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321Cya

Swiss Valley: The truth behind the Air Glaciers Helicopter Insurance

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To all you jumpers out there that are going to visit the valley in the future.

I would like to address the 'real deal' behind the helicopter insurance that you can AND SHOULD buy for 30 Swiss Francs at the Air Glaciers Helicopter Rescue Station in the Valley. I recently got this explained to me by them and I believe that there are some misconceptions about this and thus giving a lot of jumpers a false sense of security .

1. If you end up needing helicopter rescue, the helicopter service WILL come and rescue you.

2. If you bought this insurance from them IT DOES NOT mean that they will pay for your rescue in full.

3. You should have your own insurance that covers heli rescues (repatriation I think it's called) and the additional insurance that you buy from Air Glaciers will only cover that part of the bill that your own insurance doesn't pay.

In practice this means:
When you get rescued by Air Glaciers, you WILL receive a bill at home. You should then send this bill to your insurance. They might then pay all and that's the end of it. But, according to Air Glaciers, insurance companies usually end up paying only a percentage of the bill (60%, if I remember correct) and in that case you can then send the remainder of the bill to the Air Glaciers. They will then sort that part out for you (if you bought their insurance that is).

Everybody should use their own judgement whether this is important to them. Getting in trouble financially because of a decision to not pay a small insurance fee would suck big time...

Think before you jump....and jump B|!

J.


PS: Tom, what about making this sticky for a while?

www.vandrunen.ch

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If a jumper has no medical or rescue insurance, would they be wasting their money on the Air Glacier Insurance?



I guess it's better to have something than nothing.

Having the Air Glaciers insurance will make you a member with them and that gives you rescue priority. I have seen a situation where a person was asked for the membership while hanging in a tree. The person was not and was then asked if climbing down was a possibilty :S.

Money-wise, having the insurance will at least increase your chances of getting any money at all.

J.

www.vandrunen.ch

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I think that is not totally correct!

Airglacie works like ALL insurances. After an accident they send you a bill which you should gave your private insurance(if you have some)...thats the normal way! When they said that they don´t pay bills like that, you send these answer to Airglacie and than the insurance will pay it all! When your Insurance pay 50% they pay the other half....

That is the normal way of every insurance wich have to pay in accidents!

But to fill out some forms and ask your private insurance is much better, than pay the complete rescue out of your pocket....and that means 3000 to 4000 Euro only for a rescue-hour!

If you ask me, I like to fill out some forms and send it from A to B and pay nothing in the end...only stamps.;)

bbc.mirko

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I have seen a situation where a person was asked for the membership while hanging in a tree. The person was not and was then asked if climbing down was a possibilty :S



I'm not quite sure I understand the ':S' icon. It seems like a perfectly valid thing to ask if you don't have membership. If a person hasn't paid his dues, any help is a free bonus. Be grateful if you get it, and quiet if you don't.

Especially in a sport like BASE jumping, where an insurance system doesn't work well to begin with...

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When they said that they don´t pay bills like that, you send these answer to Airglacie and than the insurance will pay it all!



Does that mean that you need to have your own private insurance in order to get a letter of rejection (answers) to send to Air Glaciers, or is simply having no private insurance enough for them to pay you out as long as you're a member with them?

J.


PS: Will you bring some of that 'magic' German stuff again next time you're over :S?

www.vandrunen.ch

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If you were there and had seen the position of the jumper at the time you would understand the ':S' icon.



Ah, I see. I misinterpreted the smiley as if to say: "How dare they ask somebody without membership to take care of their own rescue? Everybody deserves a rescue..." whereas you meant: "It was quite obvious there was no way he would be able to climb down by himself."

Sorry. Thanks for the clarification! I get a little hung-up on this (no pun intended), since so many people take rescue and health-care for granted.

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From what the guy told me when I purchased my insurance I gathered this.

You spend 25USD (30 Swiss Franks) (Cash, you can't use Credit Cards and is good for 1 year), if you require rope (we had someone go into a tree while I was there but the helicopter wasn't necessary for rescue) or helicopter rescue, you will first attempt to have your insurance pay for the rescue. If they pay a portion, AG will take care of the rest. If your insurance pays nothing you have to give AG documented proof you made an attempt to have your insurance pay and were denied. After they received documentation you are free and clear. You pay nothing.

If you do not have personal insurance of any kind, AG insurance does nothing for you. You will have to pay the entire bill. Except like previously said they may give you rescue priority. Even if you do not have any personal insurance it as least gives AG warm and fuzzies to know you have their insurance.

Either way, it is extremely cheap and stupid not to purchase it. Plain and simple.

Coco

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So what if my insurance doesn't cover anything?



