/ DogTag Insurance Problems and Warning

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mikecollins 11 Jun 2019

Not sure if this is the best forum to post this but just wanted to draw peoples attention towards a number of problems that I have had with Dog Tag insurance, and which climbers should be aware of.  The implications of this is that climbers may not be adequately covered whilst rock climbing and specifically may not have personal accident or personal liability cover.

Let me start by saying that I have taken out annual multi-trip insurance, with Dog Tag, for the last 3 years and have previously been really happy with their service (although I have never had to make a claim). 

This year I renewed my policy and checked the details and limitations of the policy to ensure that I had adequate cover for rock climbing and mountaineering.  I based this assessment on the information that was provided on their website under the Sports section where they list each sport and any specific limitations or requirements.  For Rock Climbing and Mountaineering, there were not specific limitations other than "Must wear or use protective or safety equipment common or appropriate to that sport".

Once I purchased my policy, I received the policy wording document and checked it carefully.  Under the policy that I had purchased it detailed the following:

---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
NOTE; Where these symbols appear after a particular sport, the relevant restrictions apply:
* = No Personal Accident or Personal Liability Cover
** = Must wear or use protective or safety equipment common or appropriate to that sport
 

Climbing (mountaineering) up to 3,000m **;
Mountaineering up to 4,000m **;
Rock Climbing under 4,000m *, **;
---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

First and foremost, it is clear from this wording that Rock Climbing does not include and personal accident or liability cover which is really concerning and contrary to what was displayed on the companies website.  Secondly, there is considerable ambiguity between what is considered "Climbing (mountaineering)" and what is considered "Rock Climbing".

I emailed dogtag on 20/05 to query this and got no reply.  I then rang the customer services number (0800 036 4824)  four times (29/05, 04/06, 05/06 and 11/06).  Each time I rang I had to explain my problem fully (they didn't seem to have any way of recording details or complaints / concerns), which took, on average 45 minutes. Each time they assured me that my concern was being dealt with and that I would be contacted soon.

Today, after spending 1 hour 10 minutes on the phone to a very helpful gentleman, I discover that the contact number for Dog Tag actually takes you through to a call centre (Travel Insurance Facilities plc) who sell insurance for a number of different companies.  I also discovered that they do not have any direct method of contacting the directors of Dog Tag, other than via email, and whilst my original email was passed onto the company director, a number of my other calls appear to have been dismissed entirely. Some of the call centre staff were really helpful but others fobbed me off and mislead me.

Assuming that my original email was passed along promptly, the directors of Dog Tag have had my concern for over 22 days and have not bothered to respond.  One of the call centre staff also emailed them on the 04/06 but again, received no reply.

More concerning, it seems that these limitations may have been in place since I took out my originally policy 3 years ago.  At that time, I contacted the director of the company about the same situation and he informed me that he had discussed my concerns with the underwriters and they had agreed that it was illogical i.e. rock climbing and mountaineering where essentially the same thing and shouldn't have different limitations on them.  He assured me that personal accident or liability cover was including if one were to have an incident whilst rock climbing.  It turns out, if the policy documentation is true, that this is not the case and for three years I have not had any accident protection. 

I'm sure I can claim a refund as the policy appears to have been mis-sold but I would perfect to have this matter resolved and clarified as it has implications for others.  I have recommended this company to a large number of friends and family over the last 3 years and it concerns me deeply that they may not have been covered for the activities that they were undertaking (usually rock climbing).

It also annoys immensely that this company has so little regard for its customers.   Its a real pity because previously, their service was excellent.

EuanM 11 Jun 2019
In reply to mikecollins:

Thanks for highlighting.

I’ve used them for the past 3 years but never had to claim or have any interaction with the company.

They’ve always been suspiciously cheaper than the BMC and Snowcard. 

Andy Hardy 11 Jun 2019
In reply to mikecollins:

Well done for highlighting this. Bump.

(On a slight tangent I'd say mountaineering is different from plain rock climbing, since there's all that nasty snow and ice to deal with 😉)

3
spenser 12 Jun 2019
In reply to EuanM:

Does the BMC'S travel insurance include personal accident cover and third party liability? I was of the understanding that it was dependent on already having third party liability via being a BMC member and that personal accident cover (i.e. loss of earnings and costs relating to home adaptations necessary after a serious accident) was only provided by being an individual BMC member.

