According to an investigation by Which? Travel in the UK, in 2017, the Financial Ombudsman Service (FOS) upheld more complaints related to travel insurance than to any other major type of insurance.
Which? found that in almost four out of every 10 cases the FOS assessed related to travel insurance, it ruled in favour of consumers, stating that they had been treated unfairly by their insurers. Health and contents insurance customers, for example, were found to have been treated unfairly in just over one-quarter of cases.
It was also found that, in 2017, the FOS received a record number of complaints related to travel insurance. According to Which?, claims handlers were frequently found to have quibbled over details in small print, applied exclusions that were seen as ‘unfair’, and made use of ‘delaying tactics’ in order to avoid paying out for legitimate claims. Additionally, more than one-quarter of upheld complaints were related to undeclared health issues; it was decreed that some insurers were stretching the definition of what could be counted as a pre-existing condition.
While these findings are certainly a bad look for an industry that is rarely starved for bad publicity – whether fair or unfair – it is encouraging to look at the figures another way and see that more than six in 10 travel insurance complaints were not upheld. This shows that the travel insurance industry is doing things properly more often than it isn’t; hopefully these figures will continue to improve, and before long, high-profile investigations such as this, and their embarrassing connotations, will be a minor footnote.