Berkely Travel Insurance reverses decision; reimburses pregnant woman

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By Jim Carr By Jim Carr

PHOENIX -- Brooke Otto is one happy person today, but two weeks ago she was kind of upset with a travel insurance company called BerkelyCare.

Back then she told us,  "It's a lot of money to just give away, or be robbed of."

Harsh words, but Otto was aggravated at the time. She and her husband had been to the Bahamas years before and thought it was a good time to return for another vacation.

So, they logged on to Priceline.com and for around $1,300, they purchased two airline tickets for a second vacation. 

They also purchased travel insurance for a total of $60 just in case they had to cancel for some reason.

"Everything was fine.  We were excited to go and we bought traveler's insurance," Otto said. "We always do that when we purchase a trip just because stuff happens, you never know."

And not long after booking the trip, Otto discovered she was pregnant. Not only that, but she started having mild complications like cramping that concerned her and her doctor.

As a result, Otto and her doctor submitted paperwork to Berkely Travel Insurance, a subsidiary of Aon Corporation, and requested a refund since traveling out of the country was not a good idea.

But Berkely denied the request, telling Otto and 3 On Your Side that "normal pregnancies" are excluded for refunds.

The decision surprised Otto.

"This is $1,300, it's a lot of money," she said. "My husband worked so hard, you know, to give us our trip and to lose that money in this economy, it's a lot of money."

Even after 3 On Your Side got involved, Berkely stood by its decision based on the information Otto had provided the company.

However, 3 On Your Side kept at it, telling Berkely that many of Otto's complications should not be considered a "normal pregnancy." 

After obtaining additional medical information from Otto's doctor and forwarding it on, Berkely Insurance reversed its decision and mailed Otto refund totalling nearly $1,300 for the vacation she had to cancel. 

Otto said she couldn't have done it on her own saying, "Thank you to Gary for all his help. He was with me the entire time and knowing I got the money back is such a relief."

A spokesperson for Berkely tells 3 On Your Side that an overwhelming number of their claims are usually approved. They also say that they initially would have approved Otto's intial request had they been provided with the additional information I was able to obtain and forward to them.