Travel insurance for cancer sufferers in the spotlight

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The UK Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) is launching a consultation to seek views and evidence of the challenges firms face in providing travel insurance for consumers who have, or have had, cancer, and the challenges for these consumers in accessing insurance. The paper is also looking at the reasons for pricing differences in premiums quoted. It looks more broadly at access issues related to insurance but specifically seeks views on how consumers with cancer or those in recovery can access the travel insurance market.

Christopher Woolard, executive director of strategy and competition at the FCA, said: “Being able to access financial services is critical for people to fully participate in society. We hope that this will encourage discussion on access issues to examine the challenges for firms and consumers. Given our previous findings in this area, we see this as a critical time to fully explore these issues and consider potential solutions.”

The FCA is seeking input on:

·         The challenges for firms in providing travel insurance for consumers who have, or have had, cancer.

·         The challenges consumers face when they have, or have had, cancer in finding suitable travel insurance.

·         Examples of innovative practices in the current market.

·         Any barriers that firms face in addressing existing challenges or that prevent innovation.

·         Potential improvements that could result in better consumer outcomes.

Richard Smith of Travel Insurance Facilities Group (tifgroup) said: “We are really pleased that the FCA have chosen to undertake a consultation on access to insurance. For many years people with medical conditions such as cancer and complex genetic conditions have struggled to meet the criteria of many insurers and have therefore not been able to obtain appropriate levels of protection when travelling. Customers are either faced with eye watering premiums or are allowed to purchase cover with exclusions applied to specific conditions on their policy. Neither are in the best interests of the consumer as often the premiums applied are simply unnecessary, as they are based on the perception of risk, rather than the actual risk presented for travel or they find themselves flummoxed at claims stage to discover their claim has been refused having not understood the implications of the exclusion applied at point of sale.” Tifgroup will be ‘actively working’ with the FCA during the consultation.