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Poor service with travel insurance claim

I'm sorry this is not as brief as I'd like.

Sorry to gripe here about Allianz Travel Insurance. I do not like to complain in public forums about companies with poor customer service. I prefer to try to work such things out with personal contact but this has gotten to be just too much. The pending travel insurance refund is several thousand dollars. The Allianz travel insurance was almost two thousand dollars.

My wife and I had to cancel a RS tour recently just days before departure due to my wife catching Covid. Her doctor prescribed an anti-viral Rx and told her to isolate at home past the planned departure date. She was hit quite hard with the infection. She finished the isolation period but then was hit with "rebound covid" and had to again isolate. She is still recovering after 3 weeks.

The RS tour would have been impossible. She could not possibly have participated. At least this happened before we departed rather than during the tour. Rick Steves Tours has been very helpful with all this -- thanks!

We have purchased travel insurance many times with Allianz Travel Insurance, totaling several thousand dollars over several years. This is the first claim we have had to file.

The filing process seems opaque and interminable. I filed all documentation online, as requested, including a letter from her doctor explaining the illness and isolation. I filed photos of her Covid test, her anti-viral prescription, the trip itinerary, etc. This was all per Allianz's website description of how to file.

What has disappointed me is the length of time it is taking to review and process the claim. The claim is quite clear and easy to understand but the claim website said that "due to high claim volume" reviews would take 7-10 business days. That limit passed a few days ago with no response from Allianz except for an email on business day 11 saying it would take longer still. Today their website shows that the claim has passed their review. But now it says it will take another 5 days to finalize. If completed, the review will have taken about 14 working days. But I don't yet know their final response to the claim.

I have tried to call to talk to a supervisor. All calls go to a foreign service department which by the agents' accents seems to be in India. The phone connections are horrible, with static so heavy that it is almost impossible to understand the agent or communicate. Eventually they were able to tell me that they're so busy that they cannot get a supervisor on the line. I have twice been disconnected after 10-15 minutes on calls. I have not received a call back or explanation.

I am deeply disappointed in Allianz's claims process. After 2-1/2 weeks I am still waiting for some reply or feedback. I simply do not understand why a simple clearly documented claim would take so long or why they cannot provide customer support to answer questions.

Posted by
2924 posts

Interesting because I have bought Allianz in the past, but have not filed a claim.
But let me get this straight: It has been 2 1/2 weeks since you filed your claim. You think that's too long for information? Or is it too long for the claim to be paid? Post covid, there have been reports of claims taking months, not weeks (see the search feature). Low staffing because companies cannot find people to hire; high overseas travel possibly leading to more insurance claims for multiple reasons, as their website says "due to high claim volume" is taking time. The claim has passed review. 2 1/2 weeks does not sound unreasonable. Be patient.

Posted by
5142 posts

Only 2 1/2 weeks on an insurance claim? You need to relax. Take a breath. Chill out. Phoning every day isn't going to accomplish anything. Since the onset of COVID, these delays are common with all the insurance companies, so it's not just Allianz.

Posted by
23472 posts

Have to agree. Your expectation for time is way too high (or maybe short). 7 to 10 business days is easily two weeks. So they are a couple of days late? For me, if they responded in 30 days, I would be happy. I just hope your claims is covered in the fine print. A lot of the covid claims have not been covered by other insurance companies.

Posted by
70 posts

My husband tested positive for Covid at the start of our Portugal tour earlier this year. We had Allianz insurance. Generally I was pleased with their service and coverage. It did take a bit longer than advertised but it was fully settled within 6-8 weeks. I did follow up with them as each timeframe passed just to be sure things were moving along.

Posted by
100 posts

This past January I needed to file a claim with Allianz. I recall that it was a bit over 3 weeks before the claim was approved and another few days before a check was issued. We would not hesitate to use Allianz in the future. It can be difficult to be patient when there are no ongoing claim processing progress reports.

Posted by
2507 posts

I recently reported my sister’s experience with another travel insurance company (Travel Guard). We were on the Alaska Inside Passage Cruise with her in early June when she was diagnosed with covid three days into the trip. She was confined to her cabin for the remainder of the trip. She filed a claim with Travel Guard with low expectations of any reimbursement since she still was on the cruise despite not being able to enjoy it. She filed the paperwork and documentation with Travel Guard and sometimes had to submit the same documentation at least twice. She heard just recently from the insurance that she will be reimbursed for the portion of the trip that she missed out on. This whole process has taken two months. It’s only been two weeks since you filed your claim. It sounds like things are progressing with your claim so maybe be a little more patient.

Posted by
13 posts

OK. Thanks for the feedback. I will take heed. The feedback is mostly valid re my impatience.

Note that I only made one call, not multiple days of calls. The call line was horrible; almost impossible to hear the agent due to heavy static. The call was dropped twice.

Allianz’s timeline now indicates the review is complete but with no indication of the recommendation. They have now added an additional five day “processing” period without explanation. I can be hopeful.