Might your issue be a misunderstanding of what "personal accident cover" actually is? I had always thought that travel insurance was intended to allow you to be returned to the UK and receive immediate care, not to deal with long term after effects (equally I might be wrong).

David Barlow 12 Jun 2019
In reply to spenser:

From their website: https://www.dogtag.co.uk/medical/cover/

B6. PERSONAL LIABILITY

B7. PERSONAL ACCIDENT

• Death (aged 18 & over)

• Death (aged 17 & under)

• Permanent loss of sight or limb

• Permanent total disablement (aged 18 & over)

• Permanent total disablement (aged 17 & under)

And the policy (for example https://www.dogtag.co.uk/media/1775/dogtag_base_pw_2019.pdf but it depends on which policy level you buy) gives more details. Though this policy document refers to B.7 as Personal liability when it should be B.6, and B5 is wrong too... but I've only looked at this policy doc. You need to check the correct policy document for the policy level.

>>>

Accidental death and disability benefit (Policy B Section 5) 

We will pay: a single payment as shown on your summary of cover: £10,000 → £10,000 → £10,000 → {for various injuries/death)....

BE AWARE! This is a one-off lump sum benefit for the death or very serious incapacity, as specified, of an insured person when this is solely caused by an accident occurring during the period of insurance. It is quite separate from costs covered under the medical section. (* Where you are not in paid employment or occupation, this shall be defined as ‘all your usual activities, pastimes and pursuits of any and every kind’). No cover is provided under this section for: • anything mentioned in the conditions and exclusions (page 13). • any payment for permanent disablement when your age is under eighteen (18) or over seventy (70).

Personal liability (Policy B Section 7)

We will pay: up to £2,000,000 plus costs agreed between us in writing:

For:  any amount incurred due to an event occurring during the period of this insurance that you are legally liable to pay that relates to an incident caused directly or indirectly by you and that results in:

- injury, illness or disease of any person.

- loss of, or damage to, property that does not belong to you or any member of your family and is neither in your charge or control nor under the charge or control of any member of your family.

- loss of, or damage to, trip accommodation which does not belong to you or any member of your family.

Provided: 

• your excess has been paid or deducted from any settlement.

•liability for loss of, or damage to, property or injury, illness or disease is not caused or suffered by: - your own employment, profession or business or anyone who is under a contract of service with you, acting as a carer, whether paid or not, or any member of your family or travelling companion or is caused by the work you or any member of your family or travelling companion employ them to do. - your ownership, care, custody or control of any animal.

• compensation or any other costs are not caused by accidents involving your ownership, possession or control of any: - land or building or their use either by or on your behalf other than your temporary trip accommodation, mechanically propelled vehicles and any trailers attached to them, aircraft, motorised skis, motorised waterborne craft or sailing vessel, firearms or incendiary devices

mikecollins 12 Jun 2019
In reply to David Barlow:

Thanks to both of you for you input. Im not an expert on anything, let alone insurance. 

I guess my real concerns were:

a) there is a lot of ambiguity between the various classification of activities,

b) there are clearly some ommissions / mistakes in the policy documents (indicated by both myself and what David found) which have considerable potential implications, and

c) it seems impossible to make contact with the actuall company since the contact number takes you to a call centre who act as brokers for a number of different companies and they themselves cannot make contact with dogtag. 

None of this inspires confidence in this company. 

I am not one who quickly jumps on the social media ‘soap-box’ to try and bad mouth companies. I try and give everyone the benefit of doubt. 

But when it comes to something as critical and complex as insurance for adventurous activities, I expect to be able to have my queries answered and not have to wait 23 days, email 3 times, ring 5 times, and waste over 5 hours on the phone. 

ewanjp 12 Jun 2019
In reply to mikecollins:

Cheers for this - my wife and I have been with them 3 years. Looks like snowcard will be getting our money this year!

It's all a bit unclear really - scrambling says "Must wear or use protective or safety equipment common or appropriate to that sport" - what would that be?  A pair or boots or fully roped up?

Also what's the difference between scrambling and mountaineering?

Howard J 12 Jun 2019
In reply to mikecollins:

I can recognise the difference between "rock climbing" and "mountaineering" but how does "climbing (mountaineering" differ from either?  The insurers clearly think there is a difference as they impose different altitude restrictions.

