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I want to share some major issues my wife and I had these past few days with Global Rescue. For what it’s worth, I shared my dissatisfaction with their rep in the final phone call on Monday and his only comment was to ask if he could mark our case closed.

We’re done with using Global Rescue, ever. The story below is kind of long, and I’m sorry for that. But it’s worth knowing how our situation evolved, in case anyone encounters the same.

We were in Namibia and on the evening of day 1 of my leopard hunt. While in camp my wife fell and broke her upper arm. With our PH providing indispensible help we drove the 3 hours into Windhoek that night, and I contacted Global Rescue (GR) on the way in, as soon as I had reception. They recommended the same hospital that the property owner had, and we arrived and had x-rays and a doctor eval done in short order.

The doctor said it was a spiral fracture, the humerus was displaced, and she would need plate and screw surgery within 5 days to avoid permanent damage, especially to the large nerve in the upper arm. 7 days at the outside, but 5 was highly preferable. We determined to fly her back to Texas for treatment, and I started a series of conversations with GR, with whom we have had coverage for quite a few years. We started going to Africa 20 years ago, by the way, and haven’t missed many years in that time, so we weren’t unaware of the risks. That why we buy insurance.

The accident occurred on September 17, and the 5-7 day clock was ticking as far as I was concerned. GR suggested we have the surgery done in Namibia, then fly back on Emirates business class on October 7th as originally scheduled. My thoughts were (1) surgical competency unknown; (2) technology/equipment was likely less than at home; (3) if complications from surgery arise, what then? In any event, it was my call to make and I did so. Said we wanted transport back to the States ASAP. GR then said a return flight from Jo’Burg was available on the 24th. That would put us in Dallas on the 25th, and we would then still need to get in to see an orthopod and get any needed surgery scheduled. Not the best choice given the ticking clock, and I asked how we would get to Jo’Burg anyway. Answer was Air Namibia. I said no. GR suggested two alternatives – fly direct from Windhoek to Dallas or ground transport from Windhoek to Jo’Burg. For those that know Africa, there are NO such commercial flights direct to Dallas, and ground transport would likely take 3 days over very rough roads. Again I said no.

Finally they agreed that a Qatar flight was leaving the next day (by now it was the 20th) and we could put her on that one, though I would have to pay for my ticket. Ouch, but OK if needed. However, she needed an abdominal shot prior to boarding and again enroute (it’s 34 hours). So I got the doctor to agree that I could serve as the medical escort. It was a very tense conversation between the doctor and the GR rep, who tried every way to get the doctor to say that either she could travel alone, or just needed a nurse as far as Doha. The doctor was adamant and finally got tired or arguing with GR and gave me back the phone. The GR rep said they would arrange two tickets in business class but I would have to pay for mine. While on the phone and while I was questioning this, he suddenly said his supervisor agreed they would pay for mine too.

The flights worked as planned, and I got her into see the surgeon on day 4 after the accident – thank goodness! The orthopod with the UT medical system in San Antonio has her in a brace to avoid surgery, which surgery was "an automatic" if we stayed in Namibia as GR wanted.

I should add that at the Windhoek airport, the Qatar rep said that GR had not furnished to them the needed documents, and that they knew better than that. I did have the doctor’s “fit to fly” letter and thought that was enough. Not so, and I got the GR rep on the phone but that went nowhere. The Qatar rep got their medical personnel on the phone, described the situation, relayed a bunch of questions between me and their team in Doha - Pale? Alert? Able to stand? Pain level? Medications?. After a very tense 20 minutes we were given the OK by Qatar for her to fly. Again, GR was no help in clearing that very significant obstacle.

That was just one more example of the GR team I dealt with (1) not knowing what in the world they were doing, and (2) not putting the medical needs of the customer first. Their ideas were: do the surgery there, so there’s no cost to GR; it’s OK that the physician’s recommended time period could expire before they could arrange a flight back; it was ok for her to fly back by herself until the physician absolutely and adamantly insisted that that trip wasn’t safe for her to do alone. Shouldn’t erring on the side of caution be an initiative of the travel rescue firm??!!

I also have to add that our PH got on the phone with the head of PHASA, who contacted someone fairly high up in GR, and I then called that GR person to ask for some common sense and some help. I suspect he came through, via the supervisor finally saying they would cover my ticket as well. I am very grateful to Christo Van Deventer, our PH, and to PHASA's head for putting their weight behind my problem.
 
Posts: 645 | Location: Kerrville, TX | Registered: 24 May 2002Reply With Quote
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Good call wanting to get the hell out of there. While Lady Pohamba is a relatively good hospital, it's still third world care.

