Travel Insurance Claim
The family of drowned Indian student Aman Kumar are hopeful a travel insurance claim will be approved, But say they’re waiting on documents to arrive from New Zealand authorities.
Kumar, 20, drowned near Hastings on December 21. His body was repatriated to India nine days later, however the family feared paying for a $13,764 estimated bill from funeral home Terry Longley & Son.
Kumar had pre-arranged travel and medical insurance, compulsory for international students.
He was studying to be a pilot at Air Hawke’s Bay, and was due to finish in February.
He planned to return to India to work and repay his family his study costs.
While his insurance would likely cover the repatriation bill (a standard travel insurance claim in a case like this). The family was now wrangling to get documents together for Indian-based insurance company Religare Health Insurance so their claim could be approved.
Kumar’s sister Priyanka said the family had lodged a claim, but Religare wanted medical reports, a police investigation report, and full expense details.
His cousin Ajit Singh said the family was told some documents would be sent after January 7 due to the holidays.
Air Hawke’s Bay chief executive Kevin England said he was trying to ascertain exactly what documents Religare needed, as the family already had an interim coroner’s report and a death certificate.
“Whether that’s going to satisfy the travel insurance claim to the insurance company, I’m unsure. That’s where the confusion lies,” he said.
Religare was contacted for comment.
England also said a representative from the Accident Compensation Corporation (ACC) had verbally agreed to fund about $6,000 towards costs from its accidental death in New Zealand policy, however no ACC spokesperson was able to verify this to Stuff.
An ACC spokesman did, however, confirm that anybody who died in New Zealand accidentally would normally be eligible for the compensation.
The family originally believed the police were to blame for a delay in sending documents, however since then Inspector David Greig said only a coroner would be able to release what the family had requested.
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A coronial services spokeswoman said it was hard to predict how long any given inquiry would take.
“Every death reported to the coroner is different. Accordingly, coroners must consider evidence from a range of sources,” she said.
“It can take some time to complete these investigations. For example, it take can take several months or longer for the pathologist to provide the final post-mortem report depending on how complex the post-mortem examination was.”
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Coronial case managers support families during an inquiry, by keeping them informed of progress, she said.
While a family could make requests for information to be released by the coroner through their case manager, it was up to a coroner what was and was not released while a case was active.
Contact information for the coronial office dealing with Kumar’s case had been provided to his family, she said.
England said he would remain in contact with the family until all remaining formalities – including the insurance process – were completed.