GESA Assistance Premier

Customer Service for Travel Insurance

Letter from GESA Assistance on April 11, 1981

Dear Miss Hung:

With the present letter I am pleased to confirm the recent agreement made between yourself and our Company, Groupe Européen, S.A., registered in Brussels 1040, 38-39 Square de Meeus, Bte 8,

Tel. (02) 513.91.52, Telex 22492 ASGESA Brussels.

We understand that you have committed yourself to work every Saturday, Sunday, and holiday of each calendar year.

The working hours are from 9 a.m. until 5 p.m. and the hourly rate will be $5.60 (five dollars and 60/100).

Your responsibility will be to man the emergency lines and arranged consequently the right service in order to help the insured in distress.

For the present time, you will be reporting any new cases or new developments on the already existing files either to Ms. Huguette Callaway or to me, depending on who is on call, and you will make sure the cases are followed properly by the evening shift.

You understand the degree of responsibility and commitment this new position offers; we rely on your knowledge and experience to face this new challenge and we count on you.

Both parties reserve the right to terminate the present agreement, giving each other a two-week notice.

We hope these terms are agreable to you and wishing both parties a mutual and fruitful relationship, we remain,

Sincerely,

J. POQUET

Executive Director

NOTA BENE:

The last two years of college, I was referred and recommended by my French teacher and her physician friend, for a summer job working for an European travel insurance company, GESA Assistance, S.A., based in Barcelona, Spain, with branches in the U.S., Belgium, France, United Kindgom, Germany, Italy, Portugal, some Scandinavian countries like Sweden, Japan, Australia, Mexico, the Caribbean, Brazil, Argentina, Chile, and Africa. I was hired part-time as a travel insurance representative to assist European travelers with medical-related and other insurance claims, while traveling in the Americas and around the world.
All GESA personnel spoke English, French, Spanish, Dutch, German, Catalan, Portuguese, Japanese. Most of these travel medical insurance claims were handled through telephone interpreting, facsimile, and designated agents and physicians in the corresponding countries. Assistance was provided on a 24-hour basis and full medical claims reports were written in English, French, Spanish,
Dutch, and any other required language to be passed on via facsimile or by telephone relay to the insurer’s country of origin. Many times I was required to provide emergency medical assistance on world-time, that is to say, observing European time, 8-10 hours ahead of U.S. time, contacting Doctors-on-Call
or Physicians Without Borders to effect repatriations, emergency hospitalizations, and/or contact attorneys for legal interventions.
During these emergency situations, I developed a quick way to contact medical personnel and/or legal assistance through a zip code grid identifying the area where the insured called by zeroing in on the address zip code to quickly locate assistance on call, at the last minute. This approach was later on used to organize the U.S. GESA Assistance response to the emergency calls from the insured travelers around the world.
Although this part-time job was not well remunerated, I enjoyed working with foreign nationals who traveled world-wide, interpreting and translating for their claims over the telephone, and using multilingual and cultural skills in an international U.S. and European company. I felt I was a community interpreter as I became an essential link between the insured traveler and the GESA Assistance network around the world.

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