In regards to the hassles with Global Rescue, that's a first. Sounds like their service is slipping quite a bit. Hope your wife is doing much better and glad she didn't need surgery.

One of the folks with GR posts here from time to time. Maybe he can shed some light on what happened from their end....


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Posts: 20845 | Location: Occupying Little Minds Rent Free | Registered: 04 October 2012Reply With Quote
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Thanks for the information.

How's your wife doing?


Frank



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- Robert Ruark, Horn of the Hunter, 1953

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Posts: 11768 | Location: Bakersfield CA. USA | Registered: 30 December 2002Reply With Quote
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I have been a member of GR for many years, and hope to never use their services.

But, this does not sound very good.

They post on AR, and I have sent a link to them to this thread.

Sounds like the rep you were dealing with was trying to nickel and dime your case, and not clearing the medical issue with the airline is not very good.

The management needs to get that rip on the ball, or show him the door!


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Posts: 51694 | Location: Dubai, UAE | Registered: 08 January 1998Reply With Quote
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Thanks for asking. That long trip to Doha, 8 hour layover, and 15 hours to Dallas with screaming children was a butt kicker. Qatar is a pretty great trip, though. Now, however, she is comfortable and hoping the brace is the solution to avoiding surgery. We'll definitely be back to Africa, though !
 
Posts: 645 | Location: Kerrville, TX | Registered: 24 May 2002Reply With Quote
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HT

Sorry to hear about your stressful goat rope with GR. I had a very negative experience with them early on. When I asked the hard questions about what they really could do if I was IN mess in Cameroon on my scheduled safari they had no plan on the books and gave me some very vague generalities. They said they'd get back to me. Nothing from them. I wrote it up here and they offered me a free year. No thanks. I think their perceived ability is far beyond what they really can do.

Mark


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Posts: 11636 | Location: LAS VEGAS, NV USA | Registered: 04 August 2002Reply With Quote
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Sorry to hear this. I hope your wife is going to be okay.

I did have to call them some years ago when both sons got sick in Argentina. My experience was the polar opposite from yours.

Good luck!
 
Posts: 10403 | Location: Orlando, FL | Registered: 26 January 2006Reply With Quote
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I too have seen Global Rescue in action and they have performed as advertised. Maybe things have changed with them, but I haven't seen any reason to choose an alternative because I really don't see a viable alternative... yet...


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Posts: 20845 | Location: Occupying Little Minds Rent Free | Registered: 04 October 2012Reply With Quote
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Thank you for posting and I am glad it all worked out for you and your poor wife.

I stopped using Medjet because of a friend’s similar experience. I am a Global Rescue member and was about to renew for my trip next year. I hope they see this thread and offer some type of explanation and reassurance.


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Posts: 3309 | Location: Wyoming | Registered: 25 February 2005Reply With Quote
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Like many here, I have been a GR member for many years and fortunate enough to have never needed to use them.

Hopefully they will offer an acceptable response, otherwise I may to consider the competition that is constantly marketing to me...


"At least once every human being should have to run for his life - to teach him that milk does not come from the supermarket, that safety does not come from policemen, and that news is not something that happens to other people." - Robert Heinlein
 
Posts: 535 | Location: Akron, OH | Registered: 07 March 2006Reply With Quote
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Like many posters here, I have been a Global Rescue member for a number of year and hate to see this. Fortunately I haven't had to use them and all of the reports I have heard up until now have been positive. Ripcord is the other option but after the way they handled the Hunt Report fiasco after taking it over doesn't give me a lot of faith in them either. Agree it would be appreciated if GR gave a response to this incident...


On the plains of hesitation lie the bleached bones of ten thousand, who on the dawn of victory lay down their weary heads resting, and there resting, died.

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Or walk with Kings - nor lose the common touch...
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And - which is more - you'll be a Man, my son!
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Posts: 6900 | Location: Victoria, Texas | Registered: 30 March 2003Reply With Quote
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It's extremely disappointing to hear this.

I, too, am a GR member. In fact, I have a family membership, as both my wife and I are covered on all of our overseas trips. Fortunately, we have never had to use their services. Still, like others, I would like to hear a response from GR on this.

I'm glad everything worked out in the end for your wife.


Mike

An ounce of experience is worth a pound of theory.
 
Posts: 10778 | Location: New England | Registered: 06 June 2003Reply With Quote
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This is disappointing to hear. I'm not an annual Global Rescue member but I do sign up when I visit remote areas of the world. Hopefully a GR rep will post here and offer an explanation.
 
