the two clubs require separate membership?
Apologies for being off-topic!
OAV Sektion Britannia is AAC(UK), the name is just translated.
Add on a reciprocal rights card to the BMC too if you are planning on using conti huts. I usually get travel cover cheaper than that; it usually works out cheaper than BMC for a short period, but lasts a year.
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