The Republic of Korea (South Korea) made it to the list of the most visited countries in the world with an influx of 17.2 million tourists last year. This was an important consideration for International Assistance Group (IAG), the largest alliance of independent assistance companies worldwide, whose ambitious plan is to offer its affiliates a vetted network of assistance providers in the world’s most popular tourist destinations.
With this goal in mind, IAG announced the accreditation of Global Assistance Partners Co., Ltd. (GAP), a pioneering independent medical assistance company based in South Korea. Over the past three decades, it has garnered an excellent reputation as the medical assistance provider of choice for patients, hospitals and international assistance companies.
GAP dates back to 1983 and is the brainchild of its visionary CEO, Gna Chung, a former tour operator for foreign travellers in South Korea. The company benefits from Mr Chung’s wealth of expertise, and particularly the experience he gained from 1999 to 2005, when he was tasked with arranging medical evacuations and repatriations of mortal remains from North to South Korea on behalf of a major player in the assistance industry.
Demand was growing rapidly at that time, with tourist arrivals increasing from 4,659,785 in 1999 to 6,022,752 six years later. In response to this influx of foreign travellers and expatriates from countries as diverse as China, Norway and Brazil, Global Assistance Partners was officially established as an independent entity in 2009 to meet a need for medical assistance services.
Global Assistance Partners has been a correspondent for the IAG since July 2013 and was ranked No.2 in the IAG Quality Scoring in 2016. This impressive rating proved a solid foundation on which to add to the existing collaboration between the two entities. GAP completed the rigorous selection process and joined the IAG Partnership as an Accredited Service Provider in April this year.
Tourism is expected to continue growing at a rapid pace and Asia is the world’s fastest growing travel market these days. This is particularly true of the Asia-Pacific region, thus for us having Global Assistance Partners on board as a highly qualified local Partner is of great value,” said Cécile Hermetz, General Manager of the International Assistance Group.
Over the years, the GAP team has worked tirelessly to create a qualified network of local hospitals so that it can refer clients to facilities within one hour’s drive of their location. Today, the company is able to serve clients throughout the country by arranging direct billing services in over 200 medical facilities across South Korea.
Only great people provide great services. Global Assistance Partners places a high value on understanding its clients, and their culture, language and needs. Its 24/7 call centreboasts an IT solution developed in-house for call recording, call analysis and case management. It is staffed by 10 experienced multilingual operators and nurses providing 24-hour assistance in English, Japanese and Korean. The team manages more than 15,000 calls per year for over 200 international clients, including several of the world’s largest assistance companies.
GAP core services include:medical referrals to the nearest medical facility, arranging admissions at medical facilities, provision of medical reports, medical interpretation and translation, TPA and GOP services for medical expenses, repatriation/evacuation by aeroplane, helicopter and ambulance, doctor/nurse escort, house calls by a doctor, private caregivers, repatriation of mortal remains and concierge services.