Where’s the $10,954 travel insurance check for my canceled Overseas Adventure Travel tour? 

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By Christopher Elliott

Howard Gleckman’s wife breaks her ankle just before the couple is scheduled to embark on an Overseas Adventure Travel tour. But now their insurance check has been delayed five months. What’s going on?

Question

My wife and I purchased a tour to Tuscany for last October from Overseas Adventure Travel. For an additional fee, we also purchased cancel-for-any-reason insurance from their partner Allianz. 

We had to cancel a week before the trip began because my wife broke her ankle. We filed a claim with Allianz and received an email from the insurance company a month later stating it had completed its review and that “payment details” would be forthcoming from Overseas Adventure Travel.

But we never heard from Overseas Adventure Travel. When I called them, I was told we would receive a check in 45 days.

We received no check. I called again two months later and a representative told me we would receive a check within a month. The check still did not arrive. 

I called again. This time Overseas Adventure Travel changed its story. A rep told me Allianz had not completed its processing of our claim. The next month, I spoke with a representative at Allianz who confirmed that Allianz had indeed completed its processing of my claim three months ago. I informed a supervisor at Overseas Adventure Travel of this and was assured it would be resolved. But I never heard back from the company. 

I called again today and was told yet again I would receive a check next month.  

There are two issues. Overseas Adventure Travel, either through incompetence or deliberately, has delayed our refund for almost five months. 

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The second involves the travel insurance. I was surprised to learn that even though I paid a premium of $1,398 to Allianz, Overseas Adventure Travel and not me, is the beneficiary of the policy. Thus, it appears that Allianz paid Overseas Adventure Travel and it chose whether or not to pay me. If this is not illegal, it should be.

We would like the cost of the trip refunded to us, as promised. Can you help? — Howard Gleckman, Kensington, Md.

Answer

I’m sorry to hear about your wife and I hope she is all healed up by now. Insurance payments of this type should get processed within a month or two, so you should have received a check by now. 

I’ve been getting more complaints about these types of delays. With certain travel companies, when you buy travel insurance with your trip, the insurance payment goes to the company, which then pays you. (Technically, the product is a waiver that is adjudicated by a travel insurance company.) That can create a delay, especially when there’s a second approval process on the company’s side.

The solution? Buy your next travel insurance policy directly from a company like Allianz. That way, if you have to file a claim, it will pay you directly. 

But back to your problem. I list customer service contacts for Grand Circle (which owns Overseas Adventure Travel) on my consumer advocacy site, Elliott.org. I also have customer service contacts for Allianz

Why did your refund take so long? You were filing a claim during a busy time for both Allianz and Overseas Adventure Travel. My advocacy organization has been dealing with hundreds of delayed refund cases and insurance claims that dragged on. (Related: Should Overseas Adventure Travel cover my airfare for a canceled pretrip excursion?)

The best approach for resolving a tardy insurance claim is patience and persistence — two key elements of what readers have called the Elliott Method. I think you needed to let both companies know of your displeasure. Most of your follow-up communication happened by phone, and unfortunately, there’s no way for you to prove you made any of your calls unless you recorded them.

I’m also uncomfortable with these indirect payments. I don’t see any benefit to the consumer.

I contacted Overseas Adventure Travel on your behalf. A representative responded directly to me, blaming the delay on a “technical issue in the approved claims process between Allianz and Grand Circle.” You received your $10,954 check.

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Christopher Elliott

Christopher Elliott is the founder of Elliott Advocacy, a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization that empowers consumers to solve their problems and helps those who can't. He's the author of numerous books on consumer advocacy and writes three nationally syndicated columns. He also publishes the Elliott Report, a news site for consumers, and Elliott Confidential, a critically acclaimed newsletter about customer service. If you have a consumer problem you can't solve, contact him directly through his advocacy website. You can also follow him on X, Facebook, and LinkedIn, or sign up for his daily newsletter.

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