13 Jun

ABTA Members fear burdensome regulation to blame for rise in uninsured travellers

ABTA updates travel insurance guidance following Member survey

ABTA is repeating its call to Government to review regulations around the sale of travel insurance and encouraging its Members to review ABTA guidance on travel insurance, after research showed that the number of holidaymakers travelling uninsured is on the rise.  ABTA research shows that in one year alone, the number of holidaymakers travelling uninsured has increased from 1 in 5 (20%) in 2011 to 1 in 4 (25%) in 2012*.

In a new survey conducted among Members**, the FSA’s decision in 2007 to regulate the sale of travel insurance was described by respondents as ‘ill advised’, ‘flimsy’ and ‘draconian’. The survey also highlighted the view that travel professionals are often best placed to advise on the sale of insurance as they have an understanding of the customer and what the holiday will include, for example whether adventure sports cover is required. Many Members also expressed concern that the public is not sufficiently aware of the limitations of the European Health Insurance Card (EHIC) and insurance schemes offered by banks and credit cards.

To encourage more consumers to take out travel insurance, ABTA is also launching a new consumer campaign in partnership with the Foreign Office. Part of the on-going ‘Know Before You Go’ initiative, the campaign will explain why travel insurance is necessary. It will include new research looking at attitudes to travel insurance and public understanding of the implications of travelling without it. www.ABTA.com/travelinsurance will also be updated to include a comprehensive guide to travel insurance for consumers.

ABTA will be taking its Members’ views to HM Treasury in its continued work around travel insurance, making the case that current travel insurance sales regulation is over-burdensome, and that as a result it is damaging to both businesses and travellers. 

Mark Tanzer, ABTA Chief Executive: “The concern ABTA and many of our Members have is that the regulations are too burdensome, which means fewer travel businesses are selling insurance, and ultimately that means fewer holidaymakers are taking out the appropriate insurance.  The Government must do all that it can to make it easy for people to buy the right type of cover for their needs and that starts by cutting red tape; we will continue to make our Members’ views clear to Government.  In the meantime, it is very important that Members familiarise themselves with their rights and responsibilities in informing customers about travel insurance.”

The updated guidance for Members on travel insurance can be found in the guidance and resources area of the Member Zone on ABTA.com.

*Consumer research was conducted by Arkenford Ltd (www.arkenford.co.uk) who specialise in tourism and leisure market research. The ABTA Consumer Trends survey generated response from a nationally representative sample of 2008 consumers using an online research methodology and related to holiday booking habits in the 12 months to September 2012. Fieldwork was conducted in September 2012.

**ABTA Members were surveyed online from 2 – 17 May 2013.