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New Service To Help Holidaymakers With Health Conditions

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A new service will be created to help people with pre-existing medical conditions, such as cancer, to find more affordable travel insurance premiums after research by the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) found that people with such conditions feel poorly served by the travel insurance industry.

There are currently 15 million people in the UK living with a long-term health condition and this is expected to rise to 18 million over the next 10 years. People with such conditions can be quoted premiums for hundreds or thousands of pounds by mainstream insurers because of the extra risk associated with their conditions. Some are denied cover completely or find they continue to be quoted high premiums for years after their treatment has ended.

Andy Jenkins, Operations Director at Russell Scanlan, said: “There’s no doubt that there is a greater risk for people with pre-existing medical conditions so it’s inevitable that travel insurance premiums are more expensive because there is a higher risk. Specialist travel insurance providers are there to arrange cover for people with such conditions, but the problem is the lack of signposting to these providers. People often don’t know where to turn and therefore feel they are stuck with a high premium, or have no option but to avoid going on holiday.”

In June 2017 the FCA issued an appeal for information from consumers to address concerns about affordable travel insurance. They received a huge response with many people highlighting a lack of information on alternative options if they’d received a high quote or had been refused cover, with many consumers assuming they are uninsurable. One case study involved a nurse with advanced breast cancer who was declared fit to travel to Dubai. The cheapest quote she was offered was £2,800, but after contacting a specialist travel insurer she found cover for £800.

The regulator found there was a general lack of understanding around insurance terms and the risk factors considered by providers when calculating premiums. Consumers also flagged a lack of transparency around pricing, which limited their awareness about options and meant they have difficulties in finding competitive insurance that is appropriate for their medical condition.

The FCA will now work with key stakeholders in the insurance industry to implement a new signposting service, as well as looking at ways to improve the provision of information.

Andy said: “I’m pleased to see that steps are being taken to improve signposting to specialist travel insurance providers for people with pre-existing medical conditions. As insurance brokers, we have a greater understanding of niche markets and can give clear information and advice about suitable insurance protection. If anyone would like more information, please get in touch with our team.”