Almost two years since it was acquired by Charles Taylor, Jonathan Swift spoke to Cega's CEO Alistair Hardie about what the deal has meant for the global assistance, travel risk and claims management services provider.
Most significantly, we are now part of a £200m plus global insurance services business that employs 2100 people in 107 locations across the world – and that gives us access to international resources, expertise and networks to support our vigorous growth agenda.
The result is that we’ve enhanced our core product offering for UK travel and health insurance clients, while also extending our services to international insurers. We’ve also brought a range of innovative tools and products to market for both UK and international insurers. In doing so, we’ve expanded our client-facing teams and drawn on profitable joint-working opportunities to extend service provision.
At the same time, it’s been business as usual. Our management team still has the customer-focused values of our once-family-owned enterprise. The Cega operations staff continue to provide a range of end-to-end travel and health insurance services; global medical assistance, claims management and travel risk mitigation among them. And we operate from the same three bases in Chichester, Bournemouth and London.
Our clients were supportive of the acquisition and rightly foresaw the benefits to their own operations. Not least among these are Cega’s increased financial strength, a commensurate reduction in risk, and an opportunity for creative new global service and product propositions. All supported by Charles Taylor’s operational and technological capabilities, the breadth and depth of its client relationships and its international reach.
When Charles Taylor acquired Cega in July 2016, its CEO David Marock said that we would remain a business in our own right, and that it would give us the space to offer our services in the way our clients want them to. This is exactly the case today. Shared resources, ideas and technologies are complemented by the autonomy of our successful operation. To quote Marock again: “Charles Taylor has integrated Cega in all the ways that really matter, in ensuring it can access clients and enhance its capabilities.”
Almost two years on, our ambitious growth agenda has produced a raft of integrated new solutions for insurers and their customers.
On the digital front, we’ve collaborated with Charles Taylor Insuretech to introduce fully automated claims to our end-to-end travel and health claims management services: maximising customer choice, accelerating the claims journey and minimising operating costs. We’ve also launched an agile medical screening product, Antidote, to automate the pre-travel medical assessment process. This allows customers to self-declare pre-existing medical conditions to their travel insurers quickly and seamlessly.
By adding our own global cross-sector fraud investigation services to Charles Taylor’s loss adjusting capabilities we’ve drawn on collaborative opportunities again, and enhanced our ability to offer clients end-to-end multi-sector fraud investigation solutions both at home and abroad.
Significant among our other innovative developments are a bespoke offshore assistance service for the energy sector, and a range of state-of-the-art travel risk management solutions to address changing risks overseas, stringent duty-of-care obligations and the interdependence of medical and security assistance.
What do you have planned for the future?
Our recent appointment of a head of proposition development shows just how committed we are to keeping the developmental momentum going in an ever-evolving insurance landscape.
We now plan to continue creating flexible digital and operational solutions to ease processes for all those involved in the insurance chain; from insurers themselves, to brokers, intermediaries, and consumers. Among these is Digital Doctor, which will soon see us integrating video doctor and advanced diagnostic services into the medical assistance process.
Wherever you’re going for your winter sun abroad, follow these tips from CEGA, the international assistance and claims company. They’ll help you have a safe and healthy holiday, that you remember for all the right reasons.
· Check the latest Foreign and Commonwealth Office travel advice for the country you plan to visit, at https://www.gov.uk/foreign-travel-advice.
· Buy a good travel insurance policy that covers you and any family members for all the activities you want to do while you’re away. At the very least this should cover the costs of cancellation, emergency repatriation, essential medical treatment and lost or stolen possessions.
· Tell your insurer about any pre-existing medical conditions that you or close relatives have. You may not be covered in an emergency if you don’t.
· Find out from your GP or local travel clinic if you need any vaccinations, at least six weeks before you set off.
· Apply for any visas that you may need.
· Check your passport is in-date. And bear in mind that some countries need passports to be valid for six months after arrival.
· Scan important documents, such as your passport, travel tickets and insurance policy and e-mail them to yourself and a trusted friend or relative. You’ll need these if the originals are lost or stolen.
· Research the place where you’ll be staying. Find out about the nearest chemists, the prevalence of muggings and burglaries, the transport networks etc.
· Make sure you know the local emergency services number.
· Pack a first aid kit with essential medication - and take extra, in case your trip is longer than you plan. Also include insect repellent, sunscreen, antiseptic and plasters.
· Remember your phone charger.
· Ask your airline about restrictions on items allowed in hand luggage.
· Where possible, keep your valuables and any essential medication with you.
· Drink plenty of water to reduce jet lag.
· Keep the assistance helpline that comes with your travel insurance with you at all times – then you can access help quickly in an emergency, either on your journey or during your holiday.
· When you arrive, lock up your valuables in your hotel safe, don’t flaunt expensive devices, jewellery or cash, and make sure your bags are zipped up when you go out.
· Check the windows and doors in your room are secure and that the phone works. If not, tell the hotel manager.
· Slap on the sunscreen during the day, wear a hat, and drink plenty of bottled water so you don’t get dehydrated.
· If there’s any risk of mosquito-borne diseases, guard against bites with loose-fitting clothes that cover your arms and legs, use insecticide treatments day and night and keep bedroom windows screened.
· If tap water isn’t safe, drink bottled or boiled water to avoid gastroenteritis and water-borne diseases such as hepatitis. Raw salads, ice cubes in drinks and ice creams carry the same risks, so avoid them.
