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Travel insurance fails as Phuket tourist faces B600k medical bill



PHUKET: Family and friends of New Zealander Sean Kenzie, who suffered extensive injuries after being knocked off his motorbike in Phuket, have launched a campaign to raise funds to pay his spiraling medical bills.

Mr Kenzie, 27, was involved in a collision with a taxi van in Patong last Saturday (June 30).

He suffered a split liver, two punctured lungs and broken ribs. His neck has already had surgery to reattach the muscles and jaw. He now needs further surgery to fix his jaw.

His medical bill to date is NZ$16,000 and rising. The surgery to correct his broken jaw will cost about NZ$8,000 – a total of more than 600,000 baht, explained Sean’s brother, Kane.

“I’d like to say thank you to everyone who has contributed to the cause, but we still have a long way to go,” Kane told the Phuket Gazette this morning.

“The NZ$16,000 is for surgeries that saved his life, but he also needs to fly back home and he’ll need doctors after he gets back,” he added.

According to the support group’s Facebook page, as of this morning just over NZ$2,500 had been raised.

“We’d really like to get our son home and get him well. We are hoping for the goodwill of other human beings,” Sean’s mother, Nadine Mouritsen, told the Gazette from her home in Napier, New Zealand.

Sean was returning to his hotel room in Patong when the accident happened. He arrived in Phuket the day before with his boss from Perth, Western Australia, where Sean lives and works.

He was wearing a helmet at the time of the accident, but doesn’t remember any details of what happened. “I checked into my hotel. I hired a little scooter; had a look around. The next thing you know, I was in here,” he told Channel 7 news from his hospital bed.

“I must have been hit from behind,” he added. Witnesses reported he was struck by a passenger van.

When his girlfriend, Amy Myles, arrived in Phuket the next day, Sean was in the intensive-care unit.

“If we had known that he wasn’t covered for a motorbike [accident], then he wouldn’t have hired one. He wouldn’t have been riding around on his first day,” said Amy.

“Sean paid more money to get the highest cover he thought was available to him. He was under the understanding that he was covered for everything,” she told reporters in New Zealand.

Sean’s mother and brother are likewise dumbfounded by the travel insurance policy specifically excluding medical expenses arising from motorbike accidents.

Mrs Mouritsen told the Gazette she was stunned that the policy, issued by a major travel insurance company and sold through the travel agent, did not cover injuries sustained in motorbike accidents – especially for people specifically travelling to Thailand.

“It seems so strange when it is the mode of transport for the country,” she said.

Kane explained that the policy, though sold as “full coverage”, had motorbike accidents set aside for “extra coverage” at extra expense.

“I understand a contract is a contract, but how you word it is critical. I have never been to Thailand but everyone knows motorbike accidents are common in Thailand. My first impression when you say ‘Thailand’ is motorbikes all jostling with each other to get in front.

“You would think motorbike insurance would be included when a policy is sold as ‘full coverage’, and that as an insurance company you would naturally include it…. Maybe they excluded it because it was costing them too much,” he said.

The Gazette notes that the slogan used by the travel insurance company is “…travel insurance you can trust…”

The effort to raise funds has been exhausting. “I haven’t slept for about two and a half days,” Kane told the Gazette this morning.

People wanting to make a donation can do so through Nadine Mouritsen’s New Zealand bank account with ANZ Bank (Account number: 11-6401-0087968-47), and through Jemma Tangohau’s Australian bank account with ANZ Bank (BSB: 014688; Account number: 454421766).


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Archiving articles from the Phuket Gazette circa 1998 - 2017. View the Phuket Gazette online archive and Digital Gazette PDF Prints.

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