The TARIF insurance scheme established this month as an alternative to bonding for agents selling rail tickets has already signed up 150 companies.
The Association of Train Operators (ATOC) formally announced the launch of TARIF – the Travel Agents Reserve Insurance Fund – yesterday, although the scheme has been running since early this month, as Travel Weekly reported on May 6.
Travel management companies (TMCs) already in the scheme account for about £340 million a year in rail sales.
Tarif was set up following 12 months of talks between ATOC, the Guild of Travel Management Companies (GTMC) and Advantage Travel Centres. It offers credit insurance against defaults on payments to train operators, paid from a fund created by a levy on agents’ sales.
The scheme offers a possible model for leisure agents who will require an Atol – and perhaps a bond – following government reform of consumer-protection regulations.
A seven-strong management board – comprising representatives of ATOC, the Rail Settlement Plan (RSP), the GTMC, Advantage and Abta – will oversee TARIF’s operation.
ATOC said the levy on participating companies should amount to no more than 0.36% of rail sales, collected via the RSP.
GTMC chief executive Anne Godfrey thanked members of Advantage and the GTMC for their hard work, saying: “Together with ATOC we have shown what can be achieved when representative bodies work together.”
ATOC commercial director David Mapp said: “TARIF offers TMCs a real alternative to bonding. It’s the culmination of a year’s very effective collaboration with the GTMC and Advantage.”
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