Safety is our Top Priority
We understand that there’s a certain amount of uncertainty – even apprehension – involved in international travel.
Safety is a top priority at all of our project sites, and we go to great lengths to ensure that our volunteers receive the support they need to thrive while on assignment. Every volunteer assignment and internship begins with an orientation program that includes tips on staying safe, healthy and out of harm’s way.
Accident and Injury Insurance
On top of that, Friends for Asia provides Accident and Injury coverage to all volunteers and interns that are actively participating in one of our projects. This coverage is intended to add an extra layer of protection for our volunteers, offering compensation to anyone who suffers from a serious injury or accident.
Serious accidents are very rare, and our volunteers are more than likely to complete their service without ever giving a moment’s thought to their coverage. That being said, the policy doesn’t cost them a thing. FFA handles the details (and pays the premiums) so that – in the unlikely event that something unfortunate happens – you’ll be covered.
It’s important to keep in mind that this is not medical insurance. It compensates covered persons for physical (i.e. bodily) losses that they experience due to an accident or injury while enrolled in one of Friends for Asia’s volunteer projects. That being said, the compensation that an injured person receives is theirs to do with as they please, and it could certainly be used to take care of medical bills.
It is our sincere wish and hope that no one enrolled in any of our projects suffers any sort of trauma or accident while volunteering with us. That being said, should misfortune strike, our volunteers are covered. We wouldn’t dream of settling for anything less.
Details of FFA Volunteer Accident and Injury Protection
We at Friends for Asia place the highest priority on the safety and security of our volunteers and interns. During orientation, we’ll go over tips and guidelines for staying safe while on assignment with us in a foreign country. However, we understand that, no matter how careful you are, accidents can happen. That’s why we offer insurance coverage to everyone who signs up for one of our projects.
The coverage provided by FFA is through an Accident and Injury policy. It compensates covered persons for physical (i.e. bodily) losses that they experience due to an accident or injury while enrolled in one of Friends for Asia’s volunteer projects. This is not medical insurance and will not cover medical bills or operations. That being said, the compensation that an injured person receives is theirs to do with as they please, and it could certainly be used to pay down medical bills.
Remember to carefully read over the list of exclusions. Some activities will essentially cancel your coverage if they can be linked to your accident or injury. For example, the policy requires every covered person to take a drug and alcohol test after being involved in an accident. If the person proves to have been intoxicated when the accident took place, they will not be covered – even if the accident wasn’t in any way their fault.
Eligibility for Volunteer Insurance Coverage
All volunteers and interns who book a project in Bali, Nepal, Thailand and Vietnam, directly through Friends for Asia (rather than through one of the company’s partners) are automatically covered by an Accident and Injury policy provided by Nationwide Life Insurance Company, headquartered in the US. The policy offers 24-hour coverage for accidents and injuries experienced while you are on assignment with FFA.
All regular activities in which volunteers and interns participate while on assignment with FFA are covered, with certain exceptions explained later in this document. The coverage begins as soon as you embark, as long as you arrive by the most direct or typical route. With that in mind, you’re covered from the moment you board the plane as long as you don’t make any significant stops to travel along the way.
The policy has an add-on for war risk protection. It offers enhanced benefits should a war break out (whether it’s a declared war or not) at the location where you are on assignment with FFA.
Volunteer Insurance Benefits
The maximum amount (benefit) paid to covered persons is $25,000 USD for any single loss. If a variety of covered losses occur in the same accident, the upper limit is $1 million USD per incident.
If a person covered by the insurance policy has an accident while they are on assignment with FFA, they will be reimbursed for certain losses. The payout they receive for a particular loss (or combination of losses) varies according to three major categories:
$25,000 USD will be paid to the insurance covered person (or their beneficiary) if any of the following situations occur:
- Loss of both hands OR both feet
- Loss of use (or paralysis) of both arms AND both legs
- Loss of sight in both eyes
- Loss of one hand AND one foot
- Loss of one hand (OR one foot) along with loss of sight in one eye
- Loss of speech AND hearing in both ears
- Severe burns over at least 75% of the body
$18,750 USD will be paid to the covered person if any of the following situations occur:
- Loss of use (or paralysis) of both arms OR both legs
$12,500 USD will be paid to the insurance covered person if any of the following situations occur:
- Loss of speech OR hearing in both ears
- Loss of one hand OR one foot
- Loss of sight in one eye
- Loss of use (or paralysis) of one arm AND one leg
- Severe burns over at least 50% of the body
$6,250 USD will be paid to the covered person if any of the following situations occur:
- Loss of hearing in one ear
- Loss of thumb AND index finger of the same hand
- Loss of use (or paralysis) of one arm OR one leg
- Severe burns over at least 25% of the body
The above losses are also covered if a person is exposed to the elements (i.e. frostbite or a similar condition). Needless to say, this is a highly unlikely scenario at most of FFA’s project sites. Furthermore, if the covered person disappears while on assignment, and their body is not found after one year, they will be presumed dead, and the benefit will be paid out accordingly. If they are found alive at a later point, then the money must be paid back to the insurance company.