Posts: 187 | Registered: 04 February 2012Reply With Quote
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I'm curious as to what kind of protection or service you are purchasing when you sign up with Global Rescue (or any of its competitors). And what does it typically cost? What kind of in-country medical expenses is it supposed to cover, or does it just cover transportation back home?
 
Posts: 12553 | Location: Henly, TX, USA | Registered: 04 April 2001Reply With Quote
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It seems to me GR did their best to accommodate you, but none of their solutions were perceived acceptable by you.

Having an injured spouse is stressful but I cannot see where GR could have done things much differently.

Allowing you to take the place of a real medical staff is a leap IMO.

Either your wife needed to be accompanied by a medical professional or she didn’t.

Unless you are qualified as a medical professional then they really did you a huge favor paying your way back.

At any rate I am glad everything worked out.

BH63


Hunting buff is better than sex!
 
Posts: 2205 | Registered: 29 December 2015Reply With Quote
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Being approved to travel with her as a non-medical escort was the smaller of the issues. As to that one issue, she was not able to travel to Doha, navigate that 8 or 9 hour layover, and make the connection for the 15 hour flight to Dallas. Their solution was to have a nurse go as far as Doha with her, provide the injection, and then she would be on her own. Not acceptable.

The bigger issues were competence in arranging the evacuation within the medically-specified timeframe, willingness to place the client's medical condition at risk, and not furnishing the airline with their critical information. Certainly weren't any favors done there in arriving at the end result. We got there despite their roadblocks.
 
Posts: 645 | Location: Kerrville, TX | Registered: 24 May 2002Reply With Quote
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Well, the important thing is your wife got the treatment she needed and apparently is going to be alright.

Whom will you choose to provide medical travel insurance for your next safari?

Just curious.

BH63


Hunting buff is better than sex!
 
Posts: 2205 | Registered: 29 December 2015Reply With Quote
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I would like to see GR's response to this here on AR. I have signed up with them for many years-but never had to actually use them. It would be very important for them to address the issues here, as many of us pay for their services when hunting or traveling far from home.
 
Posts: 14940 | Registered: 04 April 2005Reply With Quote
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Have heard nothing further than the “may I close your file” reply to my comment on being unhappy with their handling of the situation.
 
Posts: 645 | Location: Kerrville, TX | Registered: 24 May 2002Reply With Quote
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This thread is exactly why I don't buy trip/travel insurance. I did it once 15 years ago for a vacation to Greece. The carrier canceled the trip and Travel Guard found eveyr possible excuse not to pay. (In the end I was reimbursed for my loss by the travel agent who screwed up). TG has a wonderful pitch but they don't tell you is 32 pages (yes 32!) of exclusions.

For the amount of trips I have taken, both to hunt and vacation in Africa and elsewhere, the cost of the insurance would by far be more expensive than any 1-2-3 trips.

So, I plan in advance, know the policies of the folks I'm hunting with, know my personal medical insurance and what is covered, and feel very confident I will be taken care of.

Also, it is disturbing to me the travel agents and booking agents get a kickback if you agree to their pitch to buy insurance.

Cal


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Posts: 6237 | Location: Willow, Alaska | Registered: 29 June 2009Reply With Quote
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I maintain a annual GR contract more because of extensive business travel than anything else. Closest I ever came to needing it was when I was nearly wiped out by a bicycle in Paris...

Like Cal - I find it annoying that booking and travel agents all push these insurance services - do they think we are stupid? No different than user car dealers and their extended warranty scams...

I hope this is an isolated incident - Ripcord seems too opportunistic for me...


"At least once every human being should have to run for his life - to teach him that milk does not come from the supermarket, that safety does not come from policemen, and that news is not something that happens to other people." - Robert Heinlein
 
Posts: 535 | Location: Akron, OH | Registered: 07 March 2006Reply With Quote
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Glad your wife is OK.
Couldn't X-rays be shared with other doctors to get a second opinion on the need for an operation, prior to travelling?

I'm not familiar with Air Namibia, but it is that bad to decline the route through JNB?
 
Posts: 91 | Registered: 08 October 2011Reply With Quote
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The x-ray was taken right away at Lady Pohamba when we checked her into their emergency room. I offered to send those to my wife's doctor in Texas and was told they couldn't be accepted for liability purposes. I get it. Up to that point the doctors don't want to be recommending any treatment or lack of it without first hand knowledge of the extent of the injuries. X-rays arriving from Africa may or may not be the correct ones, as far as they can tell. The family doctor was really just asked to serve as a referral source to a local (Texas) orthopedic specialist. And that specialist's office took their own x-rays.

