A major insurer involved in a prosthetic leg claim dispute has offered its perspective on the matter.
Its reaction comes after Sarah Fuhrer and her mother appeared on Fair Go to describe how Southern Cross advised that her prosthesis, that snapped while Fuhrer was travelling in Europe, would be treated as a ‘personal item’ under her policy.
According to a Southern Cross spokesperson, Fuhrer’s incident was initially categorised incorrectly, but staff at no time treated or referred to the limb as baggage.
“Because the break was the result of Sarah’s fall down the stairs, she was covered under the ‘medical and evacuation’ section of her policy,” the spokesperson said.
“But when Sarah’s mum first called, we incorrectly classified the limb as a ‘personal item’ under the ‘baggage and personal items’ section.”
Cover under this section of the policy would only have provided $1,500 for the leg’s repair or replacement, which may not have been enough. Fuhrer said on Fair Go that fixing the limb would cost $3,000 and to replace it would cost $8,000.
Southern Cross Travel Insurance pointed out that across the general insurance sector it is common for prosthetics to be covered as a ‘personal item’.
“An example would be a scenario where someone was travelling with a spare prosthesis and it got lost or damaged while not in use,” the spokesperson explained.
The insurer investigated Sarah’s case and agreed to pay the full cost to fix or replace her prosthesis under the ‘medical and evacuation’ section of her policy.
“We apologised to both Louise, and Sarah for any stress or worry caused and reassured them both that Sarah is covered,” said the spokesperson.
“In general terms we always recommend that travellers declare any pre-existing conditions, which Sarah and her mum did, as well as specify any high-value items to ensure adequate cover beyond the standard limits set out by their policy for damage or loss.”
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