“Throughout March and April of 2020, as the COVID-19 pandemic was quickly spreading to countries around the world, the outbreak was drastically affecting nearly all major industries, and the travel industry was no exception. As governments began issuing travel warnings and advisories to help combat the spread, travel suppliers and operators were forced to cancel and reschedule much of their 2020 itineraries, leaving travelers with questions, concerns, and needs for assistance to navigate these unprecedented times.
These events resulted in major strains being placed on customer service teams throughout the insurance and travel provider industries. At IMG, we had a record amount of inquiries to our Customer Care team regarding the coronavirus. Requests ranged from cancellations and date changes to medical support and travel assistance cases.
During these challenging times, I was immensely proud of our Customer Care and Assistance teams as they consistently surpassed expectations via their willingness to go above and beyond to take care of our members. While handling record-high call volumes and requests, the teams continued to come up with innovative ways to ensure our members’ needs were met and often exceeded, all while seamlessly transitioning to remote work for their own safety. These events have shown that the importance of having a travel assistance provider has never been more crucial. In addition to the many online resources we have provided our members, including a dedicated Coronavirus Resource Page, the following are just a few stories of how IMG has continued to ‘Be There’ for our members during the coronavirus pandemic.”
- Cassie Brinkley, Chief Customer Officer
IMG experienced firsthand the spread and effects of the coronavirus while assisting a member who was on a cruise ship stricken with the virus. After the ship went to port in Asia, the member was transferred to a hospital for further testing. Meanwhile, the member’s traveling companion was required to stay on the cruise ship and self-quarantine in their room. The member notified IMG of their admission to the hospital and the ongoing situation with their companion. In addition to the illness and their separation, they were having many other difficulties such as spotty cell phone service, the inability to access medical records, and problems finding someone to translate properly. IMG’s nurses and assistance case workers were able to assist in all these areas by helping to locate medical records, sending them to the hospital, and appointing an advocate to help with further translation. IMG followed up regularly with the member until they had safely returned to their home.
Amid the travel warnings and cancelled flights caused by the pandemic, an IMG member found themselves extending their stay abroad for another several months while visiting family. Unfortunately, the member realized they did not have enough medication for this change in travel plans. After contacting IMG’s 24/7 assistance team, arrangements were made for the member that included a virtual visit with a local, in-network PPO facility to prescribe the required medication.
For some IMG members travelling for leisure, prolonging their stay by months was not an option. One IMG member had taken the first leg of their connecting flight to get home and, upon arrival, was alerted that their second flight had been cancelled as a result of the coronavirus pandemic. With limited technology resources and in a foreign country, the member called IMG’s Customer Care team for assistance. Although no particular plan benefits were triggered for coverage, the representative was able to assist the member with finding a new flight and help with the language barrier between the member and the airline representative at the airport so that they could safely return home.
The examples above are just a few of the many ways we've been assisting our members throughout these unprecedented times. If you are an IMG member and have questions regarding COVID-19 or how your plan may be affected, please visit our Coronavirus Resource Page.
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