DAN is not an insurance company – a common misconception. DAN is a diving emergency assistance organization. It is underwritten by a group cover policy from Chartis (South Africa), which allows it to extend emergency medical cover to its members for certain travel, medical and diving-related emergencies in support of its mission. Much of this cover is primarily provided by a personal medical aid, while injuries and illnesses sustained as a direct result of work is covered by means of the Compensation for Occupational Injuries and Diseases Act (COIDA). DAN membership benefits does not replace the need for cover by a medical aid, nor does it negate the legal requirement for employers to be registered with the Compensation Commissioner, but it would cover the "gap" where such provision is not available, for instance:
Divers not covered by COIDA:
Not all divers are not formally employed by a company or diving contractor, but prefer to work on a "self-employed" or "free-lance" basis. These divers are likely to receive recompression therapy at the divesite (provided by the company they contract their services to), but the provision of medical care (e.g. admission to hospital or proper medical consultation) would generally not be provided by the client, or only to a limited extent. This may especially be a concern for divers who are working internationally.
Additional security for diving contractors:
Diving contractors who employ divers are responsible for providing medical care to injured divers. This is generally provided by means of the COIDA system, but because this system is severely overloaded, cover may not always be confirmed at the time when it is needed or some elements may be excluded from cover. Through DAN membership, diving contractors are thus able to ensure that their employees (divers) have immediate access to the DAN membership benefits, which DAN (as service provider) can then (at least partially) claim from the compensation commissioner after the fact. This ensures that the financial responsibility for implementation of expensive measures (e.g. medical evacuation) does not fall on the diving contractor, but is provided under membership benefits. Registration with the compensation commissioner in terms of the COIDA is however still a legal responsibility of each contractor. It is important to be aware of the limitations on the cover provided as DAN membership benefits. These details are available in the policy wording provided by the insurance underwriters.
It is furthermore important to note that the individual diver is not provided with insurance, but the decision taken by the DAN DMO-on-call are covered by the policy (therefore ALL claims are activated by calling the DAN hotline). As part of your membership, DAN automatically provides cover according to the respective membership leels.