In any case, all three doctors in Namibia who looked the x-rays agreed that quick action toward surgery was needed, and that communication was made to GR. What followed from GR indicated their lack of ready preparedness and lack of putting the client's health ahead of other considerations. We got through it, but the process should not have been that difficult, tedious, or inconsistent.

Still have not heard anything from GR, by the way.
 
Posts: 645 | Location: Kerrville, TX | Registered: 24 May 2002Reply With Quote
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When I look at it from GR's perspective: They hear from 3 separate doctors that quick surgery is needed, it isn't surprising they would push for surgery in Namibia at that point. They have to go by what is recommended to them by professionals, not necessarily what a concerned relative wants.
What if something bad had happened to your wife on the flight? Then she flew with her husband instead of a nurse, against the advice of three doctors who had recommended surgery in Namibia. That wouldn't reflect well on GR in a court case, would it?
 
Posts: 91 | Registered: 08 October 2011Reply With Quote
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The takeaway here is:

    1. It's always best to get home before having non-life threatening surgery. The US still has the best emergency medical and surgery services in the world.
    2. In the final analysis GR did it's job - They attempted to get proper medical care in-country and when that wasn't acceptable made the arrangements to get everyone home. One can debate on their overall response but at the end of the day, they did what they advertise.
    3. Emergency evac insurance is still worth getting before traveling overseas.
    4. Everyone who reads this report better understands that you may need to be direct and assertive to get the desired outcome.

H T I hope your wife continues to recover.


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Posts: 20845 | Location: Occupying Little Minds Rent Free | Registered: 04 October 2012Reply With Quote
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quote:
Originally posted by MARK H. YOUNG:
HT

I think their perceived ability is far beyond what they really can do.

Mark


This is 100% correct. If you are an a remote area you had better have a plan in place.
 
Posts: 2846 | Registered: 26 March 2008Reply With Quote
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I agree with Opus... travel insurance and medical evacuation insurance are two different things. Some of the places I travel really predicates Global Rescue or Ripcord. It may not be perfect or work the exact way you want it to, but if you're in BF or the rainforest of Cameroon you could be screwed without it if something unforeseen happens...

Medevac and others require you to get to the closet air strip. GR and Ripcord come and extract you from the particular predicament you find yourself in. Big difference!


On the plains of hesitation lie the bleached bones of ten thousand, who on the dawn of victory lay down their weary heads resting, and there resting, died.

If you can talk with crowds and keep your virtue,
Or walk with Kings - nor lose the common touch...
Yours is the Earth and everything that's in it,
And - which is more - you'll be a Man, my son!
- Rudyard Kipling

Life grows grim without senseless indulgence.
 
Posts: 6900 | Location: Victoria, Texas | Registered: 30 March 2003Reply With Quote
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quote:
Originally posted by Stonecreek:
I'm curious as to what kind of protection or service you are purchasing when you sign up with Global Rescue (or any of its competitors). And what does it typically cost? What kind of in-country medical expenses is it supposed to cover, or does it just cover transportation back home?

No one seems to have addressed this question. I'd really like to know as I might find such protection useful myself.
 
Posts: 12553 | Location: Henly, TX, USA | Registered: 04 April 2001Reply With Quote
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Service ranges from medical consult and emergency transport back to your hometown to security extraction services. Prices range from $329 per year for the typical travel program to $2,375 for folks working overseas in hot zones who might require security extraction.

Most overseas hunters who are looking for some "insurance" should something go south (injury or medical issue) select the basic travel plan. GR provides travel insurance as well.


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Posts: 20845 | Location: Occupying Little Minds Rent Free | Registered: 04 October 2012Reply With Quote
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The GR rep told me they were like Triple A - they get the car to the mechanic, but don't cover the repairs. In short they're responsible for transportation, but not any medical costs. Kind of helps explain why they pushed for surgery to be done in Africa and sticking to our original departure arrangements. Or the cheapest alternatives available, even if impractical (ground transport from Windhoek to Jo'Burg) or medically more risky (not flying out for 5 days, beyond the doctors' recommended timeframe).

Our cost was about $400 for the one year coverage.
 
Posts: 645 | Location: Kerrville, TX | Registered: 24 May 2002Reply With Quote
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quote:
Originally posted by Opus1:
Service ranges from medical consult and emergency transport back to your hometown to security extraction services. Prices range from $329 per year


quote:
Originally posted by H T:
The GR rep told me they were like Triple A - they get the car to the mechanic, but don't cover the repairs.


