Questions and Answers

How long has CrisisOnCall been operational?

CrisisOnCall was established on 1 October 2002 to render a service to its members.

Is CrisisOnCall able to supply the services they offer countrywide?

CrisisOnCall use service providers stationed all over South Africa. We have through the Europ Assistance SA call centre service accredited providers country wide.

What makes CrisisOnCall unique?

The following aspects are unique to CrisisOnCall’s and are not rendered elsewhere:

1.  IDENTIFICATION AND INFORMATION

The CrisisOnCall identification system is unique and helps by communicating essential information when it really matters. In South Africa, when valuables such as wallets and handbags are often stolen by observers at accident scenes, it is actually the lifeline to save a person’s life which is being removed. Your family’s medical aid card is often simultaneously removed with the valuables. (A State hospital might be your destiny in spite of having paid for private care should the need arise.)

Medical information such as allergies, medication and medical conditions are of vital importance to medical personnel. With this information at hand, they can make decisions which can help to save a life.

2.  TRIP MONITORING

In today’s risky circumstances travellers and their relatives are usually concerned when travelling. With trip monitoring, the traveller’s trip is periodically monitored by staff in the control centre. Should a person go missing, certain actions are taken to establish if the traveller is still safe or if a problem exists. This service offers peace of mind and is the most widely used service.

3.  DIFFERENT AMBULANCE SERVICES

Contrary to most medical aid funds, a variety of ambulance services are used to ensure that the closest most appropriate available service is dispatched to an incident as fast as possible. The speedy arrival of the ambulance service can make the difference between life and death to a patient.

4.  NATIONAL EMERGENCY NUMBER

No National emergency crisis number exists. The cell phone number (112) is very limited. By phoning the CrisisOnCall emergency number, members in the middle of a crisis and unfamiliar surroundings can quickly be assisted with the necessary help and support. No other organisation exists to handle your general crisis’ like CrisisOnCall which has been established to do just that.

Are the personnel qualified at the call centre?

Europ Assistance SA operates the call centre. All call centre professionals such as the lawyers, nurses, EMS dispatchers, etc. have many years of practical experience behind them, and are constantly updating their skills. All the case managers in the assistance service departments are also well equipped to manage any emergency. Medical and legal personnel comply with the national regulations and are registered with the necessary authorities. (I.e. paramedics are registered with the Health Professional Council of South Africa.)

Is it possable to make a toll-free call to CrisisOnCall from a cell phone?

No, 0800 numbers can only be accessed free from a Telkom line. This is an arrangement of cellphone networks and not of CrisisOnCall.

Why does CrisisOnCall use more than one ambulance service as service providers?

No single ambulance service, no matter how big, will be able to provide an ambulance 24/7/365. Demand for an ambulance is unpredictable. At one moment a whole fleet of ambulances can be available in a specific service provider, and the next moment they can all be busy.

The longer it takes for paramedics to reach a seriously injured or ill patient the greater the chance for a negative outcome.

CrisisOnCall will therefore always make use of the nearest ambulance service provider to save time and ensure that help arrives in the shortest possible time.

There is also no single ambulance service in South Africa that covers the territory of South Africa in total.

Can a CrisisOnCall member call an ambulance service direct for an ambulance?

CrisisOnCall would like to send the nearest service provider to the patient. The client may not phone the nearest ambulance service that may delay the medical service. Medical advice may also be necessary. It is very important always to phone the CrisisOnCall emergency number and chose option 9 for an ambulance.

If a client phones an ambulance directly CrisisOnCall may refuse to pay the ambulance bill.

In case of an accident this does not apply. The ambulance service on scene will obtain authorization from the call centre after they transported the patient.

When does CrisisOnCall pay for ambulance transport?

CrisisOnCall will pay the ambulance costs if:

  1. The client’s membership payment is up to date.
  2. The ambulance was dispatched by CrisisOnCall’s call centre.
  3. Injuries sustained as a result of an accident. (Transportation form the accident scene)
  4. Medical justified inter hospital transfers.

The client will be responsible for all costs if:

  1. The CrisisOnCall number was not phoned for an ambulance (Excluding accidents)
  2. CrisisOnCall did not dispatch an ambulance (Excluding accidents)
  3. The patient refuses transportation to a hospital. (The client will be responsible for a call-out fee)
  4. The client’s membership fee is not paid up to date.

Why is it necessary to wear my arm band?

Paramedics could obtain life saving medical information from CrisisOnCall by phoning the emergency number and by quoting the unique number at the back of the arm band. This could assure that patients with a medical aid are transported to a private hospital. It will also assure that medical information is obtained by paramedics to support them in making life saving decisions.

This arm band can become a life saver.

Do schools have the right to stop children from the wearing of their arm bands?

No, it is classified as a medical arm band and according to law nobody could be stopped to wear the CrisisOnCall arm band.

Why does CrisisOnCall not offer various kinds of arm bands?

