Axa says eye treatment was not covered by my travel insurance


We took a holiday in Thailand. Our hotel room had faulty air conditioning which caused the room to be damp and mouldy.

On return to the UK I noticed a problem with my eye and was referred to hospital. 

I received drops, which were sourced from America, at the tropical medicine hospital in Liverpool and had to have invasive treatment which was very painful.

Now I have lost the eye, cannot see properly and my confidence has gone. I’ve tried to claim on my Axa travel insurance but have hit a brick wall.

S. M. Stirling 


I have a great deal of sympathy for your situation, but when I put it to Axa they maintained that you do not have a claim on your travel insurance policy.

The personal accident section would pay up to £30,000 if an accident incurred overseas resulted in you losing an eye. 

But this covers bodily injury — which is defined as an identifiable physical injury caused by sudden, unexpected, external and visible means including injury as a result of unavoidable exposure to the elements.

It seems that rather than an injury exactly, you picked up an infection which resulted in your eye being removed.

Your surgeon supplied a letter which made it clear that he felt the fungal infection was far more likely to have been picked up in warm and humid conditions in Thailand than in the UK, where this particular infection is extremely rare.

Treatment took place in the UK so there would not appear to be a claim under the medical section either.

The crux of the problem comes down to definitions within the policy. So I suggest that you take your case to the Financial Ombudsman. Call them on 0800 0234 567.

I have no idea whether you will be successful. But this is precisely the sort of thing the Ombudsman is for: to come to a fair adjudication in a dispute between a company and its customer.


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