Exclusion of personal accident cover for rock climbing is worrying.

What do they mean by "Must wear or use protective or safety equipment common or appropriate to that sport".  Must you always wear a helmet?  It clearly rules out soloing, but what about scrambling to get to a route.  Someone going to do a hard route might solo a VS or harder to get to it.  To a non-climber, even the easy ways down at Stanage might look like climbs requiring the use of protective or safety equipment.

The more ambiguity in a policy, the more opportunities for the insurer to wriggle out of paying, especially when their own director doesn't understand what his own policies are providing.  

olddirtydoggy 12 Jun 2019
In reply to mikecollins:

We've used Dogtag for all of our trips over the last few years. Unless a change is made in the policy wording we won't be using them again.

I just don't get why they would pull a dumb stunt like this knowing climbers will be booking policies with them thinking they have cover. It's only a matter of time before they get caught out and then it gets sprayed all over the web. The climbing communities are very well connected so if that's how they will be running their business then *$%&! them!

olddirtydoggy 12 Jun 2019
In reply to mikecollins:

Dumped a link on their Facebook page. Important that people know about this. Many thanks to the OP for highlighting this.

gooberman-hill 12 Jun 2019
In reply to David Barlow:

I've just checked my Dogtag insurance docs (Dec 2018), and for me section B7 is the Personal Liability section.

I don't see anything excluding Personal liability while rock climbing in my document set - it does talk about the appropriate safety equipment, and it insists that the premium has been paid.

Steve

PS. I think we crossed paths at NLMC back in about 94. I went off to Plymouth to do a PhD then got married and went double-barrelled! 

In reply to mikecollins:

Very interesting regarding safety equipment. I'd have never thought soloing might leave me high and dry if I got injured. What about a highball boulder?

Dax H 12 Jun 2019
In reply to mikecollins:

Take things up with the insurance ombudsman.  We contacted them when the wife was screwed over by her car insurance and they sorted it out very quickly. 

mikecollins 13 Jun 2019
In reply to purplemonkeyelephant:

> Very interesting regarding safety equipment. I'd have never thought soloing might leave me high and dry if I got injured. What about a highball boulder?

They specifically exclude any type of soloing, although, again, it is ambiguous - would the normal approach to a climb be considered soloing? 

mikecollins 13 Jun 2019
In reply to gooberman-hill:

> I've just checked my Dogtag insurance docs (Dec 2018), and for me section B7 is the Personal Liability section.

> I don't see anything excluding Personal liability while rock climbing in my document set - it does talk about the appropriate safety equipment, and it insists that the premium has been paid.

If you look closely at the policy document there are a number of places where it states:

"Your policy covers certain activities, either as standard or for an additional premium. To understand what is available please refer to the "Dogtag Hazardous Activities' document provided separatley to your policy wording."

This footnote is placed beside the actual areas that it affects / applies to but is included at several points throughout the policy document.  This secondary document is located in the same download are (covered-hazardous-sports-v2.pdf) and is where I identified the problems that I mentioned in my OP.

mikecollins 13 Jun 2019
In reply to olddirtydoggy:

> Dumped a link on their Facebook page. Important that people know about this. Many thanks to the OP for highlighting this.


I was in two minds about doing this - I figured that the company directors might be on holiday or ill or something.  But good on you for doing this - its interesting that there has been no response.  Maybe the core company has just disappeared and all that is left is the call centre sales team.

Really disappointed with the lack of customer services from the actual dogtag company - the call centre team are very helpful but they have limited means of communicating with the actual company and are essentially sales brokers for them.

tjdodd 13 Jun 2019
In reply to mikecollins:

I needed to arrange insurance for a trip to Greenland this week.  I needed clarification on cover as it is for a remote trek.  No response from DogTag but the Director of Snowcard got back to me the same day asking for more info and I subsequently got the final info I needed a few hours later.  So even if DogTag would have been cheaper the customer service from Snowcard gives me confidence in the cover and support they will provide if needed. 

mikecollins 13 Jun 2019
In reply to tjdodd:

Well I'm upto 24 days now waiting for a response.  

olddirtydoggy 13 Jun 2019
In reply to mikecollins:

Now something has gone on Facebook the director Mike Welby has contacted a climber on here. Seems when something goes viral, interest in customer relations becomes important.

gooberman-hill 13 Jun 2019
In reply to olddirtydoggy:

Is there anything you can share from the director who has contacted someone on this forum?

