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Saturday, March 7, 2015

craze for Skiing ~ and uninsured could land up spending lifetime earnings !

I had recently posted on the bizarre sport ‘volcano boarding’ that has taken off in Nicaragua, where travellers join $31 (£20) tours so they can enjoy sliding down enormous ashy slopes.

Skiing is a recreational activity and competitive winter sport in which the participant uses skis to glide on snow. Many types of competitive skiing events are recognized by the International Olympic Committee (IOC). Alpine skiing  is the sport or recreation of sliding down snow-covered hills on skis with fixed-heel bindings. It is characterized by the requirement for mechanical assistance getting to the top of the hill, since the equipment does not allow efficient walking or hiking.  Snowboarding is a recreational activity that involves descending a slope that is covered with snow while standing on a snowboard attached to a rider's feet. The snowboard is attached using a special boot set into a mounted binding.

Aside from being a fun day out for the family, the UK’s vast array of dry ski slopes and indoor snow centres provide the perfect opportunity for a pre-season warm up or to sample skiing or snowboarding the first time. With slopes across the country, from Glasgow to Hemel Hempstead, it's never been easier to visit  a  local centre, get fit and have heaps of fun, without the hefty price tag of travelling abroad.  Skiing is not only costly ~ it is in someways dangerous too !!!

In Dec 2013, Schumacher was skiing with his 14-year-old son Mick descending the Combe de Saulire in the French Alps.  In an unfortunate accident, he fell and hit his head on a rock, sustaining a head injury despite wearing a ski helmet. According to his physicians, Schumacher would most likely have died had he not been wearing a helmet.  Schumacher was put into a medically induced coma because of having suffered a traumatic brain injury.   In  mid-June 2014,  he was moved from intensive care into a rehabilitation ward and days later he was taken out of Grenoble Hospital for further rehabilitation at the University Hospital (CHUV) in Lausanne, Switzerland.  Couple of months  back, he was brought back to home for further rehabilitation. 

The cost of the treatment clearly is out of reach of most people – it is reported that it would be  £150,000 for a head injury and £80,000 for broken bones. US and Canada are most expensive countries for uninsured British holidaymakers to suffer a ski injury. 

A report in MailOnline mentions that British holidaymakers who hit the slopes in North America without proper insurance could break the bank if they suffer a serious injury.  The study examined the medical costs associated with winter sport injuries suffered by uninsured travellers abroad and identified the US and Canada the most expensive countries, with sky-high bills for those without travel coverage and found that treatment for a broken leg would cost a staggering £26,000 in the US (approximately USD$40,000) and almost £15,000 in Canada (approximately CAD$28,000).

It is stated that uninsured Britons who suffer a winter sport injury in the US and Canada face sky-high medical bills.  The average cost per claim for a winter sport injury suffered in the US and Canada is more than £11,000, according to the study commissioned by Allianz Global Assistance UK and the Ski Club of Great Britain. Of all the claims that were included in the study, the most expensive treatment covered by Allianz Global Assistance was for a head injury suffered in Canada, totalling more than £145,000 (nearly CAD$280,000) in medical and repatriation costs.

An  Underwriting Manager  of a big Insurance firm is quoted as saying - ‘We have analysed data from hundreds of claims from the past few years and the results are enough to give you a chill even when you're not on a ski slope. ‘The remainder of our top five costs were all from the USA, ranging from £33,000 to £81,000 for various bone fractures.’  Austria and Switzerland were named the third and fourth most expensive countries for medical assistance.  He further added that  an arm fracture suffered in the US would translate into a medical bill of nearly £41,000 (approximately USD$60,000).

The average cost per claim for a winter sport injury suffered in the US and Canada is more than £11,000. It is  stated that whilst  most skiers and snowboarders do of course return home in one piece, it doesn't take much to cause a serious, and seriously expensive, injury on the slopes.  The high costs of treatment  could leave an individual in financial difficulty if they did not have travel insurance to cover the bills on their behalf.  It could be a real false economy to cut out insurance to save a few pounds, and hence it would be prudent for those booking winter sports, to make sure they purchase good quality insurance to avoid being landed with any unaffordable medical bills. As with any type of insurance policy, individuals should read the details carefully to ensure it provides the cover they require.

F1 legend Michael Schumacher’s traumatic head injuries were caused by a GoPro camera mounted to his helmet when he fell in a December skiing accident, according to a new report. French journalist Jean-Louis Moncet said he has been in contact with Schumacher’s son, Mick, who passed on the latest development. “The problem for Michael was not the hit, but the mounting of the Go-Pro camera that he had on his helmet that injured his brain,” Moncet told a French radio station.  London’s The Telegraph reported earlier this year that the GoPro may have been an issue.

With regards – S. Sampathkumar

23rd Feb 2015.

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