· Be sensible about how much alcohol you drink. Travel insurers don’t usually set specific limits on alcohol, but if it’s obvious an accident has been caused by excessive drinking, they’ll be reluctant to pay a claim.
· If you’re staying in a risky area, use ATMS inside shopping centres or banks and avoid going out alone at night. If you’re mugged, don’t put up a fight - you could be badly injured.
· In less developed areas, stick to recommended pharmacies for over-the-counter medication such as painkillers, so you’re sure you’ve got what you asked for.
· Reduce the risks of road traffic accidents by using licensed taxis, wearing a seatbelt and being extra careful when you’re crossing the road. Bear in mind that cars won’t always stop for you.
· Stay away from stray animals if there’s any risk of rabies.
Did you know?
A recent ABTA (Association of British Travel Agents) survey showed that 25% of British travellers set off abroad without travel insurance in the last year. ABTA says, “some hospitals may refuse to treat patients if they do not have holiday insurance or sufficient funds to cover their treatment.”
Delivering these workshops will be Kelly Balmforth, learning and development manager for our parent company Charles Taylor, and Nichola Jacob, a highly-experienced leader, consultant and coach for Nurturing Winners International.
The workshops will provide our people managers with the fundamental skills to effectively and confidently coach their team members. Coaching is the art of conversation to help people unravel their own thoughts and come to their own solutions; helping to foster a developmental culture.
Only highly-skilled staff deliver the very best customer service.
This is a modular programme of impactful workshops - tailored to help staff to develop business and personal skills that fit with career development plans and the needs of our business.
So far, we’ve covered management fundamentals and team development for our people managers. This week our recruitment manager Jo Scullion, and learning and development advisor, Catherine Lamb, will be focusing on hiring and onboarding talent and effective interviewing. This will enable our hiring managers to recruit the very best people.
Did you know that symptoms of malaria may not show for a year or more after infection, that the disease can be found in over 100 countries, and that it is spread by female mosquitoes and infected blood? If left untreated, it can be fatal.
These are just some of the facts being shared with CEGA’s non-medical assistance teams this week by our Clinical Nurse Manager Louise Hanlon RN, in another series of our popular educational training sessions.
“We receive a lot of calls relating to malaria,” says Louise. “The aim of these latest training sessions is to increase awareness of the disease amongst our non-medical call handlers, whilst highlighting the importance of obtaining a prompt diagnosis and treatment for our customers.”
Louise will be giving away prizes to call handlers who retain the most “malaria knowledge” – and she reports that the competition is fierce.
For information about malaria prevention from the Foreign and Commonwealth Office, see http://bit.ly/1Ak19DJ
Already in California?
Stay well away from areas affected by wildfires. If you are already in or close to an affected area, listen to local news reports and follow instructions from the local authorities. If you are told to do so, evacuate immediately.
Need to get back home in an emergency?
Call the assistance helpline that comes with your travel insurance policy.
The Foreign & Commonwealth Office has issued the following advice for British tourists in California: “Large wildfires have broken out in the counties of Napa, Sonoma, Yuba, Butte, Nevada, Calaveras, Humboldt, Mendocino and Lake in the State of California. A state of emergency has been declared in Napa, Sonoma and Yuba. Evacuation orders are in place in several areas and emergency shelters have been opened. Some infrastructure has been damaged, including phone communications and internet access. Wildfires can spread swiftly so always remain cautious. Follow the instructions issued by the local authorities, and obey all evacuation orders. Local authority advice and information on emergency shelters is available at the California Governor’s Office of Emergency Services (Cal OES).
Advice to Monarch customers, issued by CAA
Customers in the UK yet to travel: don't go to the airport
Customers abroad: everyone due to fly in the next fortnight will be brought back to the UK at no cost to them. There is no need to cut short your stay
All affected customers should check monarch.caa.co.uk for more information
The CAA also has a 24-hour helpline: 0300 303 2800 from the UK and Ireland and +44 1753 330330 from overseas
The activity, spearheaded by CEGA'S in-house medical staff, will give assistance call handlers the latest information and advice about rabies. This will cover a range of areas; from rabies transmission and hotspots, to symptoms, prevention and protocol for customers at risk.
CEGA’s Chief Medical Officer Dr Lynn Gordon says, “This initiative is just part of our commitment to constantly reinforce the skills and knowledge of our front-end assistance teams so that customers receive the very best, informed, service from the moment their call is answered.
“Although relatively rare amongst travellers, rabies is more likely to be fatal than any other disease. But it can be prevented, even after exposure to the virus, and it is vital for travel insurance policyholders who have been bitten or scratched by a potentially infected animal to call their assistance helpline immediately. They can then receive the right specialist advice and get access to suitable treatment as quickly as possible.
"We follow a strict protocol when any animal bite or scratch is reported by a customer. The customer is referred immediately to one of our in-house doctors for individual assessment and, if necessary, we will arrange transport to a medical centre that can provide the appropriate vaccination or antidote.”
World Rabies Day, organised by the Global Alliance for Rabies Control, is the first and only global day of action and awareness for rabies prevention. Rabies, which currently kills an estimated 59,000 people every year, can be found all over the world, particularly in Asia, Africa and Central and South America.
Although 99% of human cases are transmitted by dogs, bats are now the major source of human rabies deaths in the Americas and bat rabies is an emerging public health threat in Australia and Western Europe.
