AN insurance company has hit out at suggestions it could have paid out to a policy holder left paralysed after a diving accident in Turkey.
Steelworker Michael Lonergan broke his neck by diving into the sea last Thursday. The refusal of his insurers to pay out has left his family with a £43,000 bill for medical expenses and flying the 30-year-old dad of two home to South Wales by air ambulance.
A spokesman for the British insurance industry defended the decision and said: “We’re sorry but we seem to have been mistaken for somebody who gives a shit.”
Mr Lonergan’s father, 50-year-old factory worker John of Maesteg, claimed his son’s insurers had ‘washed their hands of the case,’ while the family’s MP, Huw Irranca Davies criticised the company for ‘showing no compassion.’
But the industry insists such statements are unhelpful and encourage people to believe that should they pay insurance premiums, or take out specific cover such as holiday protection, they would be taken care of should something go wrong.
A spokesman for Mr Lonergan’s insurance underwriters, ETI Travel Protection said with a straight face: “It is vitally important that members of the public who are travelling abroad act responsibly and as if they were uninsured.”
An industry insider said it was a common misconception that insurance cover is intended to cover worst case scenarios or even bad luck: “When the dippy bird at the travel agent asks you if you’d like to take out travel insurance, and says something such as ‘just in case, something goes wrong,’ it’s really just a sales pitch. If we actually paid out on these policies we wouldn’t make as much money as we’d like to.”