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How international health insurance saved a South American adventure

Picture the scene: you are on horseback, riding along narrow trails through lush, verdant greenery. Majestic hills rise in the distance, behind a shimmering heat haze. The air is filled with the exotic fragrance of flowers that you’ve never encountered before.

How international health insurance saved a South American adventure
Minutes from disaster: Silvana on her horse, near Itacare in Brazil, shortly before her accident. Photo: Supplied

You feel transported, and you are: this is the trip of a lifetime.

That’s when it happens. Making its way around a tight corner, your horse slips and crashes to the ground with your leg trapped underneath. You feel a sickening crack and your foot feels like it’s on fire.

It can only take a split-second for things to go wrong when you’re travelling. When it does, the consequences can be severe and life-changing.

The number one risk 

When you travel overseas, depending on the destination, you can dramatically increase your risk of illness or injury.

While statistics on the leading causes of travel accidents vary depending on the nationality of travelers, we can draw some conclusions from leading US experts.

For example, the CDC identified road accidents as the leading non-violent cause of death of US citizens overseas between 2015 and 2016, with drowning also a leading cause. The prestigious John Hopkins University also states that the risk of injury for travelers overseas greatly increases the moment they take control of a means of transport.

Considering the number of travellers who use vehicles, such as cars or mopeds, or ride horses on their holidays, it’s no surprise many place themselves in danger of serious injury or worse.

It only takes a moment for paradise to turn into a problem – see how ASN’s international health insurance can save the day when disaster strikes

Silvana’s story

Silvana Beer, an executive from Switzerland, knows this only too well. It was she who, while recently on holiday near Itacare on Brazil’s beautiful Costa del Cacao, was horse-riding when her mount slipped and her foot was crushed by the falling horse.

She tells us: “I was travelling with a friend in Brazil and we had spent an amazing month there. We were on a horse riding trek and it was magic. I liked the pace of it, and enjoyed watching the scenery.

“However I’m not a very experienced rider – I only go on horse-riding trips when I’m abroad. I didn’t really have the horse under control and it slipped, as the ground was very wet. Suddenly, my foot was under the horse and, as it turns out, horses are pretty heavy!

“I knew immediately that my foot was broken, but I still decided to get back on the horse and go back to our accommodation. When I got back, I made the mistake of taking off my shoe – it’s better to keep injuries like this compressed, so they don’t become inflamed.”

When Silvana eventually made it to the local hospital she had a small shock as she realised that they didn’t have a functioning X-ray machine. “That was the first time where I thought with more than a little fear, ‘Okay, where am I? What should I do?’

Brazil’s healthcare can vary hugely with hospitals and clinics in more rural areas often lacking the kind of equipment and resources that would be commonplace in bigger cities, or other parts of the world.

Eventually we found a private clinic where I was able to have an X-ray done. But there was no doctor on duty to assess it, so we took the X-ray to try and find another doctor to look at it.”

Silvana visited multiple orthopaedic clinics, and finally ended up at a public hospital where she had to wait hours before being seen by a doctor who could evaluate her X-ray.

“The doctor confirmed my initial fears that my foot was broken. He then was fairly blunt in his further recommendation: ‘Can you fly home? If so, don’t stay here. Just go.”

Healthcare across the world can vary wildly. Should the worst happen, ensure you have the very best treatment possible with ASN’s international health insurance policies

Silvana Beer shortly before flying home. Photos: Supplied

“If a doctor recommends you to go to another country for medical reasons, you do what they say, and so I left. I was very, very lucky to have help from my friends. Because if I was alone, I don’t know how I would have managed the situation and I’m very grateful that it was just my foot – it could have been much worse.”

Thankfully Silvana had an international health insurance policy with ASN, that covered accidents.

“Once I got through to ASN, they dealt with it in a very professional manner,” says Silvana. “They booked me a ticket back home in business class so I was comfortable and they also organised transport at each airport and provided a wheelchair for me, all covered by my policy.”

Comprehensive cover that you can rely on

If you’re considering an adventure such as Silvana’s, it’s important to consider what might happen if you suddenly injure yourself. Disparities in the kind of healthcare available in various regions could result in injuries being made more severe, or taking longer to heal, therefore slowing you down and having significant consequences.

As Silvana states, “I would really recommend having an international health insurance provider that offers accident insurance. It definitely makes sense if you’re travelling overseas for a few months.