Here are some tips from CEGA to help keep young gap year travellers both safe and solvent:
Before you set off
Take out travel insurance
As soon as you’ve booked your trip, buy travel insurance that covers all the countries you want to visit for as long as you want to travel – and bear in mind that most standard policies will only cover you for 31 days, so you may need special gap year cover. Your policy should cover you for travel cancellation, medical treatment abroad, lost or stolen possessions and emergency repatriation back home.
Make sure you’re covered for risky sports
Sports like paragliding, mountain biking or climbing may not be covered by a standard travel insurance policy, because they expose insurers to extra risk. If you plan to do some risky sports, you’ll need to check that your policy includes them, or add them as an extra before you set off abroad.
Tell your insurer about any medical conditions
If you have a pre-existing medical condition you may have to pay an extra premium or shop around for an insurer that’s willing to cover you. You’ll also need to come clean about any close relatives who are ill, in case you need to come home early to see them in an emergency. You may not be covered in an emergency if you don’t.
Get an EHIC for Europe
If your gap year travels are within Europe, you’ll need both travel insurance and a European Health Insurance Card (EHIC). The EHIC entitles you to basic state medical treatment in Europe, but it won’t cover you for repatriation back to the UK, if you need it, nor for medical treatment at a private hospital (that’s where travel insurance comes in). Most travel insurers will waive their claims excess for medical costs if you have an EHIC.
Book your vaccinations
Find out about vaccinations and anti-malaria treatment at least 6 weeks before you travel and tell your doctor or travel clinic exactly which areas you’re visiting, even if you’re just passing through, as you’ll need to take different precautions for each.
Do your research
Find out as much as possible about the area/s in which you’re staying. Are there often muggings? Where are the no-go streets at night? How would you contact the local emergency services if something went wrong? And check the latest country-specific travel advice from the Foreign Office, at https://www.gov.uk/foreign-travel-advice
Limit your packing to things you really need, that are easy to replace. Include a first aid kit with essential medication (it’s worth taking extra, in case your trip is longer than you plan), insect repellent, sunscreen, antiseptic and plasters. And remember your phone charger.
Copy important documents
Take copies of your passport, driving licence, travel insurance policy and credit cards and e-mail them to yourself and a friend or relative at home. You’ll need these if the originals are lost or stolen.
When you're away
Keep your assistance helpline number close
This comes with your travel insurance policy and will enable you to reach help quickly if there’s an emergency.
Look after yourself and your belongings
Keep an eye on your possessions, or they may not be covered by your insurance if they are lost or stolen. Don’t carry around expensive tech or large amounts of cash and make sure bags are zipped up. If you’re in a risky area, use ATMS inside shopping centres or banks and avoid going out alone at night. If you’re mugged, don’t put up a fight - you could be badly injured.
Avoid mosquito bites
If there’s a risk of mosquito-borne diseases, avoid bites by wearing loose clothes that cover your arms, legs and feet and use a DEET-based insect repellent. If you can, screen your bedroom windows. And bear in mind that daytime bites can be as dangerous as their night-time counterparts.
Be wary of water, food and medicines
If you’re travelling in the developing world, it’s not just the tap water that may be unsafe, but also any salad or fruit that’s been washed in water - and even ice cream and ice cubes. They could leave you with diarrhea, typhoid or hepatitis. Drink bottled water and stick to cooked food that is piping hot. And always use recommended pharmacies for over-the-counter medication such as painkillers - so you’re sure you’ve got what you asked for.
Avoid heatstroke and sunburn by using sunscreen and wearing a hat, and drink plenty of bottled water to stop yourself getting dehydrated. Always make sure that bottle seals haven’t been broken.
Go easy on the alcohol
There’s no need to be teetotal on your gap travels, just to be sensible about how much alcohol you drink. Travel insurers don’t generally set specific limits on alcohol consumption, but if you have an accident that’s obviously been caused by excessive drinking, they may not pay up.
Watch out on the roads
Road traffic accidents cause more injuries than anything else in the developing world. Reduce the risks by using licensed taxis, wearing a seatbelt and being extra careful when you’re crossing the road – cars won’t necessarily stop for you. And don’t drive at night.
CEGA’s Chief Medical Officer Dr Lynn Gordon says:
“Travel insurance isn’t a luxury, it’s an essential safety net. Your insurers won’t just cover your costs in an emergency, they will also manage your medical care and give you professional support when you may be thousands of miles from home. But it’s also important to take responsibility for your gap year travels by researching the risks and finding out how to avoid them, so that your trip leaves you with positive memories.”
Top 10 gap year destinations (Source: ABTA members specialising in gap years)
8. South Africa
5. New Zealand
Angela Smith, who takes on the new role, is an industry heavyweight with well over a decade’s management and development experience in the insurance sector. Her significant achievements in former roles include developing underwriting tools that supply more than 85% of the UK travel insurance market.
Smith will now continue CEGA's development of versatile digital and operational solutions to ease processes for all those involved in the insurance chain; from insurers themselves, to brokers, intermediaries, consumers and more. Top of her developmental agenda is an agile medical screening product for the global travel insurance sector. This will provide flexible parameters for underwriters, to reduce complexity for customers and to offer tailored risk assessments for insurers, covering, for example, specific consumer groups, travel destinations and illness combinations.
Of her new role at CEGA, Smith says, “Agility and transparency are key to providing solutions in a rapidly changing insurance market and I look forward to being proactive in developing flexible, tailored products that are both client and customer-centric.”