Steve

Jamie Wakeham 13 Jun 2019
In reply to mikecollins:

Wait - have they just deleted the post that was made on Facebook? I saw it a while ago and meant to go back to add a comment when I had a moment spare... and now it seems to be gone. That's really quite sinister in my book, and pushes me much further towards not trusting them.

I've used dogtag exclusively for years and years, but unless this is cleared up I'll be going elsewhere from now on.

Post edited at 19:20
mikecollins 13 Jun 2019
In reply to gooberman-hill:

No ones contacted me!

mikecollins 13 Jun 2019
In reply to Jamie Wakeham:

> Wait - have they just deleted the post that was made on Facebook?

post is still on FB  

olddirtydoggy 13 Jun 2019
In reply to gooberman-hill:

Here's a simple message he sent to a friend of mine via email>

"Just wanted to acknowledge your Facebook message and thanks for the link to the UK Climbing forum. I am looking into it now."

I can try to get his direct email if anyone wants it (assuming he'll give it to me). I'm not dumping it on a public forum but it seems there are customers here who might have a few issues. I'm told a reply was sent to the director urging some clarification in some pretty straight language.

To see the Facebook post and have your say simply go to their page, click 'posts' on the left hand menu and on the right hand side are the 'visitor posts'. The top post is where the complaint is.

We're off to Switzerland in August and unless there's something from the Dogtag camp there's no way I'm renewing. Again, big thanks to the OP for bringing this to light.

Jamie Wakeham 13 Jun 2019
In reply to olddirtydoggy:

> To see the Facebook post and have your say simply go to their page, click 'posts' on the left hand menu and on the right hand side are the 'visitor posts'. The top post is where the complaint is.

On my phone, if I hit 'posts' all I get are posts made by DT themselves.  If I hit 'community' I get to the page where I had seen the complaint before - but a while ago it wasn't being shown to me.  The first post there was from someone called Lian who likes their buff.  I've just refreshed, and now it is back.

On my PC, I can't even get to the 'community' page - I get a message saying 'The link you followed may have expired, or the Page may only be visible to an audience that you aren't in.'

This is quite odd - although I am quite prepared to believe it's Facebook oddness rather than DogTag playing silly b*ggers!

gooberman-hill 14 Jun 2019
In reply to olddirtydoggy:

Thanks for chasing this up - this is really worrying stuff and I'm wondering whether I need to cancel my policy and get an alternative in the next month before heading off (with the family) to the Alps

Steve

jonchitt 14 Jun 2019
In reply to spenser:

> Does the BMC'S travel insurance include personal accident cover and third party liability? I was of the understanding that it was dependent on already having third party liability via being a BMC member and that personal accident cover (i.e. loss of earnings and costs relating to home adaptations necessary after a serious accident) was only provided by being an individual BMC member.

Jon from the BMC here

Eligibility for BMC insurance is dependent on being a BMC member. Being a BMC member gives you £15 million combined liability and £10k accident insurance for core BMC activities, regardless of any travel insurance policy that you might take out. Travel insurance policies give you an additional £2 million personal liability cover which may extend to additional activities depending on the cover type.

I hope that helps!

janegallwey 15 Jun 2019
In reply to mikecollins:

I contacted dogtag after reading this and have received a response stating they are looking into this issue and are aware of the thread. I have used them for years and have generally been very happy with the service but this particular issue is worrying. 

mikecollins 16 Jun 2019
In reply to janegallwey:

Like I said at the start of my OP, and at a number of points throughout, I have also used them for a number of years and been happy. However my only real interaction with them, previously, has been to renew my insurance annually. I like the company in general. 

But what is really p@£sing me off is that there customer services is now outsourced and thus ineffective. And as such, it’s impossible to contact the “real dogtag”. If feels like, as the company has expdanded and become more successful (now providing insurance in the States), they have ceased to care for their customers base. 

Plus, I emailed dave (MD of dogtag) 3 years ago about this very issue and he told me it was resolved. 

Final note - the call centre that you speak to when you call the 0800 number have been telling me the same thing they told you, for the past 27 days. 

ewanjp 16 Jun 2019
In reply to mikecollins:

I can only hope they decide to make a statement sooner rather than later. I was going to renew our couple insurance come the 19th July - at the moment snowcard are getting my money...