More than one armband might be a recipe for confusion as emergency personnel are trained to look for a specific armband. (Different colours and textures as well as various elastic armbands may be the reason that emergency personnel do not recognise the armband.)

It is very important to keep a uniform identification system. This will enhances the visibility of the armband and support the recovery of information thus assisting in saving of lives.

Do paramedics know about CrisisOnCall?

CrisisOnCall inform ambulance services, SA Police, Fire Brigade and tow-in services on a regular base about the CrisisOnCall services with specific referral to the CrisisOnCall identification items. Paramdics are also informed about CrisisOnCall and its identfication system during training. CrisisOnCall also provide paramedics with usefull information and equipment to assist with identification.

Does my medical aid offer what CrisisOnCall offers?

Sometimes people are under the impression that their medical aid already provides the same advantages that is provided by CrisisOnCall. This way of thinking is definitely not correct. According to law, the medical aid may only provide benefits that are directly linked with medical aspects. Trip monitoring, legal advice, road assistance, etc. may therefore not be provided to members by the medical aids.

The irony is that people spend thousands of rand per month on a medical aid or hospital plan, with the thinking that they and their family will have access to a private medical facility when necessary. The big problem arises when membership cannot be proven timeously. The following extracts from the media provides a better perspective on the reality.

CARTE Blanche - “Your card or your life” (9 November 2003)

In this program the following was found: “What happens if you require medical treatment? Can your medical aid speak for you when you cannot? Carte Blanche discovers that in some cases the absence of a medical aid card or information may mean that you forfeit your life”

The CrisisOnCall identification items will bridge the gap between the incident and the medical aid.

Will my medical aid sticker supply information when I am involved in an accident?

This sticker is ineffective, since it does not contain medical information, such as the member number or any other information.

In light of the above, it is necessary that a medical aid card and a sticker in serious cases is not enough. CrisisOnCall regularly receives calls from people that want to join immediately, because they or their family went through serious trauma due to information that was not available on time.

How effective is the use of a vehicle registration number to obtain information regarding a patient?

This method is not very effective. During the study which was made by the Advisory body concerning effective identification methods, the following negative points were raised regarding the use of the number plate:

  1. The owner of the vehicle is not necessarily the driver of the vehicle or one of the occupants.
  2. The connection of the owner of the vehicle’s information and the rest of the occupants is very difficult because it cannot be established with any certainty that the occupants are part of the direct family of the registered owner.
  3. Many vehicles are registered in the name of a trust or company and do not belong to an individual.
  4. People frequently travel with others in a vehicle. Their information cannot possibly be linked to the owner of the vehicle.
  5. In collisions the occupants of a vehicle are frequently thrown out of a vehicle and cannot always be linked to a specific vehicle.
  6. In collisions number plates can easily become detached from the vehicle.
  7. Many incidents which require information do not happen inside a vehicle.
  8. The effectiveness of information from the vehicle registration plate is very low.

During an accident which occurred in the early hours on the M1 on 30 June 2008 various people were thrown all over the road. Nick Dollman of Netcare911 said the following: "It's just an educated guess as to who was in which car …” This is a good example of how the number plate would have been of no help.

Can only people that have a medical aid membership become a member of CrisisOnCall?

No, CrisisOnCall is available to all South Africans irrespective if you have a medical aid or insurance status.

What is CrisisOnCall’s policy regarding the transportation of a patient to a hospital?

In all life threatening medical emergencies, a member will be transported by road or air to the most appropriate and closest hospital that can effectively manage that particular condition.

According to the protocol of paramedics, as set by the Health Professional Council of South Africa (HPCSA), a patient must be taken to the nearest most appropriate medical facility.

CrisisOnCall through Europ Assistance SA who manage the call centre will make a prompt decision if a patient should be air lifted. The paramedic on scene will inform the medical staff at the call centre of the specific situation. A decision backed by standard protocol will be taken in a very short period of time.

What is the most popular service of CrisisOnCall?

The trip monitoring service is the most popular service. Clients use this benefit when they travel long distances to assure that someone knows more or less where they are, should the unforeseen happen. This benefit also offers peace of mind to the traveller and next of kin.

Must a vehicle be specified for the arrangement of roadside assistance?

No, the roadside assistance costs will be for the clients account. It is thus not necessary to specify the vehicle for arrange of Roadside Assistance.

Must a specific vehicle be specified for payment for Roadside Assistance?

Yes, the vehicle is covered for roadside assistance, irrespecive of the driver.

Can I register my vehicle for roadside assistance for only a short period of time, i. e. when I go on holiday?

Vehicles could be removed from roadside assistance at any time but cannot be added for a short period of time.

CrisisOnCall must manage the risk of covering vehicles for Roadside Assistance. By covering vehicles only when long distances are travelled is the same as taking out short term insurance on your property and vehicle just when going on holiday.

When do I qualify for the CrisisOnCall benefits?