Muir Robertson, Managing Director of CEGA, comments, “Angela’s breadth of experience adds significant value to our service offering and her appointment demonstrates our commitment to meet the ever-evolving needs of clients with innovative new products to support the insurance sector. Her role is integral to our growth agenda which, so far this year, has delivered expansion of our client-facing teams, strategic partnerships to extend our service provision and state-of-the-art travel risk management solutions.”
CEGA Group has become the first company in Europe to gain the Commercial Aviation Medical Escort Accreditation from EURAMI* as a standalone accolade. The assistance, claims and repatriation provider underwent a full day’s inspection and rigorous testing of its global patient transfer capabilities to achieve the accreditation: subjecting (amongst other areas) its business processes, operations personnel and safety, quality and medical management to close scrutiny. According to EURAMI, its quality management and safety regulations surpassed those required by the accolade.
CEGA Special Investigations investigates all areas of insurance fraud, including household, personal accident, travel and health claims. Its collaboration with CTGAS will enable it to extend its investigative presence in the UK and to explore wider client opportunities by enhancing the CTGAS offering.
CEGA Special Investigations, established in 2008, benefits insurers by providing specialist services to reduce insurers’ losses by detecting and declining fraudulent claims, while ensuring the fast payment of genuine claims. It is a stand-along business of global medical assistance and claims management provider CEGA Group and is part of the Charles Taylor Group.
David Parker, Managing Director, London, Charles Taylor General Adjusting Services, said:
“We are delighted to be forming this mutually beneficial partnership. CEGA’s breadth of investigative experience augments our own in-depth processing expertise; producing a seamless service that will both benefit our existing clients and attract new business.
Simon Cook, Head of Technical Claims, CEGA, said:
“This progressive move is set to expand our client base and reinforce our ability to offer clients end-to-end multi-sector fraud investigation solutions both at home and abroad.
“Our success to date can be attributed to the unified skills of our in-house investigative, medical, claims and travel teams, complemented by our worldwide network of agents. We now look forward to building on this success with Charles Taylor General Adjusting Services; investigating suspicious domestic and international claims thoroughly and paying genuine claimants quickly.”
The move sees Personal Group, a leading provider of employee benefits and employee related insurance products in the UK, consolidating its existing relationship with CEGA. CEGA will support Personal Group with both desktop and overseas investigations, thanks to its network of global agents. It will also draw on its in-house multilingual travel and medical expertise.
Nathan Holloway, who takes on the role, will draw on previous experience that spans both general insurance and health; including business development roles at SSP Worldwide and BUPA.
Travel insurance customers who have claims turned down are then citing different circumstances that are more likely to be accepted, says CEGA’s Special Investigations Unit.
Global claims and assistance providers CEGA have expanded their Special Investigations Unit with the appointment of an additional investigator; Geoff Foster.
Geoff brings more than 14 years’ experience of insurance to CEGA’s fraud team, five of which were spent with the provider’s own claims handling operation, from 2003 to 2008. His multidiscipline skills span several sectors of the industry, including motor and travel.
“Geoff’s appointment has been driven by a growing demand for our global fraud investigation services,” says CEGA’s Head of Technical Claims, Simon Cook. “His skills add considerable value to our existing team, which works with our representatives all over the world to provide desk-top and ‘on the ground’ investigations for travel, health and household claims.”
Geoff is soon to complete his formal professional investigator accreditation. Like his counterparts in the Special Investigations Unit, he will also play an active role in increasing fraud awareness amongst CEGA’s front-end claims handlers. Many of the latter are encouraged to pursue investigator qualifications themselves, as part of the provider’s proactive fraud detection initiatives.
Paris; Brussels; Munich and more…. Disturbing events in business travel locations that have long-been considered benign are on the rise. But how can businesses act quickly to find and help their people in a crisis, wherever they are in the world? What if employees are in the vicinity of a terror incident – or in a country whose government looks set to be overthrown? What if there has been a natural disaster and one of them is injured?
Experts from global assistance and security providers CEGA and Solace Global will have the answers at this year’s Business Travel Show.
They will explain how the integrated medical and security assistance service, INtrinsic, can help businesses to reduce employees’ risks overseas, to source integrated medical and security information from a single platform and to access one-stop emergency assistance via one point of contact. They will also introduce the latest phase of INtrinsic’s state-of-the art employee travel tracking technology.
“INtrinsic’s unified medical and security assistance can negate the unnecessary delays and costs often associated with disjointed supply chains; giving employers and employees peace of mind, wherever they are in the world,“ says Chris Knight, Head of Corporate Services at CEGA
“Its development has been guided by security and crisis management experts and our clients’ own risk management needs, providing a service that links seamlessly with existing travel risk management programmes,” adds Chris. “We look forward to sharing case studies and client insights to show just how well it helps protect employees travelling abroad.”
Find out more from CEGA and Solace Global at the Business Travel Show, Stand B251. You can also join a live discussion on INtrinsic at the show: 10am, Wednesday February 22nd.
Make sure that you’re registered with a GP; be open and honest about your medical history when you buy travel insurance and don’t drink excessively on holiday. This is the advice for winter holidaymakers from Dr Tim Hammond, Chief Medical Officer at CEGA, the claims and global assistance providers. Ignoring it could invalidate a travel insurance claim for medical expenses.
Dr Hammond’s first warning is made more pertinent by NHS England plans that could see patients removed from GPs’ lists if they do not contact their surgery for five years. “Even if a visit to the doctor isn’t necessary, it’s important to keep in touch at least once every five years,” says Dr Hammond. “If a travel insurance policyholder is not registered with a GP, an insurer cannot check their medical history - and this could invalidate a claim for medical expenses.”
