War Zone cover - don't get caught in the crossfire

As troops return home from Iraq and Afghanistan, the full horror of war is often hidden from public view. Not only are soldiers killed whilst away on duty, but many suffer lost limbs or disfigurement when injured by bombs, explosives and other weapons. What will come as a surprise to most, though, is that according to the Los Angeles Times the number of US contractors living in Iraq, now exceeds the number of US combat troops. Foreign contractors, particularly UK nationals, are also to be found in large numbers living in Iraq and Afghanistan. They also face danger as they go about their working lives, as the battle is not restricted to professional soldiers, and ordinary civilians working in war zones can easily get caught in the cross-fire. Contractors working in war zones are mostly aware of the dangers or risk which accompanies their jobs, and it is for this reason that it is extremely advisable for individuals to take out health insurance which includes “passive war zone cover” if in this situation.

Healthcare insurance providers, such as April International UK offer policies which cover individuals and groups of employees where discounts are usually available with three or more lives insured together in countries where the risk of being caught in the cross-fire is ever present. Although it is uncomfortable to face these facts, should someone be involved in a serious accident, their policy will enable the individual to receive the best possible care, which could involve any kind of treatment from evacuation through to emergency surgery and in the longer term even the use of prosthetic limbs and plastic surgery. Medical science has come a long way in its use of prosthetic limbs to help people return to their everyday lives. People who need prosthetic limbs tend to be those born with a birth defect, or those who have lost limbs either in accidents in civilian life or in a military conflict. The use of prosthetic limbs goes as far back as Ancient Egypt, but the advancements, sometimes with the use of robotic technology, have made this a booming industry.

People who use prosthetic limbs today can often function just as ably as those with their original limbs. Medical advancements have also taken place in plastic surgery, although this is more commonly associated with cosmetic procedures focusing on beauty rather than physical reconstruction after burns or other disfigurements. Non-cosmetic plastic surgery tends to focus on burns, scarring and disfigurement on the face or body. As with prosthetic limbs, great strides have been made in this area. The results are often overlooked, due to the focus on the cosmetic area of this industry. However, the benefits of plastic surgery to someone who has been disfigured by accident of injury can be tremendous, not only physically but psychologically too.

Many major healthcare insurers do not offer ‘passive war’ cover as part of their healthcare policies, as the majority have a full war risk exclusion, with the result that procedures such as the use of artificial limbs and plastic surgery would not be available to a claimant. April International UK stands out in this respect, offering its full suite of normal policy benefits such as evacuation and medical care but also including rehabilitation cover of up to £100,000 for injuries suffered in a war zone, including terrorist attack. In a market so often characterized by policies which seem to offer many similar benefits, this benefit can really makes a difference to those expatriates living and working in world hotspots. Passive war cover is likely to be of particular interest to aid agencies and rebuilding contractors working in the Gulf area, especially in Iraq, together with Afghanistan and parts of Africa.

Policyholders will benefit from the full range of April International UK’s services, including rehabilitation, hospital benefits and evacuation, in the event of injury by terrorists or as part of a broader war conflict. Debbie Purser, CEO at April International UK comments, “ In an age where localised conflicts seem to be ever present, whether in the form of a full scale conflict such as in Afghanistan or on a more localised basis in other world hotspots, reconstruction and rebuilding or economies is of vital importance. As a contractor or voluntary worker attached to an NGO, preparing yourself for the reality of entering such areas is a must, as the type of medical care which will be needed is quite different from standard healthcare practice. For those companies involved in reconstruction and aid, attracting the highly skilled specialists necessary can be helped if they know they can at least have full medical cover.”