Additional Volunteer Insurance Benefits
On top of the standard benefits listed in the previous section, covered persons may also be reimbursed for additional conditions or situations that arise:
- Common Carrier – Common carrier coverage relates to any passenger paying a fare on plane, train, bus, automobile or boat. If a person riding in one of these vehicles suffers a loss that’s covered by the policy, an additional $25,000 USD will be paid on top of the total benefit.
- Rehabilitation – If rehabilitation is required due to a loss that was suffered, the policy will pay up to $5,000 USD to offset this expense.
- Wheelchair modifications – If the injury or loss confines the policy to a wheelchair, the policy will cover up to $25,000 USD worth of modifications required on the person’s home or motor vehicle.
- Counseling – If counseling is needed after a covered loss, the policy will pay $100 USD per session for up to ten sessions.
Volunteer Insurance Exclusions
The benefits listed above are not available for covered persons who were taking part in excluded activities at the time the accident or injury occurred. The following lists some of the most common exclusions, but it is by no means a comprehensive list. Full details are made available upon request:
- Suicide (or attempted suicide)
- Self-inflicted injuries
- Sickness or disease, including mental incapacity (i.e. any injury brought on by or connected to an illness)
- Full-time active duty in the armed forces
- Heart attacks, strokes or aneurysms
- Committing a crime (or hiring someone else to do so)
- Intentionally inhaling poisonous gasses or solvents
- Using drugs or controlled substances without a prescription, or in the wrong dosage
- Being under the influence of alcohol
- Being in a war zone, or near a nuclear reaction or source of nuclear radiation
There are several aircraft-related exclusions as well.
- Traveling in an aircraft:
- used for any purpose other than transporting passengers
- that requires special permits or waivers in order to fly
- that leaves the Earth’s atmosphere
- that is being operated under military authority
- that is being flown exclusively for the covered person
- when the covered person is serving as pilot, crew member or student
- Riding in an aircraft:
- not licensed for transporting passengers
- without proper certificates
- piloted by an unlicensed person
- Parachuting, except when it is necessary to save your life
How Compensation is Paid
Anyone covered under this insurance policy needs to designate a beneficiary. This is a worst-case scenario, but if the covered person dies, the beneficiary they have selected will receive the compensation. The insurance company prefers this to be a person indicated in writing, so that they can keep this on file. However, the covered person’s estate can also serve as the beneficiary.
Keep in mind that you can change your beneficiary at any time, and you do not have to let that person know. You do have to give written notice to FFA indicating who you would like your new beneficiary to be. Once this notice has been issued, it will take preference over any previous notices. The benefit is paid out in US dollars. For US citizens, all benefits except those paid for loss of life are issued directly to the covered person. The beneficiary clause allows Friends for Asia to easily coordinate payment of benefits to covered non-US citizens as well.
Volunteer Travel Assistance Services
There are extra benefits included in the insurance policy, including Travel Assistance Services provided by On Call International. These services are designed to keep you safer and help you travel with more confidence. All of the services listed in this section are available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week – anywhere in the world. The following travel services are available to covered persons as well as their travelling family members. You will receive contact information, which includes the option to call collect or make contact through the Internet.
These are a few examples of the travel services you can take advantage of:
- Travel information before you go – Find out all the details you’ll need to know about your destination.
- Emergency personal services – Relay urgent messages; secure legal assistance; find a translator or interpreter in an emergency; and much more.
- Medical assistance – Get medical referrals in a foreign country; replace medication or eyeglasses; receive help with emergency medical payments.
- Emergency transport – Evacuate the area in the event of an emergency; return home for medical reasons; send dependents home for emergency reasons; etc.
These travel assistance services are comprehensive, but they come with a lot of exclusions and fine print. More detailed information is available on request. Contact us.