“It is also important”, explains Dr Hammond, “for holidaymakers to volunteer information about any existing or historic medical problems when they buy a travel insurance policy. They can then find out if their existing condition is covered by their policy, if they need to pay an extra premium or if they need specialist cover.”
Other common causes of holidaymakers’ medical claims being turned down, says Dr Hammond, include excessive drinking. “If an accident follows a session of heavy drinking, any related travel insurance claim may well be turned down,” advises Dr Hammond. “With most insurance cover there’s no need to be teetotal on holiday – just be moderate.”
Dr Hammond tells holidaymakers: “Always talk to your travel insurer before you set off abroad if you have any questions about your policy. Your travel insurance provides an invaluable safety net if an emergency strikes while you’re overseas.”
Dr Tim Hammond, Chief Medical Officer for assistance and claims specialists CEGA sets out the less obvious risks of winter sports holidays - for devotees of skiing, strolling and après-ski alike.
The risks: Drinking alcohol at altitude will exacerbate its effects and increase the risk of feeling disoriented, having an accident and getting lost. And, if something does go wrong after over-indulging, your travel insurance may not cover you.
What to do: There’s no need to be teetotal on holiday – but avoid drinking excessively, and don’t walk home alone after an indulgent night out: temperatures drop dramatically after dark in the mountains and ski resorts are not the safest places in which to be lost.
The risks: Oxygen levels in high altitude resorts, especially in North America, are much lower than you may be used to. Nausea, confusion, headaches and shortness of breath can all be signs of altitude sickness. So too can concentration problems and slow reaction times.
What to do: Drink plenty of water and avoid excessive activity on the first day at high-altitude. You can even stagger your journey and gradually increase altitude over a few days. Bear in mind that children and sufferers of respiratory illnesses or reduced lung function will be most affected.
The risks: Mountain weather is unpredictable and a “white-out” on the slopes can come from nowhere. It can make it hard to see anything more than a few feet away and increase your chances of getting lost – even if you’re not skiing.
What to do: Stay close to other people and keep the person in front in view until you get to the bottom of the mountain. If it’s windy, stay away from the mountain edge and try to find shelter under trees. Call for help if you can’t find your way back.
The risks: Extremes of temperature can be felt in a single afternoon. A fierce sun can burn, whilst intense cold and wind can quickly cause frostbite (as can touching frozen metal with bare skin). Occasionally, hypothermia can even set in, causing excessive shivering, weakness and exhaustion, as well as slurred speech and mental uncertainty.
What to do: Wear plenty of sunscreen, cover your extremities and keep skin away from frozen metal. If your fingers, toes or ears begin to feel numb, get inside as quickly as possible to warm up. Finally, wear layered clothing so you can increase or decrease warmth as the temperature changes. And, if you think you’re experiencing signs of hypothermia, get professional help.
The cost of medical repatriation
The risks: You don’t have to be on skis to have an accident: slipping on ice outside your hotel could give you a broken leg. And if you need an emergency repatriation from a European ski resort, it could set you back up to £8,000 without insurance (even if you have a European Health Insurance Card). From the US or Canada it could cost you up to £70,000.
What to do: Take out a good travel insurance policy that covers everyone in your party for every activity that they plan to do (even if it’s only walking). And remember that a travel insurance policy doesn’t just cover the costs of repatriation - it also offers you a helping hand when you need it most.
Injuring a third party
The risks: You could be sued for an injury to a third party, if it’s deemed to be your fault. A personal liability claim can be made months after the event, when the full implications of an injury are clear – and it could bankrupt you if you don’t have insurance
What to do: If you want to avoid potentially high costs and litigation headaches, make sure your travel insurance policy includes personal liability cover.
Travel insurance fraud won’t be tolerated, nor will its perpetrators escape detection.
This is the message that claims and global assistance group CEGA is to give BBC viewers as it starts filming this week for BBC One’s latest Claimed and Shamed series.
Simon Cook, CEGA’s Head of Special Investigations and now a regular participant on Claimed and Shamed, expects millions of BBC viewers to tune into the programme: drawn by blow-by-blow accounts of outrageous travel insurance claims and the ever-more sophisticated measures taken to detect fraud.
“The travel insurance industry will go to great lengths to validate or negate a suspicious claim,” says Cook. “If this means questioning a doctor thousands-of-miles away; carrying out a face-to-face interview with a retail outlet in a foreign backwater or translating and scrutinising the most complicated medical evidence, we’ll do it.
“The travel insurance industry has to take a two-pronged approach to fraud: both increasing consumer awareness of its severity and employing effective detection techniques,” says Cook. “Claimed and Shamed is an invaluable media through which to do the former and to reinforce the message that fraud is a serious offence and fraudsters will be found out.”
The popular Claimed and Shamed Series will be broadcast again early next year.
Heart problems, long term illnesses and complex fractures are among the most common medical ailments at the source of private repatriations, according to CEGA, with demand spanning areas as diverse as southern Asia, the Caribbean and mainland Europe. Among those requesting the repatriations are uninsured individuals; business travellers; government organisations and even royalty.
“The demand for medical repatriations is greatest from Europe, says “Cecilia Geofilo-Pearson, CEGA’s Business Development Manager, “but we are getting requests from all over the world - ranging from straightforward road journeys and scheduled flights with medical escorts, to intensive care air ambulance transfers that necessitate full medical management, complex travel arrangements and hospital admission.