“Having grown up in a country like Switzerland with a very high quality standard of medical facilities, you might prefer being treated in a private hospital rather than in a public one when you get sick or injured in a foreign country. Another benefit of having an international health insurance policy with an insurance broker such as ASN is that you can focus on the healing process and don’t need to deal with the claims handling yourself.”

As an international health insurance broker of more than 26 years, ASN has comprehensive packages for those who wish to explore the world, whether it’s part of a prolonged trip abroad, a relocation or otherwise.

They offer a free choice of doctors and specialists, with their own recommended network of healthcare providers to help get you back on your feet. The hotlines of these providers are open 24/7 and are available in a number of languages, and wherever you are, there’ll be support and assistance available when you need it.

Only a few weeks after her horse riding accident, Silvana is back in South America, this time in Colombia, continuing her adventure. She credits the rapid response of ASN’s insurance partner to her injury for being able to continue doing what she loves – exploring the world!

She concludes: “After seven weeks back in Switzerland and very intensive physiotherapy, I’m doing a lot better. Now I am travelling again – and this time I’m being more aware of the risks!”

Ensure that you are quickly back on your feet, should you experience an accident abroad. Learn more about ASN’s comprehensive range of international health insurance packages

Take our interactive quiz to find out what kind of traveler you are!

TRAVEL NEWS

New flight adds to travel options between Denmark and northern England

A new flight route between Humberside in the north of England and Esbjerg in south west Denmark has been introduced by Eastern Airways in a move that is hoped will link renewable industries and make travel between the two regions easier.

New flight adds to travel options between Denmark and northern England

The new flight route opened on December 14th and operates three times a week on Monday, Wednesday and Friday.

The aim is to link the two key offshore wind hubs in the UK and Denmark, making it easier for engineers, technicians and other workers to travel quickly and directly between the Humberside and Esbjerg. The most direct existing route between the two regions up to now has been the Ryanair service between Manchester and Billund airports.

Renewable energy business between the two regions has been growing, with companies such as Ørsted and Siemens Gamesa investing in both. Siemens Gamesa, for example, manufactures blades in Hull and exports them to Denmark. 

“The Humber and Esbjerg have had a close relationship for a long time. The city was founded in 1868 and in 1875 Danish shipping company DFDS opened the first UK shipping route from the port,” Jesper Frost Rasmussen, the Mayor of Esbjerg said in a speech after the inaugural flight in December. 

“It still operates daily for freight services to the Humber region at the Port of Immingham,” he said.

“The North Sea is the lifeline between the two and will continue to be for years to come. Primarily it has been the waves that brought us closer together, now we share the wind,” he added. 

Roger Hage, Eastern Airway’s commercial director, told Business Live: “It is another step in trying to develop connectivity between the Humber and key European regions, we’re trying to aid employment and the commercial prosperity of the estuary as a whole.”

Can tourists use the flight?

The Local reporter Emma Firth used the flight on the 28th December and was one of nine passengers on board. 

“Both airports are so small that it meant check-in and security took less than 30 minutes and we set off ten minutes after boarding the plane,” she said.

“My flight was at 9:45am UK time and I was out of Esbjerg airport by 1230 Danish time.

“Be prepared that it is a small propeller plane so you can feel turbulence more. The flight was extremely quiet so I’m not sure how it would work if I took my three small children with me as you would very much know about it, as a fellow passenger. But in terms of a quick, efficient and friendly service, I would highly recommend. Complimentary hot towels, drinks and snacks are included on the flight, which was a novelty,” she said.

Inside the aeroplane from Humberside to Esbjerg

Inside the BAe J41. The new flight from Humberside to Esbjerg has 29 Seats. Photo: Emma Firth

The plane is a BAe (British Aerospace) Jetstream 41 (J41). It has 29 seats and the flight time is 1 hour 50 minutes. 

As Humberside and Esbjerg are both regional airports, you do not need a lot of time to check in. Humberside Airport told The Local that arriving one hour before your flight time is fine. Check-in opens two hours before departure and closes 30 minutes before departure at both airports.

The route is intended to support tourism as much as business, Humberside Airport said. Esbjerg is Denmark’s fifth largest city, with easy access to Legoland Billund and rail connections to Copenhagen. Humberside airport has links to Yorkshire cities such as Hull, York, Leeds and Sheffield.

Humberside Airport told The Local that more routes to Denmark could be added, or other routes into Esbjerg offered, depending how this service develops. 

Scandinavian Airlines launched a service between Humberside and Copenhagen in late 2013, but it was pulled the following April due to lower than anticipated demand. 

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