Post edited at 09:31
tjdodd 16 Jun 2019
In reply to mikecollins:

Yes, still waiting for a response to my very simple query for a week now.  It really gives little confidence in the company if they cannot respond promptly to a simple question in a timely manner.  What will they be like if you have a claim?  Anyway, gone elsewhere now.

On a wider point, it is interesting how despite the ease with which negative comments about a company can be disseminated by social media these days, companies in general seem to value customer service less and less. It seems their approach is a rush to the bottom as they know everyone else is just as bad.  Lets hope that those (seemingly few) companies with excellent customer service ultimately win out.

Mike Cluer 16 Jun 2019
In reply to mikecollins:

Question?

Has anyone actually made a claim with Dogtag? It's ok saying you're happy with their service, but all insurance companies regardless what they are for are great at taking your money but the paying out is a different thing. The devil is in the small print which clearly you are finding out with Dogtag.

janegallwey 16 Jun 2019
In reply to Mike Cluer:

Yes I had to make a decent sized claim for rebooking flights to Greenland a few years ago with them and they were very easy and pleasant to deal with, claim was paid straight away. This was what had given me (possibly false) faith in their services.

Will see how this issue pans out and glad you’ve brought it to our attention, hopefully they will clarify soon or else I will be finding alternatives for the next trip.

Jamie Wakeham 16 Jun 2019
In reply to Mike Cluer:

I had to deal with an awkward situation a year ago - my wife and I had insurance for a two week climbing trip to Morocco, but she had a medical condition suddenly emerge that caused us to have to delay everything by a few days.  Rang DogTag and explained, and they were perfectly helpful in shifting all of our dates along.  They also agreed that, as the insurance was already in force, this wouldn't be considered a pre-existing condition for the purposes of this trip, meaning that if it recurred whilst we were out there we'd be covered for dealing with it.

As the cost of moving our flights and hotel bookings was less than the excess, I didn't make any claim.

olddirtydoggy 16 Jun 2019
In reply to mikecollins:

I'm interested to hear from members who have been through an emergency whilst away.

On a side note, we've had to ditch them for our renewal and gone elsewhere for our next trips. As we're away more, we've gone for an annual policy. What a shame.

Offwidth 16 Jun 2019
In reply to mikecollins:

People need to think hard on what they need out of their insurance. Spending money on something cheap that might not cover climbing accidents looks plain dumb to me. Those claiming great service from such insurers,  based on cancellation cover, are in cloud cookoo land... you don't need climbing insurance for that. You need to look at track record in dealing with climbing accidents. BMC, AAC with the top-up, and Snowcard all meet these needs but none are cheap.

My BMC membership covers third party liability (I'm amazed and bemused that some club members and non BMC individuals with significant assets, like a house, are still happy to climb with no cover in this regard, given how litigious accidents have become). I buy BMC travel insurance as 'it means what it says on the tin' (as illustrated a couple of years back by the Dolomites incident, where I wonder if any other insurance arrangement would have covered that; ... given that by deciding to charge, the rescue services had implied incompetence). There are circumstances, especially due to things like home office travel bans where I can see where an alternative insurance provider might be required, by necessity for UK travel bans, a provider which is non UK based.

People complain about costs of BMC insurance to the US but the cost risks are huge as their emergency hospital system is hugely expensive and highly inflationary so,  compared to anywhere else in the world. Anything much cheaper is either not providing proper cover or will have a very aggresive loss adjusting process or is taking a hit and will change soon. Others complain about punter snow sport cover but I really don't want an already necessarily expensive climbing and mountaineering policy becoming more expensive still due to mass claims from on piste snowboarding and skiing (as was seemingly the case before the changes). I prefer another insurance provider takes those risks. 

A final reason to buy BMC is any profits go into their good work in the UK.

Post edited at 14:45
mikecollins 19 Jun 2019
In reply to Jamie Wakeham:

Just what you would expect from any travel insurance though. 

tjdodd 20 Jun 2019
In reply to tjdodd:

Just for completeness and fairness, Dogtag have now responded to my request (after about a week).  To give them their due they said they have been in contact with their underwriters which I expect would take a little time. Unfortunately they could not insure me due to the route being non-popular and remote which is fair enough.  But at least they looked into it and have been honest.