I’ll accept the critique that I’m being impatient. I will try to chill out.

I still would not run a service in this manner. More detail and outreach would be a start.

Again, thanks for your patience. A lesson for me I guess.

Posted by
2765 posts

Trust me... if your doctor sent in a claim to your normal health insurance the same day you sent in this claim... it's not paid. Take a deep breath and wait.

Posted by
2499 posts

I injured my knee on the RS tour of Southern England in April and had to leave the tour early.
I had purchased a Travel Guard policy as is my routine when traveling overseas.
I immediately called their 800 number for Medical Assistance team and they brought me home in 3 days. It was a 5 Star customer service experience with a team of professionals who answered the phone 24 hours a day. And called me when I indicated I would be available. They bought me a business class seat on Delta Airlines as the doctor said my foot had to be elevated.

The policy covered my traveling expenses coming home such as taxis, hotels, meals and phone calls. I waited until my credit card statements came in and I finally submitted my claim for reimbursement mid-July. I just received 2 checks from them and am waiting for the third one to come in the mail. It was a piecemail process. RS sent a letter detailing the amounts for my 7 missed trip days.
I can relate to your impatience because there is no communication from TG other than a link showing documents received or needed status. I called 3 or 4 times and was never able to speak to the claims adjuster.

Overall, I’m pleased to be reimbursed and made whole which is what insurance is designed to do.
The getting me home part is why I buy this insurance, I don’t want my family to have to take charge. They would, of course, if I were unconscious or dead.
In any case, my knee is almost fully healed through physical therapy. I had a torn meniscus.
I’m almost ready for my next RS tour: My Way Alpine Europe! Off to stroll through Alpine meadows and listen to cow bells.

Posted by
3342 posts

In my entire insured adult life, I have NEVER had a claim paid or rejected within in 2 1/2 weeks. I would fault Allianz for saying that reviews will take 7-10 business day, but not otherwise.

Posted by
866 posts

It took three months with Chase Sapphire Trip Interruption. I’m sorry but it sounds like a lot of patience and perseverance is required in dealing with a lot of the companies. Hang in there, at least with Chase the game seemed to be, if they kept creating hoops to jump thru, we would eventually give up. We didn’t and our claim was finally paid.

Posted by
4604 posts

Allianz was mentioned in the WSJ today about dragging their feet on a claim. Lo and behold, as soon as the reporter called them the claim was approved, it's magic.

A side note, they addressed the matter of refundable plane tix vs. getting insurance, do your math but they said often the insurance is less on international trips.

Posted by
29 posts

Good Morning:

So sorry to hear that you are having issues with your insurance claim. I wanted to chime in regarding your comment about speaking to customer service reps on the phone:

All calls go to a foreign service department which by the agents' accents seems to be in India. The phone connections are horrible, with static so heavy that it is almost impossible to understand the agent or communicate.

Are you aware that, if you are speaking to a company that is based in the USA, you have the right to ask to speak to a customer service representative that is based in the USA? I have done this on numerous occasions when I could not understand the person I was speaking to on the phone. They MUST transfer you....no questions asked. This might help with a bit of your frustration in the future.

Best of luck on getting your claim paid.

Lori

Posted by
13 posts

Thank you all for your replies. I do understand your viewpoints.

First, I am happy to report that Allianz has approved my claim (in 13 days). Good for them. Sorry I was so impatient; that's a lesson for me. Allianz is "processing the payment". They don't provide a payment time estimate.

** I really do not mean to be argumentative here. Please bear with me briefly. **

I just tried to think about how a travel insurance business ** could ** be run.

Travel insurers, as reported in this forum, do exceptionally well with emergencies during travel, but not so much with travel cancellation claims. Many cite claims processing times of weeks to months. I think the insurers could easily improve their claims review and payment process. Other companies manage this well. For my travel cancellation --

  • British Airways refunded our tickets one day after my claim phone call. I had purchased fully refundable tickets. The refund went directly to my credit card.
  • The rental car company in France refunded my deposit five days after my email cancellation notice, also to my credit card.

In business I was taught to carefully choose performance metrics. The saying is "You get what you measure." For travel refunds I'd start with metrics of:
- Clear and regular communications. (I'll give Allianz an 8 out of 10 score here.)
- Clear timeline estimates. (Allianz gets an 8 out of 10 score. They missed the timeline for what happens after their review -- "processing" and payment. This info did not surface until after the review step.
- A well-functioning call center -- clear connections, call backs for dropped calls, supervisors available as needed. (I'd score Allianz a 1 out of 10 -- very poor connections (apparently overseas), dropped calls, no call backs, no supervisor available, etc.

Finally, as to the common "high call volume" excuse for slow service -- I think this is not unreasonable to correct. Airlines hire and train sufficient staff to run good call centers. Same with rental car companies. Travel insurance companies could do this also.

Thanks for bearing with me. I will plan to give Allianz constructive input to their claims process.

