Allianz Global Assistance Canada, a Kitchener based travel insurance company brings patients home with a flying ICU. The private jet is only for passengers picked up abroad after suffering a medical emergency. The aim is to get the patient to a hospital close to home.
Dan Keon, the vice president of market management at Allianz described it as a flying intensive care unit. Canadians on vacation with travel insurance who contacts Allianz following a serious illness will be directed to speak to an agent in the company’s call center at Kitchener. The company coordinates emergency assistance such as air ambulance from the Kitchener center.
Allianz will take the insured home, either through a commercial flight with a nurse escort or via a special jet with health care equipment and a medical team. According to Keon, the essence of the special jet facility is to create a similar environment that patient would have in a hospital.
Moreover, the crew will locate the nearest airport to land so as to provide the right care to the patient, if he becomes unstable during the flight. The air ambulance flies for four hours, afterwards, it needs to stop and refuel.
Up to 2 million Canadian travelers call Allianz every year for these services and the insurer arranges over 1,400 repatriations, 800 of which is via air ambulance. The insurer employs over 600 people in the Regional Municipality of Waterloo. Allianz coordinates most of its flights from the Caribbean and usually takes place during winter. However, it has repatriated Canadians home from all the continents of the world, with the exception of Antarctica.
The service comes handy in evacuating patients from an area with limited access to health care and taking them to the nearest center.
Also, the insurer has transported Canadians in various age brackets back home through the air ambulance. It aims at getting them to the nearest hospital in Canada if there is a bed. Keon added that it is much easier for patients to get better when their family and friends are close to them.
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