AllClear weighs in on signposting

Travel insurance

ITIJ recently reported on a consultation launched by the UK’s Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) into proposals to help travellers with pre-existing medical conditions (PEMCs) find appropriate travel insurance through ‘signposting’. A number of industry bodies have given their initial responses to the proposals; now specialist over-50s travel insurer AllClear, which focuses on helping travellers with difficult medical conditions to obtain cover, has shared its thoughts.

Chris Rolland, CEO of AllClear, said that while he and his company do, in principle, fully support the idea of signposting, they believe that the FCA proposals as they currently stand require clarity in certain areas.

“Our concerns,” he said, “are around which consumers will be signposted and to which companies. It is important that the signposting provides a helpful customer journey, which is a major improvement on the status quo. Consumers should only be signposted to providers who are able to cover almost every scenario, and that means the true specialist providers. Consumers will need to have faith in the system, and this will quickly evaporate if they are declined cover by a provider to whom they are directed. This could happen a second or third time if the correct providers are not included on the list, leaving the consumer further frustrated.

“We agree customers should be signposted where they have been either declined travel insurance or are only offered travel insurance where they exclude some/all of their medical conditions. However, we believe it is disproportionate to require signposting where a small additional premium has been added for a minor medical condition. This would incorporate too broad a pool of consumers that are already adequately served by the general insurance market and would not benefit from shopping around. A customer already speaking to a specialist that can offer the cover that meets their needs may become confused if that specialist is forced to signpost them to a directory.”

A signposting system such as the one proposed, said Rolland, should only be triggered when people are finding it very difficult to get cover, and where signposting would be of direct benefit. “The insurance industry already has an established service in place,” he went on to say, “which, if promoted and supported by the FCA, could provide a more helpful and cost-effective part of the solution to help any consumer who is struggling to access travel insurance. The BIBA Find Insurance Service has a proven track record of signposting consumers directly to medical travel insurance specialists with more than 600,000 enquiries per year.”

AllClear also said that it will be issuing a formal response to the consultation.