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“How William Russell’s emergency medevac saved my life”

Faisal received life-saving treatment at Nairobi Hospital during the pandemic. Find out how we helped when he contracted COVID-19.

About Faisal

Member Stories - Faisal

Faisal recognised the need to invest in health insurance that would cover major illnesses after a close family member suffered a massive heart attack.
He’s thankful to the team at William Russell for facilitating life-saving treatment and for their genuine care and concern.
Faisal shares his story on his air evacuation to Nairobi Hospital after contracting COVID-19.

Q1/ What was your experience of health insurance companies before you became a member of William Russell?

We have always taken up a health cover with a local provider, to cover most of our local, common health issues……malaria, infections, bilharzia, outpatient treatment locally and in the Republic of South Africa, well as covering our supply of monthly medications. In our younger years, this was adequate.

A close family member suffered a massive heart attack when he was only 42 years old and accessing evacuation and treatment in South Africa without an internationally recognised health insurance cover was complicated. As a family, we took lesson in this experience and decided to take up a health insurance cover that would cover us for life threatening and major illnesses.

At the time, we joined Health International, a Zimbabwean based provider. They had good ties with hospitals in South Africa and they had their own Intensive Care Ambulance for air evacuations. Unfortunately, when the country started to experience economic difficulties, the company suffered major setbacks and a lot of the services were curtailed.

It was then that we began to search for another provider.

Q2/ How did you first hear about William Russell?

I had a friend who was a long standing Insurance Broker, very familiar with the UK providers. I knocked on his door and he brought several options to me. We reduced the options to William Russell and BUPA.

Q3/ What made William Russell stand out from other health insurance providers?

BUPA was a well recognised health insurance provider in Malawi and most people that we knew, were on one BUPA scheme or another. However, the conditions of BUPA were that you receive whatever pre-authorised treatment you require, pay for it and claim back the amount.

The problem with this arrangement, as far as we were concerned, was the fact that we do not have ready access to foreign exchange to pay for evacuation ambulances and hospitals outside Malawi, especially in an emergency.

Hospitals in Malawi have limited capacity to deal with major illnesses/accidents. The reimbursement from BUPA was never the issue….it had to do with being able to receive treatment in a local or foreign hospital without the need to pay first.

William Russell, on the other hand, had strong affiliations with major hospitals in South Africa and Malawi and we were able to get pre-authorisation very quickly and without the need to make any up-front payments or deposits.

This was particularly convenient when we needed to receive treatment in South Africa, or elsewhere outside Malawi.

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Q4/ When you were considering becoming a member of William Russell, what features of our service and plans attracted you?

William Russell could provide us with pre-authorisation to receive treatment at a hospital that was able to provide us with the best possible care. And they would provide a guarantee to cover the costs.

This would, in effect, take this burden off our shoulders and allow us to focus our energy and getting our family member back to a full recovery. This is, in our view, so very important.

Q5/ Can you tell us a little bit about your claim and how William Russell helped?

Unfortunately, my health has not been too good in recent years and I have been afflicted by so many life threatening illnesses. William Russell has always come to the rescue, on time, supporting me in receiving the best possible treatment and care.

I am assuming however, that your question has to do with the treatment I received in Nairobi after I contracted Covid 19 (Delta variant)? The reaction from William Russell was amazing…..seamless, efficient and professional. The coordination between the Nairobi Hospital, your UK Office and your Agent CEGA, were faultless. My wife was handling our issues, of course, and she has only good things to say about William Russell.

The truth is, had I not been air evacuated to the Nairobi Hospital when I was, I very likely would not have been around today. Thank you William Russell, for providing me with the means to survive this horrible pandemic. Not only did you provide us with the means with which to access the life-saving treatment….you also were always concerned about my well-being and were always enquiring about my condition, to the point that you did not want me to travel so soon from Nairobi to my home country.

Thank you very much for your concern and your care.

Had I not been air evacuated to the Nairobi Hospital when I was, I very likely would not have been around today. Thank you William Russell.
William Russell Member

Q6/ What was it like dealing with the team at William Russell?

As I mentioned above, seamless and an absolute pleasure! My wife would attest to this but she is on her way to Thailand to attend her father’s funeral ceremony.

Q7/ What would you tell someone who’s looking for international health insurance?

What I always tell them….to apply to join William Russell! And I will continue to advise them so!

Q8/ Is there anything else you’d like to share about your experience William Russell?

When you are the ‘patient’, as I am most of the time, it is my wife who deals mostly with William Russell. Your UK Office has always been extremely helpful and they have always tried to authorise our treatment in the minimum time possible. Medlife, your Malawi Agent, has also been most helpful in finalising our arrangements.

However, what comes across strongest is the humanitarian aspect of William Russell….always looking for the best treatment options for its members and not being too concerned with the cost issues.

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