“A repatriation involves much more than a journey,” adds Ms Geofilo-Pearson. “An individual injured or taken ill abroad should expect it to come hand-in-hand with, among other things, travel arrangements made for relatives, translation services and expert medical supervision from start to finish.”
Ms Geofilo-Pearson warns against using inexperienced repatriation providers that lack the backing of a multi-skilled team. “The welfare of the patient can be put at risk if providers don’t take the time to fully assess a patient’s needs, to organise exactly the right transport and care to meet those needs and to support them throughout the journey.” She cites a recent case involving a young man with a spinal injury whose attempted repatriation from the other side of the world was hampered by a provider who tried to organise transport that would have worsened his injury and whose doctor deserted him at the airport. CEGA was later asked to (successfully) take on the repatriation.
For more information email: firstname.lastname@example.org +44 (0) 1243 621 107
Jonathan Brown, Risk Team Manager at CEGA, the global risk, assistance and claims specialists, shares some pre-travel tips with employers:
Be prepared for every eventuality – and go well beyond pre-travel vaccinations. Just for a start, you need to think about the current health needs of your employee/s: for instance, do they rely on regular prescriptions or are they diabetic - and do accompanying family members suffer from any medical conditions? Also find out about the capabilities and limitations of local routine medical and dental care in situ. Will it meet your employee’s needs or will you have to provide access to extra support? And you’ll need to know about the prevalence of contagious diseases, rabid dogs, poisonous stings and unsafe drinking water, as well as the suitability and accessibility of emergency care. Above all, make sure your employee/s can take the right precautions and knows exactly what to do and who to contact in an emergency.
Find out if the political situation is stable and if conflict or terrorism is likely to strike in the future – and remember that things can change quickly. Is it safe for your employee to walk around alone at night or during the day, or is kidnapping and mugging prevalent? Do they know how to avoid unwelcome attention and cultural clashes? What about protecting themselves against credit card or mobile phone cloning or insecure Wi-Fi networks? It’s up to you to have the right processes in place to keep them safe and to make sure they know how to mitigate risk and react to security threats.
Get advice about the climate: is there a danger of excessive heat or cold? Are earthquakes, hurricanes or floods likely? Let your employee/s know the procedure if a natural disaster strikes. And educate them about heatstroke and other heat-related problems, or how best to cope in plunging temperatures.
4. Emergency assistance
How will you locate your employee/s if an emergency strikes? Could an evacuation be implemented quickly and what would it involve? How do you know that your emergency planning will work? Will your staff know exactly what to do? A matter of minutes can turn a minor incident into a catastrophe - but planning ahead with real-life scenarios can help to avert this.
Make sure your employee/s feel supported and prepared, not just for their destinations but also for their journeys. Many employers forget that travel itself can be hazardous, especially if it involves crossing high-risk countries. Anticipate the risks before a deployment overseas and put in place the appropriate safeguards, training and procedures. You won’t just be meeting duty of care obligations, you’ll also be investing in a safe and productive workforce.
Healthcare and emergency medical support specialist International Medical Management (IMM) has secured a partnership with global medical and security assistance provider CEGA.
Aberdeen headquartered IMM, which provides travel and health services has increased turnover to £500,000 in the last year following contract wins in the oil and gas, renewables and fishing industries.
IMM operates the only travel clinic in Aberdeen to be accredited by the Medical Advisory Service for Travellers Abroad (MASTA).
The new strategic alliance with CEGA, a provider of medical and security assistance with a world-wide reach will give energy industry clients emergency access to global trauma doctors, together with medical support from CEGA’s 24-hour UK response centre.
Susan Reid, general manager of Aberdeen-headquartered IMM said: “Despite the downturn, we have continued to grow and invest in our personnel, technology and capability to provide a unique “out of the box” way of thinking on how best to provide health care for the energy industry.
“Partnering with CEGA allows us to offer a holistic medical service. CEGA’s multinational, multi-sectoral expertise significantly expands our network. In the management of CEGA we have found like-minded professionals who share our vision achieving a service provision that is driven by our clients’ unique requirements where we then work collaboratively to achieve their global operational needs.”
Jody Baker, commercial director at CEGA Group, added: “This partnership delivers optimum medical support to workers in the oil, gas and renewable energy industries, by uniting the skills of our specialist clinical teams worldwide.
“Our current support to the offshore subsea sector has provided us with a global knowledge of the energy industry. IMM’s determination to drive change and employee welfare was a key factor in our decision to work with them as our preferred partner.”
BBC viewers are to have twice-weekly doses of travel insurance fraud warnings - starting next week - as our Head of Special Investigations, Simon Cook, takes to the screen in BBC One’s popular Claimed and Shamed programme. The series is to be presented by Strictly’s Ore Oduba.
Simon will talk more than a million potential viewers through far-fetched travel insurance claims: hammering home the message that the penalties for fraudsters are harsh.
He says: “Travel insurance fraudsters come all walks of life and include doctors, celebrities and even solicitors. But I want to let potential fraudsters know that there is nowhere to hide and their scams will be uncovered in all four corners of the world.”
Simon and his UK team work with global investigators to get to the bottom of suspicious travel insurance claims that range from fabricated deaths and made-up muggings, to doctor and patient collusions and false medical bills. They use a huge variety of detection techniques that include face-to-face meetings, cognitive interviewing and investigations of overseas medical centres. With translation services at their fingertips, they communicate with doctors, police, retail outlets and more - wherever they are in the world, whatever language they speak.
