Fake Rescue in the Himalayas of Nepal: Multi-Million-Dollar Insurance Fraud Scam
Over the past few weeks, there have been numbers of articles on the travel insurance fraud scam in Nepal, in both the national as well as international media and platforms. It is really bad to know these types of treacherous news from Nepal. Every year legions of holiday-makers flock to the Everest and Annapurna region.
(Disclaimer: In an apologetic note, Nepal Calls You honestly feels sorry to write about this. We are blogging in this title as this need to be understood by all of us and most importantly we all must be aware of these types of frauds). Everest Base Camp and Annapurna Base Camp are dominant basically when it comes to the Heli services in Nepal regardless of its purpose: Heli tours or rescue operations.
The double-dealing of paying commissions and intentionally making travelers sick in Nepal has been occurring since at least 2013, as reported by Ed Douglas of the British Mountaineer Council, and is continuing to happen, despite the promise of Tourism Ministry, Nepal to tackle the fraud and trickery.
Going back in May 2018, after facing the exorbitant season on record for insurance claims in Nepal, foreign insurers joined forces to put stress on the Government of Nepal to crack down on fraud or risk insurers spurning the country.
After three months of longed probe, the committee appointed by the Ministry of Culture, Tourism and Civil Aviation affirmed that the fraud was happening.
It has been found that there is a subtle role of all stakeholders including from guide, hoteliers, helicopter companies, travel agencies, hospitals and all. It seems like a chart or 360 degrees of betrayal. :(
Regarding this trickery, Tourism Minister of Nepal, Mr. Rabindra Adhikari has stated “We are deeply committed to taking action against them. The government will make no compromises in this regard". We hope this must be handled in a proper way by punishing those culprits and betrayers with the strict implementation of amended rules and regulations. As like from the very beginning, Nepal Calls You stands still against these types of ethic-less and morally bad pieces of stuff. It really needs to be transparent.
Without further ado! Promptly, these fraudsters should be penalized to the full extent of the laws and not be given easy circumstances to hide behind Limited (Ltd.) companies. Some of the owners of those untrustworthy companies and agencies involved in the swindle enjoy high-level political shelter because they are golden donors to political parties, offering free chopper rides during elections, or provide complimentary hospital health services.
However, explorations have shown that there are prevalent trek leaders/guides who insist on a helicopter rescue at the modest complaint of headache or nausea. It has also revealed that some helicopter companies are partially owned by private hospitals or health stakeholders in Kathmandu, the capital of Nepal and the fake insurance claims are divided and bribes are offered.
Moreover, for the better understanding the travel insurance diddle in Nepal, it's more important to note the difference between a chopper charter company and a helicopter company. Presenting it in a bit more vivid note, 99% of the helicopter reservation companies don’t own helicopters. Instead, they have a consensus with helicopter companies who do. According to the manager recently working for a helicopter company in Nepal has told to AFP that they pay more than $500 brokerage per case to the chartering companies and said, “If we don’t pay the commission, we can’t get the business.”
This circular racket works through a blend of referrals and commissions that initially starts with the trekking company. In case of a traveler complaining of a trivial upset such a common cold or being exhausted and the guide will be forced to call for a helicopter rescue. Trekking agencies typically have prior concord with certain charter companies and they are paid a portion for each case. Not only that, but hospitals are also found to be paying commissions to the charter companies and trekking agencies as they receive patients.
Let's not talk about this bitter reality, the wave of chain or wave of frauds is hitting hard even in the global scenarios. Widely renowned, Nepal is a developing country, which is sandwiched between India and China, where every season's hundreds of thousands of visitors embark on multi-day hikes to witness the out-of-this-world glimpses. Hence, the prime platform of Nepal which represents the main portion of global tourism is facing this chain of scam. We all need to be aware of.
Nepal Calls You from the very beginning has opposed these kinds of palm-greasing deeds. Be it on Nepal, or anywhere in the world. Bad intentional kinds of stuff must be avoided no matter where they belong.
As we all know that “Mountains are bigger than they appear, lie farther than they actually are and more beautiful than they seem". YES! We never know! Anything can happen in the Himalayas. Hence we need to be more conscious regarding safety. If we can do so, we (visitors) can avoid this scam to some extents. When it comes to basic medicine, first-aid and all, we, ourselves need to be more prepared.
Nepal Calls You from our side endeavors to eradicate such scams from their roots and we are positive that the probe will clear such meager practices of Nepalese Tourism in upcoming days. Having written this, there are also trustworthy companies like Everest Experience and Assistance and running a healthy business and serving clients since last decades.
Summing up, Nepal Calls You would like to remind all of our readers, clients scattered around the globe that it is an online travel directory designed in order to provide hassle-free reservation of travel packages especially inside Nepal.
As per our teams’ vision and mission we will always be striving for the betterment for global tourism facilitated by one of the most beautiful countries, Nepal. Lastly, we would like to affirm you guys that we will also be fighting from our side to end such scams and fraud so that this chain of fraud will uproot from Nepal in near future.