So you think you don't need travel medical insurance?


    BCAA Insurance & Travel Underwriters showcase the most common travel
    medical emergencies

    BURNABY, BC, Nov. 20 /CNW/ - Some people regard travel medical insurance
as an added expense or a luxury, but BCAA and its travel insurance provider
Travel Underwriters highlight how even small, unexpected medical emergencies
can lead to thousands of dollars in medical bills.
    Together they compiled a list of the top ten most common, real-life
medical claims, including the average cost a traveller would have to pay
out-of-pocket had they left home without travel insurance.-------------------------------------------------------------------------
                                                                Average cost
    Rank      Most common medical claims                             (CAD $)
    -------------------------------------------------------------------------
    1         Respiratory - pneumonia, asthma, bronchitis             $2,730

    2         Accident, injury                                        $2,110

    3         Digestion - stomach problems, food poisoning,
               ulcers, gallstones                                     $2,754

    4         Infection - skin, blood, ear                              $655

    5         Muscle-Bone-Ligament - sore back/shoulder/knee,
               tendonitis                                             $2,107

    6         Urinary - kidney stones, bladder, prostate              $1,453

    7         Skin - rash, sunburn, eczema, acne                        $650

    8         Dental                                                    $300

    9         Heart - heart attack, angina, palpitations,
               congestive heart failure                              $17,348

    10        Fracture                                                $6,078
    -------------------------------------------------------------------------
    Most common claims settled from BCAA clients between Jan-Dec 2006.
    Data not yet available for 2007 as some claims remain open."Respiratory problems are common in areas with bad air pollution or with
people who have developed pneumonia or bronchitis in their travels," says
Lorraine Bullock, BCAA Insurance Product Manager. "Accidents are also more
likely to happen when travellers are trying new or intense leisure activities,
such as skiing. Trying new and different international cuisine can also
trigger stomach upsets."
    Bullock also notes heart problems are the most expensive medical
emergency. "While an average claim in the heart category was $17,348, common
heart procedures in the U.S. could potentially cost travellers up to $40,000,
or $300,000 for quadruple bypass surgery," she says.
    Anyone who is planning to leave the country - even for a short hop over
the border - should place as much or more importance on planning for a medical
emergency as planning their itinerary.
    "Many people think they're adequately protected through their credit card
or an employer plan, but these often have limits," warns Kathy Starko,
President of Travel Underwriters. "For example, they may not protect your
spouse or children or apply to trips 30 days or longer. Some may also cap
coverage at $100,000 of medical expenses.
    "You can easily purchase additional travel insurance for coverage between
$1-5 million that will close any gaps in coverage and be customized to your
specific health requirements and travel needs."
    BCAA and Travel Underwriters recommends travellers consult the following
check-list when selecting travel insurance:Does your insurance provider offer the following?

    -   Access to a network of health providers, including top tier
        hospitals, doctors and nurses
    -   Incidental expenses such as telephone charges, renting wheel chairs
        and crutches
    -   An emergency 24-hour, toll-free number with a multilingual medical
        emergency assistance team
    -   Communication with a physician to ensure treatment is appropriate and
        medically necessary
    -   Coordination of up-front payment of covered medical services, where
        possible
    -   Transportation back to Canada or transportation of a companion to be
        at your bedside.Those who travel frequently can purchase an annual policy that offers the
convenience of one premium on multiple trips. It is often more economical than
purchasing several single trip policies. To find out which policy meets your
needs, speak with your local insurance agent advisor, or visit www.bcaa.com.

    About BCAA

    BCAA Insurance is one of the largest providers of home, auto, travel
medical and life insurance in B.C. BCAA insures over 100,000 homes in the
province and receives an 80 per cent total satisfaction rating with the
overall claims process - 40 per cent higher than the industry average. Each
year, BCAA sells more travel insurance than any other provider in B.C. To
learn more about the products and services offered by BCAA Insurance, visit
www.bcaa.com.

    Travel Underwriters

    Travel Underwriters, established in 1964, has grown in the past 43 years
to become one of Canada's Top Five specialty insurance providers and is the
purveyor of the largest single travel insurance program in Canada. Travel
Underwriters develops and administers a variety of travel insurance plans for
Canadian business and leisure travellers, visitors to Canada and international
students studying in Canada. Visit www.travelunderwriters.com for more
information.




For further information: Trace Acres, Director, Corporate
Communications, BCAA, Tel: (604) 268-5029, Cell: (604) 788-3753, Email:
trace.acres@bcaa.com; Karen Lee, Manager, Marketing Services, Travel
Underwriters, Tel: (604) 303-2143, Email: klee@tu-group.com