A spring break in Tenerife turned into a holiday from hell for a former Morecambe councillor after her husband was taken ill and the family had to foot a £12,000 bill to get him home.
Former city and county councillor Jean Yates, now 86, was on holiday with husband Peter when he fell ill and was left unable to walk.
After two weeks in hospital, the couple were told by insurance firm Staysure that they were not covered for treatment or to help get them back home. As a result, the family was forced to club together to find £12,000 for the pair to be flown home, accompanied by two medics.
Mr Yates is now recovering in the Royal Lancaster Infirmary.
The couple’s son Mike said: “It’s a great relief to all of us that they are back home.
“However, my mum was placed in a situation where we had to raise more than £10,000 to get them back.
“This was an annual policy which my mum had taken out and they had used them before. Staysure pulled the insurance cover stating that mum failed to disclose a condition when applying for insurance. They then refused to disclose what this condition is on grounds of “confidentiality” in spite of the fact that she is the policy holder.
“I have never encountered such appalling customer service. Mum is 86, she was hysterical. The way they were treated was astonishingly bad. What would have happened if we hadn’t been able to put our hands on that money?”
The nightmare began last month when Mr Yates, 80, was suddenly taken ill as the couple sat in their hotel bar. He was left unable to use his legs and in a “dementia-like state”.
“They were in the hotel having a nice time, and when they went to go inside to get a drink dad couldn’t get up,” Mike said. “Thomas Cook were wonderful, and the hotel staff were great, they called an ambulance straight away.
“He went out there able to walk and now he is bedridden. Whatever happened to him has caused him to be completely confused. We have no idea what happened. The insurers said they hadn’t disclosed anything about dad’s health, but as far as we are concerned, they made a full disclosure so we are mystified.
“They are well travelled, they have been all over the world and would not be negligent about their insurance.”
A Staysure spokesman said: “We have reviewed Mr Yates’ situation and, due to the fact that multiple serious medical conditions had not been disclosed on his policy, his claim has been declined.
“We appreciate that organising travel insurance can be a complex matter which is why we always encourage customers to ask questions and read the details of their policy when they receive them. As with any travel insurance policy, it is essential that the policy holder updates the insurer of any new medical conditions or diagnoses before travelling.
“Staysure did however support with their repatriation as a gesture of goodwill, and would like to wish Mr Yates a speedy recovery.”
In response, Mike said the family disputed the claim that “multiple serious conditions were not disclosed”.
He also said there was “absolutely no goodwill” and that Staysure demanded and were paid £12,000 to repatriate his parents.