Parlous state of SA’s ambulance services spurs growth in emergency medical support and evacuation as an insured solution
In South Africa where road accidents and crime are a daily occurrence and where public emergency services have proven unreliable and under-resourced, it is not hard to see why demand for emergency medical assistance and evacuation insurance has increased sharply. Calling a private ambulance service is typically the first and most important call to make when someone is facing a life-threatening situation that requires immediate medical care, stabilisation and evacuation to a hospital.
GENRIC Insurance Company says demand for its Evac24 solution has been on an upward trend for some time now, with employer groups, sporting clubs, community policing forums and ordinary citizens increasingly looking to secure the best possible response in a medical emergency. The last thing people want to worry about is the cost and availability of emergency support in a life-threatening crisis.
“The cost of an ambulance trip and life support is anywhere between R1500 and R5000, and while medical schemes may provide some cover to members for this service, it usually means you have to use the scheme’s designated private provider, which may not be the closest or best option in an emergency or remote area. Using a non-designated provider is likely to incur significant co-payments which you will be liable for. This cost is significantly more if a helicopter is required to airlift the patient to a medical facility. If you don’t have health insurance or belong to a medical scheme, the cost of the emergency medical support from a private provider will be entirely for your account – a significant and unplanned cost that many cannot afford. While people have the option to use provincial emergency services, there’s the risk of long delays or not pitching at all which can prove terminal in a life threatening situation,” explains Trent Sandiford CEO of Loyalty Life, an underwriting management agency which administers the Evac24 product and is underwritten by GENRIC Insurance company.
The parlous state of South Africa’s public health services and facilities, including emergency vehicles is well documented. A survey released by Bhekisisa, the Mail & Guardian’s Centre for Health Journalism¹, revealed that just 1971 state ambulance vehicles service the entire country, with a population of well over 55million – there are only enough state emergency vehicles to cater for about a third of the population according to the study.
In a medical emergency where every minute counts, people want the peace of mind that comes with an insured and affordable solution that links them with the largest fleet of ambulances and helicopters in the country. Access to the EVAC24 call centre will dispatch the closest ambulance to transport the patient to the most appropriate hospital to meet their needs, as well as provide guaranteed hospital acceptance up to R100 000 per person/event and cover any life support equipment required during the evacuation process up to R25 000.
“We are seeing significant demand for Evac24 from the likes of cycling, hiking and running clubs – participants are at high risk of being involved in serious accidents, getting injured and even falling victim to crime. Likewise, employer groups in heavy industry, trucking, transport, logistics and so on are using this solution to protect employees who are at higher risk for accidents, hijackings and armed robberies. A medical evacuation insurance product is one of the solutions in providing a safe working environment for employees and delivering on the employer’s duty of care in high risk industries – as well as protection against unexpected and onerous costs for emergency medical services, “ adds Trent.
Evac24 provides medical evacuation services nationally, 24/7/365 through an aggregator platform which means that a subscriber would have access via a call centre, tracking device or app to over 2500 providers of quality, private emergency medical services and evacuation, no matter where they find themselves in the SADC region. It also provides for a level of guarantee cover – this covers the cost of evacuation and admittance of the patient into a hospital facility for further emergency care and stabilisation.
“A solution like Evac24 does three important things – it provides peace of mind by providing access to the best possible care and response in an emergency, it protects you against unexpected and unaffordable costs for emergency medical support and evacuation, and most crucially, it can save your life or that of a loved one when mere minutes can make all the difference,” concludes Trent.
- Bhekisisa, https://bhekisisa.org/article/2018-12-11-00-how-many-ambulances-does-south-africa-have-ems-crisis/ [Accessed 4 Nov 2020]
- This article first appeared in abrbuzz.co.za and in accidents.co.za
Loyalty Life Management Services (Pty) Ltd is an authorised Financial Services Provider (FSP: 46160) Underwriting Agency for GENRIC Insurance Company Limited. GENRIC Insurance Company Limited (FSP 43638) is an authorised Financial Services Provider and licensed non-life insurer.