Simon will appear on Claimed and Shamed twice-weekly for the next four weeks. This is the fourth time that he features on the programme, which gains popularity year-on-year.
Watch Simon on Claimed and Shamed at 11am on BBC One to find out more: starting next Tuesday and Wednesday October 18th and 19th.
The revelation comes as thousands of post-summer-holiday travel insurance claims are submitted: a minority of which are dishonest.
“Although the vast majority of travel insurance claims are honest, those that are not are often submitted by individuals who don’t in any way match the typical fraudster profile,”, says Simon Cook, Head of Special Investigations for CEGA. “They include those working in professional trades who feel that they are entitled, after they have paid for travel insurance, to exaggerate or inflate genuine claims - especially those for lost or stolen possessions.”
“Fraudsters don’t realise that their claims will be closely scrutinised,” says Simon. “But their scams are investigated in all four corners of the world, leaving them nowhere to hide. They could even end up with a criminal record”
Travel insurance fraudsters span both sexes and all age groups, concludes Simon.
The achievement follows CEGA’s considerable investment in fraud awareness initiatives and training across the company’s entire travel claims and assistance operation. This has included preparing multi-disciplined staff, both within and beyond its fraud unit, for fraud investigation qualifications.
“Maximising fraud awareness and skills amongst both our investigators and our front-end staff has been fundamental in increasing our investigations and number of client savings,” says CEGA’s Head of Special Investigations, Simon Cook. “The results are testament to the value of our integrated in-house claims, assistance and fraud investigation provision.”
The news comes in the wake of recent success for CEGA’s Gary Wimbledon, who has been shortlisted for the Young Investigator of the Year title in this year’s Insurance Fraud Awards. His colleague. Adam Grady, won the title last year.
Charles Taylor plc announced today that it has acquired CEGA Group (CEGA), a specialist provider of technical medical assistance and travel claims management services. The acquisition will enable Charles Taylor to offer new services to its clients and to establish deeper relationships with global insurers. It will strengthen CEGA’s position in the UK market and enable CEGA to realise its ambitions to grow in international markets.
CEGA is a market-leading provider of medical assistance and travel claims management services to insurers. It provides a high-quality, seamlessly integrated end-to-end service, which combines medical assistance with claims and case management, pre-travel advice, medical screening and corporate travel contingency planning.
CEGA is an excellent fit with Charles Taylor. It brings additional technical, high value-add services to the Group which complement Charles Taylor’s existing capabilities. CEGA has long-standing relationships with large, high profile insurers, some of which are new to Charles Taylor, and these offer the opportunity to cross-sell the Group’s other professional services. In addition, Charles Taylor’s businesses and its major clients regularly use medical assistance services. This means the Group is well-positioned to support CEGA’s long-term growth.
CEGA will continue to be run by its current management team. Alistair Hardie, CEGA’s CEO, will report to David Marock, Charles Taylor’s Group CEO and will join the Group’s Executive Committee. CEGA’s clients will continue to be served by their existing teams, and will benefit from Charles Taylor’s financial strength, its operational and technological capabilities, the breadth and depth of its client relationships and its global reach.
The transaction marks an important step forward in Charles Taylor’s business strategy to grow by developing new professional services lines, which are closely-related to its core business, through targeted acquisitions. It forms part of the Group’s overall business strategy of delivering growth organically and through investments.
Liberum advised Charles Taylor on the transaction. CEGA was advised by Meridian Corporate Finance.
David Marock, Group Chief Executive Officer, Charles Taylor said:
"The acquisition of CEGA opens another exciting chapter in the growth and development of Charles Taylor. CEGA is one of the UK’s leading providers of travel assistance services and works closely with major insurers which form an important part of our client base. The acquisition will enable us to further deepen and develop these important relationships.
The services of our two businesses are highly complementary and the acquisition adds to the wide range of technical insurance services offered by Charles Taylor. We can see significant opportunities for profitable joint-working. We have client relationships across the global insurance and industrial markets, which mean that we will be able to support CEGA’s continued growth. We will also be able to offer new high-value medical assistance and claims management services to our existing clients.”
Alistair Hardie, Chief Executive Officer, CEGA Group, said:
““I am delighted that CEGA has become a member of the Charles Taylor Group. CEGA has built a market-leading range of services including international assistance, medical transfers, claims management and pre-travel consultancy. As part of the Charles Taylor Group we will have access to resources, expertise and global networks to realise our ambitions to drive growth and develop new markets for our services, and importantly further improve the competitiveness of our core proposition for our existing insurer and corporate clients.”
Notes to Editors
About Charles Taylor plc www.ctplc.com
Charles Taylor plc is a leading provider of professional services to clients across the global insurance market. The Group has been providing services since 1884 and today employs over 1,300 staff in 69 offices spread across 28 countries in the UK, the Americas, Asia Pacific, Europe, the Middle East and Africa.
The Group offers services, principally on a fee-based model and operates through three businesses – Management, Adjusting and Insurance Support Services. Charles Taylor also owns insurers, creating value through select acquisitions and operational efficiency.
About CEGA Group http://www.cegagroup.com
CEGA Group is one of the leading independent providers of global risk management, emergency assistance and claims management services. CEGA provides services to a blue-chip client base that includes many of the world's leading banks, insurance companies, government departments and other global brands.
CEGA’s Gary Wimbledon has fought off stiff competition to be shortlisted for the Young Fraud Investigator of the Year Award in the 2016 Insurance Fraud Awards. The news comes just a year after fellow special investigator Adam Grady scooped the same accolade.
