Allianz Global Assistance and Sonder Australia have come together to provide an innovative new offering that focuses on international student safety
For 500,000+ international students, studying in Australia can be a life enhancing experience, but it also has unknown risks. Alarmingly, over 22% of international students experienced sexual harassment in an Australian university setting in 2016, according to the recent report by the Human Rights Commission2. As a provider of Overseas Student Health Cover (OSHC) to international students attending Australian universities for over 15 years, Allianz Global Assistance (AGA) experiences 13,000 calls to its Student Assistance Line (SAL) and has seen firsthand the issues that can impact international students.
Today, Allianz Global Assistance announces a new, one-of-a-kind offering with Sonder Australia to provide international students studying in Australia access to in-person critical incident and support services at the touch of a button, 24 hours a day, seven days a week.
What does Sonder Australia offer?
- Distress Function: In the event of a critical incident, users simply press the red distress button in the app and the Sonder Support Centre will receive a priority alert. If required, Sonder Australia will send one of their local professionals to the location to provide in-person assistance. They will also contact local emergency services to provide assistance if needed.
- Check In /Out: When activated by the user, this function allows Sonder Australia to monitor the user’s location and send regular alerts to make sure they are okay. If they don’t receive a response, they will dispatch one of their local professionals.
- Walk with Me: When activated by the user, the Sonder Support Centre will monitor the user’s location and route, walking with them virtually to guide them to their destination. If any problems are identified along the way, Sonder Australia will contact the user to make sure they’re okay.
- I’m Safe: In the event of a natural disaster or security incident, Sonder Australia will activate its geographic alert system to ensure all affected students are safe and secure. They will also provide timely updates to the student’s parents with news as to their safety.
Student well-being in Australia is a core focus for Allianz Global Assistance and the new partnership with Sonder Australia will provide students with the additional support and confidence to make the most of their time here and have a positive experience whilst studying in Australia. The “Sonder Essentials” service package will be offered at no added cost to international students who purchase an OSHC policy through an approved and eligible Allianz Global Assistance education partner from today.
Darryl Goodhand, General Manager of International Health, spoke of the offering: “Often, when international students come to Australia it is their first time away from home. Without a support network around them, it can be a confusing and daunting time. It’s natural to worry about safety and coping with cultural differences when adapting to a new environment.
He continued “The recent report by the Human Rights Commission has highlighted that there are potential risks to the personal safety of international students in university settings. With our exclusive arrangement with Sonder Australia we are able to extend local support and care to international students in Australia and provide local support when living in a new country. Parents at home can also feel powerless if a serious incident does occur – we hope this product will give both parents and students themselves peace of mind knowing that their child has access to safety services and that they can stay connected and up to date at all times.”
Craig Cowdrey, Managing Director of Sonder Australia Pty Ltd said; “Allianz Global Assistance OSHC insurance is already a go-to choice for international students studying in Australia, so they were an easy choice when deciding on an exclusive OSHC provider. Australia is a fantastic place to live but being an international student presents unique challenges for young people as they confront a foreign environment with a different language, laws and expectations. We help with these challenges so that the student can make the most of their time in Australia. Allianz Global Assistance has the credibility, trust and network to help us reach more international students and their parents with our unique student support service.”
1Australian Federal Department of Education and Training data 2017