Thanks for that explanation. The cost might be punishing, but I can afford on my own to buy an emergency airplane ticket back home if necessary. It looks like I wouldn't see much benefit from GR insurance.
 
Posts: 12553 | Location: Henly, TX, USA | Registered: 04 April 2001Reply With Quote
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Yep, if you're fortunate to be "walking wounded" then all you have to pay is an airline change fee possibly. But if you're not, then emergency air ambulance services start in the $65,000 range and climb quickly.

Insurance of any sort is a complete waste of money until you need it. Then it can be the difference between a few bucks out of pocket and bankruptcy.


___________________

2020 - The Year of Being Offended.
अल्ल् ळीFए मत्तेर्स
 
Posts: 20845 | Location: Occupying Little Minds Rent Free | Registered: 04 October 2012Reply With Quote
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For what it's worth, the reason I have GR is for situations where I might not be able to fly home commercially because I'm too incapacitated. Air ambulance service can be considerably more costly than buying an emergency airline ticket. Checking online, transoceanic air ambulance service can cost $50,000-$150,000. Will I ever need it? I hope not. Probably not. But it's the kind of expense that I buy insurance for. And I hope it will pay up if I do need it.
 
Posts: 398 | Location: Oklahoma | Registered: 27 November 2010Reply With Quote
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quote:
Originally posted by H T:
The GR rep told me they were like Triple A - they get the car to the mechanic, but don't cover the repairs. In short they're responsible for transportation, but not any medical costs. Kind of helps explain why they pushed for surgery to be done in Africa and sticking to our original departure arrangements. Or the cheapest alternatives available, even if impractical (ground transport from Windhoek to Jo'Burg) or medically more risky (not flying out for 5 days, beyond the doctors' recommended timeframe).

Our cost was about $400 for the one year coverage.


I am not defending GR . I don't know all the details.

My wife is a surgeon. I have seen her reaction to people flying, especially long flights with injuries and/or recently completed surgeries. It is safe to say she gives anyone considering it holy hell. She is aware of a patient who boarded a plane the day after surgery and died from complications that would not have happened had they not gotten on the plane.

There MIGHT be more to this than being cheap. Just food for thought.
 
Posts: 10403 | Location: Orlando, FL | Registered: 26 January 2006Reply With Quote
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quote:
Originally posted by Opus1:
Yep, if you're fortunate to be "walking wounded" then all you have to pay is an airline change fee possibly. But if you're not, then emergency air ambulance services start in the $65,000 range and climb quickly.

Insurance of any sort is a complete waste of money until you need it. Then it can be the difference between a few bucks out of pocket and bankruptcy.


Perfectly stated.
 
Posts: 10403 | Location: Orlando, FL | Registered: 26 January 2006Reply With Quote
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Picture of H T
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I absolutely agree that you gotta have the insurance. That was never my issue. And I don't know who I will purchase from next time I go (next March), but I will have it, for sure.
 
Posts: 645 | Location: Kerrville, TX | Registered: 24 May 2002Reply With Quote
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quote:
Originally posted by H T:
I absolutely agree that you gotta have the insurance. That was never my issue. And I don't know who I will purchase from next time I go (next March), but I will have it, for sure.


I don't know if you all remember Don Causey, the former owner of the now defunct Hunting Report. He was in Africa and was injured in an incident as was his PH. I may be wrong but I believe he stated the final cost to get home was upwards of $100,000 and this was quite a few years ago.

Buy insurance. Don't end up bankrupt over a few hundred dollars of premiums.
 
Posts: 10403 | Location: Orlando, FL | Registered: 26 January 2006Reply With Quote
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quote:
Buy insurance. Don't end up bankrupt over a few hundred dollars of premiums.

Agree with Larry wholeheartedly. Whether it's Africa, Alaska, Mexico, Asia, Europe, etc., or even just the Western US, it's worth the money for sure!
 
Posts: 14940 | Registered: 04 April 2005Reply With Quote
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I, my wife, and her son are going to the Okavango Delta for a week of photo Safari before he heads home and we go elephant hunting in the Caprivi. The Botswana lodge folks REQUIRE evac insurance and want the details/ policy number when you deplane from the bush flight from Maun. No policy proof and you are back on the plane to Maun. I have used GR in the past and will again.
 
Posts: 8571 | Location: Georgia | Registered: 28 October 2006Reply With Quote
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I generally just tell the PH to leave me in the bush if something bad happens to me. Can’t think of a more suitable end to a life spent hunting and traveling the world.

BH63


Hunting buff is better than sex!
 
Posts: 2205 | Registered: 29 December 2015Reply With Quote
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