Product Type: AXA Insurance in Insurance
Newest Review: ... got heated in a block and I had to call AXA after a few calls requesting for Road side assistance that never came the policeman helped me ... more
AXA wields its axe
Author Name: Brian W Fisher
Disadvantages: Being 'taken for a ride'.
Had little idea how unpopular 'AXA' was with its customers...that is, until I experienced its cavalier attitude earlier this year and when perusing internet review sites soon afterwards.
Below is an account of how 'AXA' dealt with me. It begins with my initial letter to it dated 9th March..........
AXA Assistance Claims Service,
PO BOX 54098
SW 20 8UU.
FOR THE ATTENTION OF THE MOST SENIOR MANAGER, PLEASE.
Reference claim number C21410494.
Following the telephone conversation with Neida Zaval (USA) today and the forms she attached in her e-mail, I now forward them completed where and when possible. Please remember that my docs are the ORIGINALS.
Although I am still very weak and at the first stages of recovery, I do feel the need to both give you an overview of the events which unfurled in the USA and what happened to me during my return flight to UK on 7th instant.
You already know that I was admitted to Vero Beach Hospital, Florida on 26th February. It followed a series of very detailed tests and examinations, which showed that I was suffering from an extremely high temperature/fever of 103.9 degrees F, together with severe pneumonia and an unknown strain of bacteria in my blood samples.
This combination of symptoms meant that I was attached to oxygen supply, drip fed the strongest antibiotic fluids, rehydrated with Saline and made to swallow high doses of Codine type tablets to fight the temperature for the ensuing days.
Because my son lived nearby (the reason for our visit to the USA) the hospital treating physician, Doctor Kristoff Naberezny, allowed an earlier than normal discharge on the condition that I rest completely, be nursed continually and take ALL the full course (5 days) of high dose antibiotics (700mg each tablet) as well as the Tylenol 500mg tablets, which he prescribed.
These tablets were purchased with cash, ($174.99) from CVS Pharmacy in Vero Beach (see enclosed receipts).
During my hospital stay, my son, Stephen, contacted AXA (Chicago) and supplied all requested information. There then followed more copy documents to AXA from the Vero Beach Hospital, the Independent Doctor who examined me on 2nd March (Dr KING) and who signed a letter which allowed me to fly home on condition that I was accompanied and that I was placed on a Lay-Flat seat for the 8 plus hour journey - plus letters from my UK GP practice, confirming that I have never before suffered from pneumonia.
Although I tried a number of times by both e-mail and telephone to obtain an assurance from AXA staff in Chicago that AXA would adhere to Dr King's recommendations and secure the necessary seating on the Virgin Atlantic flight VS28 departing MCO at 1835 hours on Wednesday 7th March,
I was not given given that assurance.
Instead, I kept getting told that AXA STILL needed more forms/letters from both the Vero Beach Hospital doctors as well as from my UK GP and that without them, AXA would not be in a position to authorise the necessary air travel to the UK as per Dr King's instructions.
On the morning of the 7th, I telephoned AXA yet again and spoke with an 'Ian' and explained yet again, that at 1230 hours, my wife and I would have to leave the home of our son and be driven the 150 miles north to the Orland Airport. He did nothing except prevaricate and place even more obstacles in our way. By that time, I was extremely stressed and worried that our flight home would not happen.
In spite of that, we were driven to Orlando airport (at our own expense) and presented ourselves to the Virgin Atlantic Airway's duty manager to give her full details and let her read all the relevant documents.
She went out of her way to be helpful. She phoned AXA, Chicago to obtain authorisation for the Lay-Flat seating, but your man (Ian) reverted to type and refused, giving unreasonable excuses for not doing so. The phone was handed to me to speak directly with Ian and the conversation was relayed via an open speaker.
I too, suffered the same response...simply....'without the forms I want, AXA will not allow the seating'. The 'Virgin' manager was speechless and could not understand the man's attitude - she having seen the original documentation as indisputable proof of my needs.
She and I discussed the possibility of a compromise, without which, we would be stranded in Orland airport and with no alternative accommodation available.The compromise was, that she would speak directly with Dr. King and see if he would allow me to fly, if I was seated in Premium Economy, on a reclining seat (not flatbed) with my legs elevated on a cardboard box on top of which pillows would be placed. He was persuaded, and subsequently sent a fax to 'Virgin' to confirm.
Two hours had passed since our arrival at Orlando airport, which meant that time was critical if we were to make the flight. The manager escorted us personally through US baggage check procedures and directly on to the aircraft. By that time I was at the highest possible stress level.
Having been seated as described, I did manage to eat a little food and drink coffee and water. After three hours into the flight, I suffered a relapse and found myself lying prone on the floor of the aircraft. Three cabin crew members reseated me and connected me to an oxygen cylinder. They monitored me continually for the rest of the flight.
The aircraft captain radioed ahead and on arrival at Gatwick, we were met by the airport's special assistance team, who ferried us via an electric buggy through both UK immigration and baggage reclaim. We were then taken directly to a car and driven the 80+ miles to our home (again at my expense).
This whole torrid affair should never have happened. AXA's steadfast refusal to accept the truth was the factor which caused the increasing stress I underwent during the days leading up to our flight home. That same refusal to accede to Dr King's letter, resulted in the relapse I suffered on the aircraft.
I hold AXA directly responsible for what happened. I, my son, the USA doctors, the UK doctors, all told the truth but truth wasn't enough! Everyone (other than AXA) who have been witness to events and have had sight of original documents, are appalled at AXA's stance, one which has been explained to me by a number of persons, as being... 'The Usual Insurance Company attitude of NEVER accept liability and NEVER pay out unless absolutely necessary. Do they have a legitimate point?
As I said at the outset, I am not recovered, yet, when I am, please believe that, being an old Lancastrian who was brought-up to believe that RIGHT is MIGHT and NOT the other way around, I will take-on AXA. I will do whatever is necessary to make AXA both apologise AND put things right by way of covering all cost and due compensation for negligence. Do please believe me.
I look forward to you early reply.
Brian W Fisher..............
Since that time, I have had correspondence from both 'AXA' and Lloyds tsb (who provide my travel insurance as part of my Advantage gold account.
The 'ping-pong' between us has culminated with AXA's steadfast refusal to increase its derisory offer of compensation for negligence (£130) and 'Lloyds tsb have taken refuge behing the mountain of small print.
The question to be put to 'AXA' by those resonsible for regulating insurance companies, should be..."Why not act with moral fortitude instead of trying to defend an immoral stance?
Summary: Just stay clear of such companies.