For info the hiking route I am doing is the Arctic Circle Trail in Greenland and I am doing it precisely since it is non-popular and remote (I am hoping for 11 days of complete isolation and getting away from people).  SnowCard are insuring it.

mikecollins 24 Jun 2019
In reply to mikecollins:

Not sure if anyone is still interested (the general responses seem to be that everyone is loosing confidence in this company) but I have received an email back from one of the supervises at Travel Insurance Facilities PLC (this is the call centre that you are connected to when you call DogTag).  The email reads:

"Following on from our telephone conversation on Saturday, we have been working with our underwriting team and communicating with the directors of Dogtag to get you a definite answer to your original queries.

We are still waiting for a final input from the directors of Dogtag regarding their stance on PA and PL whilst taking part in your chosen sport, as soon as I hear from them I will correspond directly with you.

However our underwriting team have been able to clarify the following details for us;

Please find listed below the definitions of Climbing, Rock Climbing and Mountaineering we cover emergency medical treatment and repatriation for all of the below:

  • Climbing – Nonspecific, this is a category of activities e.g. Indoor, ice, rock etc. (Indoor – Sport/ Ice – Extreme +)
  • Rock Climbing – A specific climbing activity, the focus of which is to ascend or descend a rock face. (Under 4,000m – Extreme)
  • Mountaineering – The activity of climbing a mountain/range. Which may include a combination of different activities or disciplines such as, scrabbling, rock climbing, orienteering, trekking and use of associated equipment. (Up to 4,000m – Extreme +)

As you can see from the above explanations there are some specific differences between Rock Climbing and Mountaineering, this is why they are listed/covered in a higher pack as the risk when partaking in the activity is higher.

Please be re-assured that you will be covered for any emergency medical attention in the event of injury, we will repatriate you if necessary and your policy will cover for rescue if medically essential as well."

I have emailed them back with a long email pointing out that the term "rock" is used in all three categories and thus there is a total lack of clarity as to what category one would be under whilst climbing (essentially leaving it up to the underwriters to decide).

What is a little more concerning is the final paragraph "will cover for rescue if medically essential as well."  This seems to indicate that rescue costs are only covered if you were injured.

I'm so utterly gobsmacked with this company.  Their customer services is shocking, their actual insurance (once you dig deep) seems worthless for Rock Climbing and Mountaineering.  The only thing that they  actually seem to provide is basic travel insurance (which is actually quite expensive once you consider you aren't covered for climbing) and a shiny dog tag (ohh wait, they don't do them any more).

Financial Ombudsman here we go...

gooberman-hill 24 Jun 2019
In reply to mikecollins:

Hi Mike,

if you are contacting the Financial Ombudsman, please can you post your correspondence here. I may well send something very similar.

I have an annual family policy with these guys to cover climbing and mountaineering (not cheap), and I am seriously considering cancelling it and moving to Snowcard or the BMC before the summer holidays!

Thanks,

Steve

gooberman-hill 24 Jun 2019
In reply to mikecollins:

Just thinking. Some use-cases might be helpful to clarify what is and is not covered. How about the following?

I have a Dogtag Base policy at Extreme Plus level with European cover. Suppose I drop a caribiner, which lands on my climbing partner, causing a serious injury. My partner (or their insurer) sues me for damages. Would the Personal Liability cover in my policy cover me were the accident to happen in the following circumstances:

  1. Climbing indoors on a climbing wall
  2. Climbing outdoors in the UK at Portland (a low level sports climbing venue)
  3. Climbing on Minus One Buttress on Ben Nevis in Summer (UK mountain rock climbing)
  4. Climbing on Minus One Buttress on Ben Nevis in Winter (Mixed / ice climbing - not rock climbing)
  5. Climbing at Les Cheserys (Chamonix Valley) - multi pitch summer sport climbing
  6. Climbing Lepidoptres on the Lower NW face of the Peigne (Chamonix) - multi-pitch trad climbing in a mountain environment on an alpine peak with a complex approach (snowfields), but on a route which finishes well short of the summit - potentially not mountaineering - or if so under 3000m)
  7. Climbing the Frendo Spur on the Midi (Chamonix) - alpine mixed route on a 3800m peak, finishing at the summit. 

Steve

Sean Kelly 24 Jun 2019
In reply to jonchitt:

Not if you are over 70! I was after cover  about 12 months back and it was a totally unrealistic premium. We are talking about cover more expensive than the week's holiday!