Then you might want to consider a new insurance company :P


Today I was shown a section that I think was copied from the policy of the REGA (a similar organisation like AG) that stated that even if your own insurance pays nothing they will surely (try to) pay out something as long as you are a member. Obviously, by having your insurances sorted (both private and AG) you can save yourself lots of grief.

Take in mind that in my initial post I simply try to explain what the AG themselves told me. The exact details of what happens when a rescue is needed followed by a bill and claim will differ per person depending on their own insurance situation. Best way to find out is to call them yourself on +41 33 8 560 560 (they speak perfect english). For more general information you can also have a look here http://www.airglaciers.ch/lauterbrunnen/airglaciers.htm (only in German)

J.

www.vandrunen.ch

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just for clarification: REGA is a swiss organization, of which Air Glacier is a part. they have an office in Saanen (Gstaad), in Lauterbrunnen and one more (i forgot where).

from what i had understood, they will pay ALL remaining rescue cost for members that their own /other insurances (credit card, AAA, health insurance, whatever) have not covered. now you have put a doubt in my mind, i will go back and look at the small print of what happens when you don't have any insurance. does not apply for me, but i can well imagine that my ADAC insurance (german AAA) will give me a hard time for paying for a basejump-heli-rescue...
flummi
* Respekt - ist uns're Aufgabe (fanta4) *

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I'm sure the BASE balance (memberships vs rescues) looks very bad compared to the other mountain sports.
One of the main occupation of air galcier is pulling jumpers out of the trees do to low pulls. I'm sure this happens more then every second weekend in LB during the main season. I guess this would be around 10 treelanding rescues this year.
Then two helicopter recoveries this year (for the third fatality no helicopter was needed) and another maybe 5 helicopter rescues for do to insuries.
- Treelanding around CHF 2500.--
10 x 2500.-- = CHF 25'000.--
- Recoveries around CHF 4000.--
2 x 4000.-- = CHF 8000.--
- Rescues around CHF 6000.--
5 x 6000 = 30'000

Total CHF 63'000.--
Devided by the membership (CHF 30.--) = 2100

And I'm sure not more then 200 jumpers (CHF 6000.--) pay the membership which means that around 57'000.-- has to come from other members.
That is why it is important that everyone that got the service of Air Glacier tries to get his own insurance to pay a part of it.
Because if not, the day will probably come that Air Glacier will not allow BASE Jumpers the membership anymore.

Edit to add: this is only an estimate, but I think the real numbers would even look worse for us.
And
1 CHF = 0.83 USD
Michi (#1068)
hsbc/gba/sba
www.swissbaseassociation.ch
www.michibase.ch

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Then you might want to consider a new insurance company



Exactly my point. I believe insurancies either cover the costs of a rescue (minus a couple hunderd bucks which is own risk, no idea wha the English name is) or they don't.

So if you get an insurance that covers the cost, you're getting an insurance (AG) for your insurance. This particularly, sounds weird to me.

If you get an insurance that doesn't cover it, in theory, airglacier doesn't pay. Because if they do, there's no point in getting insurance and AG ticket will do.

Am I still not getting something? :S

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Mikki replied apparently quite close,

but take into account for example locals who are multi-activity people, how would you split their payment ? by number of activities? percentage in practice time? level of risk ? by the activity the person was thinking about when contracting the insurance ? :P
scissors beat paper, paper beat rock, rock beat wingsuit - KarlM

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It is as Flummi said:
If you are a Member they will pay either the part that your insurance does not pay or everything if your insurance does not pay anything at all.
In case that your insurance refuses to pay anything at all you still need a letter from the insurance that confirms that they are not going to pay. Air Glacier or Rega need this to have a proof that an effort has been made to get something from your insurance. And that is where the problem is. If you don't have any insurance then you won't get this approval letter and Air Glacier of Rega will continue to try to get the money from you because they will assume that you did not try to get your insurance to pay for your rescue.
But in my honest opinion, if someone is a BASE Jumper and do not have any insurance he is extremely stupid and should not be jumping.
And as mentioned before, it is better for us BASE Jumper if Air Glacier/Rega don't have to pay everything every time there is a rescue because it is possible that they will exclude BASE jumping from there list.
Michi (#1068)
hsbc/gba/sba
www.swissbaseassociation.ch
www.michibase.ch

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So if you get an insurance that covers the cost, you're getting an insurance (AG) for your insurance.



this is called "secondary" insurance in the US. most additional insurance plans have a clause saying which is primary. for example, if you purchase the add-on insurance with a car rental, will it pay first or will your private insurance? if someone hits you, the other driver's insurance should pay first, but yours should pay if necessary...
DON'T PANIC
The lies in learning how to throw yourself at the ground and miss.
sloppy habits -> sloppy jumps -> injury or worse

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