Insurance battle costly for Maddie

Maddie and Sarah Collins have been fighting since Maddie was first diagnosed with a kidney...
Maddie and Sarah Collins have been fighting since Maddie was first diagnosed with a kidney disease in 2008. Now, they are fighting a different battle against an insurance company. PHOTO: GEOFF SLOAN
Thousands of dollars raised for Maddie Collins have been lost in a battle with an insurance company.

Since being diagnosed with nephrotic syndrome, a kidney disease, in 2008, the 15-year-old has received two different kidneys.

More than $150,000 has been raised for Maddie’s journey which has seen her travel both around the country and internationally in an attempt to find a kidney match.

In 2012, a kidney from her father was rejected by her body.

Maddie’s current kidney was donated in January last year and she is currently attempting to fight off infections in order to stop her body rejecting it.

Now, Maddie’s mother, Sarah Manson-Collins, says the family has been in battle with Aon New Zealand insurance, which has refused to pay out more than $3300 lost when Maddie’s current kidney became available.

Prior to getting the surprise news from Starship Hospital that it had found a matched kidney in January last year, the family had booked a trip to visit a specialist in Sydney, the following month.

The trip was for a consultation, to get a second opinion, as per medical advice.

Maddie was on dialysis at the time and Mrs Manson-Collins says “things were getting pretty dire.”

Mrs Manson-Collins had paid for full travel insurance for herself, her husband and Maddie for the trip to Sydney and declared to Aon that the trip was for a medical consult.

But the news came a month out from the trip that a kidney was available for Maddie at Starship Hospital, making the Sydney appointment no longer necessary.

Ms Manson-Collins then filed a claim to be paid out the money lost for her travel and accommodation expenses, about $3300.

But, the claim was denied, with Aon stating the trip had been for treatment, not consultation and therefore they were not covered for a refund.

“We had taken out what we thought was really comprehensive insurance; we had been fully upfront with Maddie’s medical issues. So when I went to make the claim they turned it down and said we were travelling for treatment and therefore not covered . .

. there is a big difference between a consult and treatment. Aon were staunch that a consult was treatment and therefore, tough luck.”

Ms Manson-Collins has taken her battle to Financial Services Complaints Ltd, an independent and impartial dispute resolution service, as she says the policy she was sold was not fit for purpose.

As part of FSCL’s investigation, Aon were required to also investigate the complaint. As a result, Aon said the claim was denied due to a section of her policy which specifically excludes claims arising as a result of a pre-existing medical conditions.

“We have reviewed the relevant correspondence and spoken to our staff who are of the view that they did not misrepresent the cover,” said the findings.

Said Aon marketing and communications Debbie Pigou: “While we appreciate the difficulty of the situation for the client, we are unable to comment on individual circumstances due to our confidentiality and privacy obligations.”

Following this, Ms Manson-Collins said she did not take the complaint further with FSCL because she was tired of fighting.

“At this stage, I couldn’t do any more fighting, I just don’t have the energy to battle. I tried and accepted defeat that we had lost thousands of dollars,” she said.

Chubb Insurance, which had underwritten the policy, also declined to comment.







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