As Australia gears up for one of the hottest summers on record, insights from leading global assistance provider, Allianz Global Assistance, indicate that many Aussies are planning to trade the heat for a white Christmas in the U.K.
Climatologists have warned that the impending El Nino will result in the hottest summer on record for Australians, while in the northern hemisphere, the same El Nino event will bring icy sub-zero temperatures and heavy snow.
To cater for the impending freeze, Allianz Global Assistance will upscale its emergency medical assistance team to prepare for the influx of snow related incidents, including the deployment of doctors, nurses and assistance coordinators.
The top claim types during the 2014/15 Christmas/New Year period included:
- Medical / Hospital (For example, skiing incidents) – 4,309 claims
- Lost or damaged luggage and personal effects (For example, Christmas gifts) – 2,224 claims
- Additional expenses (For example, delayed flights due to severe weather) – 1,024 claims
Allianz Global Assistance General Manager, Travel and Medical, John White, said, “Each year we see an increase in Australian travellers trading the beach for snow adventures in the Northern Hemisphere.
“Our data shows that while these types of holidays are lots fun and often exhilarating, it’s not just ski-related incidents that are affecting people, it’s everything from delayed flights to lost or damaged luggage.
“Last Christmas, Allianz Global Assistance assisted over 27,500 Aussies, with over 100 claims made specifically for disrupted travel during the Northern winter where ice and snow caused havoc.
“As a global provider of assistance, we recognise the need to prepare our team for the potential increase in winter-related calls for help and ensure we’re available 24/7 to provide assistance.”
For those finding themselves stranded in the cold this Christmas due to extreme weather conditions, Allianz Global Assistance has provided its top five tips:
- Pack the essentials – Don’t be caught out by travel delays, be sure to pack a warm change of clothes in your carry-on luggage along with toiletries and a mobile phone charger
- Stay connected – Monitor the weather forecast, keep an eye on travel updates from Smartraveller and follow your airline on social media to ensure you’re aware of the most up to date information.
- Have a plan – If you find yourself stranded it pays to have an idea of nearby hotels should you need to spend the night. No plan? Allianz Global Assistance is able to inform you of your closest hotel options to ensure you find a warm bed for the night
- Be prepared – Ensure you travel with copies of your current insurance policy and familiarise yourself with the process for requesting assistance before you go.
- Entertain yourself – Always pack something to kill time, whether it’s an e-book, a laptop loaded with movies or a trusty pack of cards
 Source: ABC Online – Weather bureau warns El Nino on track to hit record levels by Christmas
 Source: Telegraph.co.uk – British winter could feel longer and colder because of El Nino