Well it's been three months since our escapade on the NNE Ridge if the Eginner in Saas Fee so, I thought it was time I wrote about our experience with the Austrian Alpine Club and the insurance cover it provides, and our experience of it.
Going back to Lorna's accident on August 8th 2011, on the day, the Air Zermatt helicopter pilot took our AAC membership numbers and at the time I thought that must be the procedure, leaving us wit little to do and all will be well.
However when we returned home we heard nothing for several weeks until we got a bill from the mountain rescue people who had one of their guys in the chopper with the crew. I then downloaded a claim form from the AAC website and completed that as required and posted in to Innsbruck, along with the mountain rescue invoice.
Several weeks passed and still we had no correspondence from the Alpine Club. Then we finally got a bill for 5900 CHF, from Air Zermatt for the cost of the rescue. Confusingly, half of it has been paid by what they said was our "health insurance". At first we couldn't work out what that was and phoned out travel insurance who have been excellent, but they hadn't been in contact with Air Zematt?
Only after searching the internet did I discover that in Switzerland, our EHIC (European Health Insurance Card) cards, cover half the costs, quote:
"Air ambulance, fifty percent of the cost of emergency rescue and up to an annual maximum amount of CHF 5000 is covered. This is non-refundable in Switzerland but you may be able to seek reimbursement when you are back in the UK".
With this in mind we have now posted the invoice for the helicopter to the Austrian Alpine Club's insurance who have said, vial email, that it will be honoured.
So, although it can be a little confusing as to who and where you may owe money to, or who's in touch with who, it seems that in the end you will be covered for rescue costs, and any extra mountain rescue costs through the AAC.