Wednesday, February 6, 2019

Helicopter Evacuation in Nepal | New Insurance Rules

Helicopter evacuation at Tengboche, Khumbu, Nepal
As many of you would be aware a huge scam was detected last year in the helicopter evacuations in Nepal involving insurance companies, helicopter companies, trekking agencies and hospitals.

Some of the reports in the international press are below:

After this scam was widely reported in the press, the Insurance companies have taken some steps to make it more difficult and costly to get an helicopter evacuation for medical reasons.

World Nomads one of the most highly respected and efficient companies also made some changes in their policies for the 2019 season which will affect many trekkers in Nepal.

These are the some of the  most important changes:

World Nomads can charge you upto a maximum of $725 for emergency helicopter evacuation in Nepal. This clause was not there before because in all the World Nomad genuine  medical evacuations I have witnessed the amount paid by the client was $100 per claim only - the wording on the site is below:

* Note - Nepal Air Ambulance /Helicopter Services: an excess of a maximum of €625 ($725)  applies to Medical transport & repatriation home (Section 1.2) in the event medical emergency evacuation by air ambulance or helicopter services are required in Nepal. 

  Further, it now seems,  and this is to be verified by World Nomads ,  that the Standard and Explorer policy types cover backpacking upto  4500 metres only. In case of backpacking upto 6000 metres (which would cover Everest Base Camp, Gokyo, Manaslu Circuit, Annapurna circuit and other high altitude treks in Nepal) an upgrade is required to the policy. For most of the Nepal treks this upgrade would be needed.

So my suggestion is that irrespective of which insurance company you choose for a trek in the high Himalaya do read the fine print and exceptions even more so now after these helicopter scams. You need to know what exactly is covered and what you have to pay for over and above the policy premium so that there are no nasty surprises when invoking the policy.

For my earlier post on helicopter charters in Nepal do visit

South Col Expeditions runs multiple treks in Nepal every year - for more details do visit

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