Posted by
4604 posts

Businesses exist to make money. For insurance companies, that means the bare minimum of service, always starting with no and sticking with that hoping the "customer" gives up, and slow payments to maximize the earning of interest. That's just how it is, and frankly it's a legalized racket. Anyone enjoy dealing with their health insurance provider?

Posted by
27447 posts

I see a big difference between a refund on a cancellable train ticket or hotel reservation (merely requesting one should be sufficient) and a payout on an insurance policy. The insurance company very reasonably wants to be sure your experience fits under its policy guidelines.

I do not dispute that some insurance companies may drag their feet in hopes the claimant will give up, and we saw some dreadful delays early in the COVID pandemic. But it's not reasonable to expect an instantaneous turnaround on a trip-insurance claim--though I guess it might be easier with a Cancel for Any Reason policy.

Posted by
64 posts

This is a very useful and interesting topic for my wife and myself. We just had to drop off a RS tour and have let Travelguard (Allianz) know about it and slightly started the claims process. Still in Europe. In April of this year, I had a heart issue and had to cancel two trips. I paid for the trips with my Chase Reserve card. My claim was filed on May 15. I have been told that they have everything that they need and the my claim is with the "claims" department. They have told me that papers I scanned and sent to them can't be read. So I made larger copies. Then they said they have not received sufficient evidence that I can't get our money back or have future credits. I have, on two occasions sent them e mails from the tour companies, still no response. The people that you talk to on the phone are only interested in getting off the phone and will tell you anything you want to hear to do so. They will contradict previous statements that others have made. I also think they call and hang up after the phone rings once or twice. They said that they will set up a three way call between themselves and the tour company and me. I hear nothing. They have not called the our company the tour company says and they have no reason to lie and are happy to help.

I am whining, but I am also trying to help those that are in this (at least with Card Benefit Services - who handle the Chase Reserve Card) quagmire. It sounds like Travelguard is better. I will persist with Chase. I have actually been given hope.

Posted by
866 posts

Bill, we went thru exactly same thing with Chase for a claim to reimburse for trip interruption. We finally started demanding that we talk to agents based in the US. Hearing roosters crowing in the background as you try and repeat the same information for the tenth time is a bit much. It took over 3 months to get the claim paid. I did, finally at wits end, file a complaint with The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) and suggest you do the same. Whether it sped up the process or not I can’t say for sure but the claim was approved shortly thereafter and paid.

Posted by
1 posts

I have had the same problem with my Allianz claim. While in Banff, Canada, on Sept 10, myhusband suddenly developed Ischemic Colitis; he had a 5% chance of surviving surgery and thena 20% chance to survive recovery. He did both. He was in ICU for 3 weeks. This was due to his exposure to agent orange (3 tours in Viet Nam) for which he is considered 100% disabled Veteran (& worked 31 years for the Navy) so they will pay the bills once I get statements of what has been paid from Allianz. Allianz did pay to have him medically evacuated home. We began the claims process. It took 3 weeks to get a claim number. It took a few months before some (up to the limit of our policy) of his medical bills were paid. I am still trying to get a written statement from them that they paid these . The medical bills I incurred, the reimbursement for the 2 days of the trip that we had to cancel, as well as some of the other expenses we both incurred that are covered by Allianz have yet to be paid. We got home Oct. 3rd, it is now almost Feb 1, 2024. I am still waiting. I have called and called. When I email, which is suggested by Allianz, I get a form email back that says to call them. I do. I get assurances that this will be looked into, and nothing.

What I find interesting is that they brag how most claims are paid in less then 2 weeks. I guess the word I should have paid attention to is 'most'. Meanwhile, I cannot submit his bills to the VA until I get the Allianz statements of what they covered and what they did not.
And I have a friend who has experienced a tough time with them to. What can I say?
Thanks for 'listening'

Posted by
7726 posts

I am a bit curious, if your airline tickets were refundable, and the rental agency refunded your deposit for the car, and I assume the RS org refunded the tour cost (or maybe they ended that policy), what does your claim entail? Not trying to pry, but I usually evaluate trip insurance for myself, usually pass, since I have little money risked (cancellable hotels, air tickets are not refundable, but I get a credit for the next trip, I maybe have a budget airfare or a train ticket at risk). Just trying to learn.

Posted by
33339 posts

Paul - you are looking at the OP, which was way back in August.

This new poster has hitchhiked on that post with theirs of a day ago which woke the thread up again, and the only thing in common with the OP is a claim taking a long time.

To the new poster, scottie dogs, - welcome to the Forums but please start your own thread. Otherwise the OP will get all the notifications and you won't get any, and like Paul they will respond to the original post and possibly not yours.

Posted by
866 posts

Just to help with Paul’s curiosity. Rick Steves only refunds $200 a day. $200 does not cover the full cost per day, only a portion and depending on how many days on tour before being booted and then times two if it’s a couple, could amount to a couple thousand dollars.