Changes have been made to the provision of travel insurance to help consumers with pre-existing medical conditions (PEMCs) to find affordable cover for their conditions. Before these changes took place some were declined cover, offered cover with exclusions for their PEMCs or offered what they saw as unaffordable premiums.
To address this, the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) have introduced new guidance designed to help these consumers better navigate the travel insurance market and get better outcomes. The changes are intended to help more consumers with PEMCs to access affordable insurance that covers their conditions with the aim to achieve this by making it easier to find relevant information and specialist insurance providers. This should make it more likely that they can get insurance at an affordable price.
The changes should:
- increase consumer confidence and trust in the travel insurance market because more consumers should find it easier to find appropriate insurance cover for their PEMCs and have a less frustrating experience doing so
- reduce the number of uninsured consumers, who currently face a choice of not travelling or risk incurring significant costs, including medical bills, abroad
- ensure consumers with PEMCs are no longer paying too much for travel insurance
They may also promote competition between travel insurance firms by improving consumer access and awareness, increasing consumers’ ability to shop around and the likelihood of them doing so.
The FCA changes will require insurance firms to:
- signpost certain consumers with PEMCs to a directory of specialist providers
- introduce guidance for firms selling travel insurance policies excluding PEMCs that they should tell consumers whether and how, PEMC exclusions can be removed
- introduce guidance for firms reminding them to assess the risk associated with medical conditions and calculate medical condition premiums using reliable information that is relevant to the assessment of the risk
Asprey Harris is a member of the British Insurance Brokers Association (BIBA) and will be using BIBA’s travel medical directory to signpost customers with PEMCs towards appropriate specialist cover, where required.