I imagine they think that anyone over 70 is about to have a stroke or heart attack...

Post edited at 19:05
mikecollins 30 Jun 2019
In reply to gooberman-hill

> Hi Mike,

> if you are contacting the Financial Ombudsman, please can you post your correspondence here. I may well send something very similar.

Will do. I’m just riding this out at the moment and giving them the chance to reply, categorically, at which point I will post back here and take whatever action I deem necessary. 

If their customer services is a reflection of the quality of their insurance, I would abandon all hope, get a refund and go BMC/SnowCard. It is now 6 weeks since I first contacted them, i have sent 6 emails and rang them 7 times (about 6 hours on the phone in total). I have spoken to about 7 different people who all promise me a swift resolution. 

Its almost amusing!

ChrisJD 01 Jul 2019
In reply to mikecollins:

Thanks for your efforts Mike.

On the back on this thread we haven't renewed our annual family cover with DT, went SnowCard instead.

mikecollins 03 Jul 2019
In reply to mikecollins:

Just to keep people informed, I spoke to the actual complaints department on Friday. They had only had my complaint for 2 weeks - no one at the call centre had bothered to flag it prior to that. 

Lady from the complainants department informed me that they were carrying out a “full investigation” and would phone me yesterday (Tuesday) will a full update. 

Surprise, surprise, no call. Called complaints again today. The lady in question is on holiday - thus the reason for not calling me. Additionally, an email was meant to be sent but wasn't.

Seven and a half weeks now. Absolute joke. They are meant to be contacting me on Monday now. 

gooberman-hill 03 Jul 2019
In reply to mikecollins:

Mike,

thanks for all your efforts. They are very much appreciated.

Steve

bogpetre 04 Jul 2019
In reply to mikecollins:

I've had my own concerns about this company due to poor and ambiguous customer service experiences. What are the alternatives though? I don't know of other companies that cover unguided technical alpine climbing at over 4000m. BMC is just rescue insurance, but what's really needed is medical and repatriation. Rescue insurance is fairly easy to find since most mountaineering clubs offer it and it could also be purchased through Global Rescue.

My underwriter is american, since I go through the US branch of dogtag, so the policy wording is slightly different, but the essential point is the same. For most technical climbing somewhere that you might actually be concerned about injuries, it seems that they could find some way to weasle out of any coverage obligations.

mikecollins 05 Jul 2019
In reply to bogpetre:

The problem is, the wording on the policy documents (and other documents relating to these) are so ambiguous that you might find that you are not actually covered.  I have highlighted numerous inconsistencies in their document wording, and these inconsistencies potentially mean that the underwriter may conclude that the activity that you think you are doing, actually falls under another activity with greater constraints.  In addition, they are pretty clear that rescue cover is only provided in the event of a medical emergency.

In terms of "weasl'ing out" - I'm sure they can and could.  Which makes the actual insurance pretty pointless.  This is probably true of all insurance companies but the main difference between DogTag and BMC/SnowCard is that a customer can actually make contact with someone at the BMC/SnowCard and discuss matters and receive a response in a reasonable timeframe.  8 weeks is not reasonable. 

This company is a complete joke and has demonstrate unbeliever levels of incompetency, with regard to customer services, on almost every occasion.  I am only continuing with this charade because it has an impact on others, specifically in the climbing community.  I am leaving for the Dolomites in little over a week and I will not be relying on my dogtag insurance to cover me whilst I am away.  Luckily I have the financial luxury of being able to take out another policy, with a more reputable company, while I wait to see how this matter transpires.

Frank R. 05 Jul 2019
In reply to bogpetre:

BMC, AAC/OEAV Premium, ... all offer varying degrees of coverage for 4000m+ and actual mountaineering/climbing. OEAV Premium up to 6000m for a one month trip is just 54€ with 500 000€ medical. BMC has the annual policty, which is quite pricier, but they got quite higher medical coverage and rescue cost coverage as well. If deciding between Dogtag at something like 250GBP? annual (with all the caveats of not covering actual climbing etc.), OEAV Premium for a one-off one trip premium (with the annual non-premium like rescue costs and liability included in the basic membership) with actual coverage of your activities, and BMC for something like 400GBP? (and higher coverage than even OEAV premium) with actual coverage of your activities, the choice of the latter two is pretty clear to me  


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