Twenty-eight-year-old Gary, who joined CEGA’s Special Investigation Unit (SIU) three years ago, has made a significant contribution to our global fraud investigations across a variety of insurance disciplines.
“This nomination is both a personal triumph for Gary and further recognition of the enduring efficacy of our SIU, which generates client savings in all four corners of the world,” says CEGA’s Head of Special Investigations, Simon Cook.
We now wait with bated breath until October 6th, when the award’s judges give their final verdict at a London ceremony.
Iraq, Somalia and Pakistan are among the many countries from which demand for integrated medical and security assistance is coming, says the provider. Specific requests have ranged from security risk assessments for emergency medical evacuations, security management for journeys to employees’ medical appointments and employee search services in hospitals that are in areas of conflict.
“In recent years, several once-safe employee destinations have been relegated to the Foreign Office list of high-risk places to visit, thanks to political instability, terrorism and other threats,” says CEGA’s Commercial Director, Jody Baker. “As this travel risk landscape changes, employers are becoming increasingly aware of their duty of care obligations and seeking more comprehensive assistance services to support their mobile workforces in all four corners of the world.”
CEGA Group, the provider of travel assistance, risk management and claims services, has appointed Mike Flippance as head of retail and international private health insurance services. The move further extends CEGA’s offering to travel and health insurers and complements its appointment last month of a head of corporate services.
CEGA Group has appointed a Head of Corporate Services: extending its risk management and assistance capabilities for insured corporate travellers and supporting the recent launch of its integrated medical and security service, INtrinsic.
The over 50’s are submitting travel insurance claims from all four corners of the world, from Aruba to Australia and Mexico to Morocco - in a clear indication that their spirit of adventure is alive and kicking.
Chichester-based CEGA, the global emergency assistance, risk and claims management experts, are looking to boost regional employment opportunities by drawing on local talent to expand their successful operation.
The news comes after several months of growth for CEGA, which employs nearly 400 staff across Funtington and Bournemouth sites, and looks after business travellers and holidaymakers all over the world. Its remit covers everything from managing global repatriations and emergency medical care, to booking alternative accommodation and travel for Britons in need abroad - on behalf of some of the best known brands in the insurance, banking and corporate worlds.
Advice from Dr Tim Hammond, Chief Medical Officer for CEGA.
It’s not just skiing that may be enticing you to the slopes. There’s also snowboarding, snowshoeing, sledging, paragliding, ice-skating and ski jeering … the list goes on. And with this greater choice comes greater risk. Here are ten tips to help keep you and your family safe…
An innovative travel risk management programme - INtrinsic - has been launched for insurers and organisations sending employees abroad, providing a full range of medical and security services via a single contact point.
The INtrinsic programme aims to ensure that companies with employees overseas are able to prepare for the unexpected, to keep staff safe and to reduce travel risk in an emergency abroad. The product of a strategic partnership between CEGA, the global medical assistance and risk management providers, and Solace Global, the security specialists, it comprises comprehensive staff training, travel risk mitigation measures, usable technology, 24/7 response capabilities and post-event evaluation.
Thousands of BBC viewers will find out about the folly of travel insurance fraud in February, when Head of Special Investigations for CEGA, Simon Cook, takes to the screen to explain that no stone is left unturned in the industry’s quest to expose fraudsters - wherever they are in the world.
BBC One’s Claimed and Shamed will see Simon talking viewers through a supposed car break-in near Mumbai, a fictitious death in Nigeria and cosmetic surgery posing as emergency medical treatment in Lebanon - all exposed with the help of CEGA’s investigators “on the ground” overseas. Meanwhile, Simon and his team also get to the bottom of a suspicious mobile phone theft in Spain, after desktop investigations back in the UK.
“The message to travel insurance fraudsters is clear,” says Simon. “We will go to great lengths to investigate suspicious claims all over the world - however complex and distant they may seem.”
This is CEGA’s third appearance on the successful Claimed and Shamed series, which attracts over a million morning viewers. By shining a spotlight on fraud, the series has acted as a catalyst to increase the volume of reports of suspected insurance fraud submitted to the Insurance Fraud Bureau’s (IFB) Cheatline.
You can watch CEGA in Claimed and Shamed on Thursday 18th, Friday 19th, Monday 22nd and Wednesday 24th February: BBC One at 11:45am.
Thousands of travel insurance customers are now using Barclays PIngit to receive instant claims payments via their mobile phone numbers, according to CEGA, the global emergency assistance, risk and claims management provider.
Following the recent announcement from the UK Foreign office (https://www.gov.uk/foreign-travel-advice/egypt), advising against all but essential travel by air to or from Sharm el Sheikh. UK carriers will not take passengers directly to Sharm el Sheikh airport. Please contact your tour operator to confirm your travel policy and refer to the telephone number provided.
CEGA, the global emergency assistance, risk and claims management provider, is delighted to announce that it has been appointed to provide multilingual emergency assistance services on behalf of White Horse Insurance Ireland Ltd.
CEGA Air Ambulance recently united its medical and aviation teams with its specialist NHS partners for a simulation training day in its fixed wing air ambulance - the first training initiative of its kind to involve all three disciplines.
CEGA is growing - and investing in people is high on the list of our business priorities.
The fraud investigation skills of CEGA’s Adam Grady were celebrated last night at the Insurance Fraud Awards, when he won the coveted title of Young Fraud Investigator of the Year.