• 40001 Australians are admitted to hospital every year when travelling
  • Indonesia and Thailand are the most common destinations requiring urgent medical assistance1
  • $1.5 million – the most expensive repatriation claim handled by an Allianz nurse in 20181
  • 155 medical emergencies required an air ambulance to Australia in 20181

Ahead of International Nurses Day on May 12, Allianz Travel Insurance  has revealed details of its most expensive claims that in 2018, saved one lucky Australian 1.5 million dollars1 in medical expenses, thanks to an in-house team of repatriation nurses.

Repatriation is the process of returning a policyholder back to Australia as a result of extreme, and often life-threatening, sickness or injuries that have occurred while overseas.

Surprisingly, incidents like these are not uncommon. Last year, Allianz policyholders required 1551 repatriations while travelling. Incidents included viral meningitis, severe burns, rabies infected dog bites, monkey bites and care for an infant born prematurely at 27 weeks. Common ailments include gastroenteritis, and respiratory conditions. 

Allianz is one of the only Australian insurance providers to offer an in-house repatriation service, made possible by a team of 26 highly skilled nurses. Their specialities include aeromedical, emergency, intensive, and paediatric care.

Each case starts over the phone, whereby initial medical advice is given. In extreme cases, repatriation may be deemed necessary to provide sufficient levels of medical care to the patient.

Ben Middleton, Medical Assistance Manager for Allianz Partners comments: “18,000 people contact the Allianz Global Assistance Medical Assistance Team each year regarding a medical condition or injury while overseas. Of these, approximately 4,000 are admitted to hospital and in the most extreme cases we may need to repatriate people back home to Australia or New Zealand. We do this by Air Ambulance or on an escorted commercial flight.”

Wendy Keating, an Allianz repatriation nurse, comments: “When supporting patients through repatriation missions, it’s never a clear-cut situation. Different complications can arise at any time, and as a repatriation nurse you have to be prepared to deal with a multitude of complications- sometimes all at once! This results in reflection of clinical practice and having to think outside of the box.”

Despite an increase in travellers needing medical assistance, new data shows the vast majority of Australians still purchase travel insurance within 4 weeks of travel or at the time of departure1.

The findings come ahead of International Nurses Day, which is celebrated every year on the anniversary of world famous nurse Florence Nightingale’s birth, May 12, and recognise the contributions nurses make to society.


1 Allianz Global Assistance owned data.