You qualify for the benefits when:

  1. Your monthly premium is paid up to date.
  2. Roadside Assist – If your vehicle is nominated on the system for the roadside assist benefit.
  3. When you phone the CrisisOnCall emergency number 0800 101 911 for services.

How does CrisisOnCall communicate with members.

The CrisisOnCall newsletter is an electronic news letter. Every paying member with a valid email address could register for the electronic newsletter. The newsletter is available in Afrikaans and English. An annual newsletter is posted to all members who have not provided email addresses.

Does CrisisOnCall replace my security company?

No, CrisisOnCall is not a security company and does not render a reaction- or alarm monitoring service.

When do CrisisOnCall debit my account?

The deduction by debit order takes place on the 1st or the first working day  thereafter and on the 15th or the first working day thereafter.

Internet payments are also allowed. The monthly management of the payments will be the responsibility of the client. All cash and Internet payments must be received on or before the 24th of the month.

Monthly payments could also be arranged by the client via a stop order arrangement with your bank. (CrisisOnCall should be supplied with a copy of the particular stop order)

Annual payments are also permitted.

Annual payments and debit orders are preferred as it reduce administration costs and reduce the chance of the client not paying in time and loose benefits due to a lack of payment.

May I market the services of CrisisOnCall?

You may market the services of CrisisOnCall on a commission base once you have registered with CrisisOnCall as a marketing agent. It is also important that marketing can only start after completion of training as an agent.

All agents must be active members of CrisisOnCall.

How safe is my information at CrisisOnCall?

According to South African law, all medical and personnel information must be treated as confidential. This means that information may only be supplied to another party who have the authority to have access to this particular information.

For instance; medical registered personnel are permitted access to a patient’s medical information.

The CrisisOnCall system is developed to give access to information only to people with a legal interest in the specific information.

All staff involved with client information signed a declaration of confidentiallity.

How do I update my information on the CrisisOnCall system?

You may email your change of information to clients@crisisoncall.co.za or send it by fax to 012 335 1881. No change of information will be accepted telephonically.

Members are responsible for complete and accurate and up tod date information.

How important is it to update me and my family’s information at CrisisOnCall?

The CrisisOnCall system carries life saving information. If the information is not up to date it may influence important treatment. Roadside Assistance where the Auto product was selected, supply the call centre with information regarding the vehicle covered. If you change your vehicle and do not inform CrisisOnCall you will not qualify for roadside assistance on the new vehicle.

How do I cover extended family?

Working family members over the age of 18 years staying at the same address as the main member may be added as extended family at a nominal cost.

The spouse and Children under the age of 18 years are automatically part of the family membership.

Family staying at a separate address than the main member will have to take out a separate membership.

What do I pay extra when my child is over the age of 18 years but still a student?

Students up to the age of 25 years do not pay extra to be part of their parent’s membership. They do not have to stay at the same address as their parents and can stay in another city while studying at a Tertiary institution.

May I stop my membership for a few months?

You may stop your membership for a few months. The stop request must be send to fin@crisisoncall.co.za via email, fax or letter. Please note that requests must reach our administration office on before the fifth last working day of the month.

Will the CrisisOnCall roadside assistance cover my vehicle if it was involved in an accident?

No, this will be covered by the client’s short term insurance.

ROADSIDE ASSISTANCE:

Roadside assistance is applicable when a vehicle becomes stranded due to one of the following reasons:

(a) Mechanical or electrical disfunction of the vehicle.

(b) No petrol.

(c) A flat wheel not caused by an accident / collision.

(d) A flat battery.

(e) Keys locked in the vehicle.

SHORT-TERM INSURANCE

Short term insurance offers support when a vehicle becomes stranded as a result of a collision/accident or structural damage as a result of one of other unexpected reasons namely:

  1. Collision or accident.
  2. Damage to the vehicle as a result of poor road conditions such as loose stones, sharp stones, loose sand, smooth road surface, potholes, etc.
  3. Damage to the vehicle as a result of being hit by an object in or next to the road, such as loose rocks, tree stumps, big stones, rubbish on the road, trees, road signs etc.

CONFUSION

CrisisOnCall often experiences tremendous confusion regarding whose responsibility it is to pay the account of a tow-in service. To summarize, the difference between roadside assistance and short-term insurance is defined as:

  • Roadside assistance covers the towing-in of a vehicle with regards to breakdowns due to mechanical or electrical fault. It is usually an internal or vehicle related situation with no or very little external influence.
  • Short-term insurance covers the towing-in of a vehicle with regards to damage as a result of a collision, accident or circumstantial damage to the vehicle’s structure.

How do I cancel my membership?

Membership could be cancelled with a 30 day notice to CrisisOnCall via email (clients@crisisoncall.co.za) or per fax to number (012 335 188). Membership cannot be cancelled in the first three months after becoming a member.

Your member number must be stated on the cancellation letter.

For research purposes a reason for cancellation will be appreciated.

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