With insurance cancelled, senior stranded in Germany faces $100,000 medical bill

by Leo Almazora05 Jan 2018
An 84-year-old Canadian man who was injured in Germany has been admitted to intensive care there — and is still unable to come home as his medical expenses mount.

In December, Ali Davari from Toronto fell at a railway station in Cologne, causing him to sustain a head injury that required two surgeries. According to Global News, he was admitted to an intensive care unit in Frankfurt, but was unable to return home because his travel health policy was cancelled.

“The travel insurance … is denying any assistance after they found out about the airlift cost,” said Kevin, Davari’s son, referring to a medical evacuation back to Canada.

Before Davari departed for Germany, his daughter bough out-of-country medical coverage for him from RBC Insurance; she had to answer a medical questionnaire on his behalf. Following the incident, RBC Insurance cancelled the policy and refused to pay any medical costs, including hospital expenses and a medical evacuation, because it did not consider his application for medical coverage completely accurate.

Typically, insurance providers prefer to get sick or injured clients back to Canada because the public healthcare system’s coverage of medical expenses would justify the costs of transportation.

RBC Insurance declined to discuss details of the case publicly, citing privacy rules. “[W]e fully investigate all claims and make decisions consistently and fairly,” said Greg Skinner, corporate communications director with RBC Insurance. “The vast majority of our clients complete the questionnaire correctly, receive the coverage they need and pay the correct premiums for their coverage.”

The family has been able to arrange a medical evacuation back to Canada, which would cost up to $100,000. However, no Toronto-area hospital is able to accommodate Davari, despite repeated requests by the family and the hospital in Germany.

“‘We don’t have a bed,’ nothing is available, the postal code doesn’t match where he lives, the list goes on and on,” Kevin Davari told Global News.

No medical evacuation company will transport the elder Davari unless they’re sure he has a hospital bed waiting for him in Ontario. That has forced him to remain confined in Germany, where his hospital bills continue to pile up.

A request for assistance has been submitted to the office of Ontario’s health minister, Dr. Eric Hoskins.

“Secure one bed for him to be here, it doesn’t matter where. Please, this is all I can ask,” Davari’s son said.

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  • by bruce 2018-01-05 12:00:06 PM

    this article is written as if this is RBC's fault, "they won't expatriate him once they found out the cost of the air transport".
    that of course is total nonsense, and shame on you for printing this comment attributed to the family member. the daughter accessed the travel insurance, that is the problem in all likelihood. this is her fault for not being completely honest, or for taking shortcuts and not completing the app properly, fully, accurately, with input from her father.
    this is the way travel insurance works, you need to be complete and honest up front. just because you have a policy in your hand does not mean you'll be covered. when are Canadian seniors going to get this.
    this story is unfortunate, but totally the doing of the family. I wish them well.

  • by Dave Patriarche 2018-01-05 2:25:37 PM

    I do not sell individual products and am in no way a travel expert. That said, there seems to be one possible error here that I think could cause the policy to be void before there was any mention of a claim.

    The article states... " Before Davari departed for Germany, his daughter bought out-of-country medical coverage for him from RBC Insurance; she had to answer a medical questionnaire on his behalf."

    Short of her being a translator for her father, or reading and recording the exact answers, one person should not be buying a policy on another (that is medically underwritten) without that person fully answering all of the questions. I also wonder who signed the application stating the (above?) facts were true...She or her father?

    Insurers pay claims well in a great majority of cases, but in this case, we really need to understand more of the details on the application, if there was a broker involved, who applied for the coverage, answered the questions and signed the application before any article should have been written or commented on.

    Failing to have all the facts makes for a great story, but not necessarily a fair or truthful one.

  • by Don 2018-01-05 2:51:53 PM

    Bruce, a bit hasty in your posting unless, you are party to the facts, have read the application and understand completely
    RBC coverage and exclusions. Applicant completer may have lied, may not have we don't know. The problem with health
    travel insurance is that the underwriting of the risk is done after the incident for which the claim is being made, not at application
    time. Sure there is certain facts which are only going to come to light after the event but these carriers in my opinion or at least
    over zealous employees trying to keep their claim counts and quantums down are part of the problem. Barring outright fraud
    an individual should be able to buy a policy and then go on their trip and count on the coverage being there. Or is the issue there
    that the product structure is so overly complicated that the consumer is going to fail to complete the app correctly or is the pricing
    level so suppressed that the only way an insurer can make money on the account is to cram so many exclusions and conditions
    into the policy?