The government is being urged to review regulations covering the sale of travel insurance after Abta found that the number of holidaymakers travelling uninsured is rising.
The number travelling without insurance increased from 1 in 5 (20%) in 2011 to 1 in 4 (25%) in 2012, according to a study by the association.
The FSA’s decision to regulate the sale of travel insurance in 2007 was described by Abta members 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 voiced concern that consumers are not sufficiently aware of the limitations of the European Health Insurance Card and insurance schemes offered by banks and credit cards.
Abta is launching a new consumer campaign in partnership with the Foreign Office to 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.
The website www.ABTA.com/travelinsurance will be updated to include a comprehensive guide to travel insurance for consumers.
The Treasury will be told that current travel insurance sales regulation is ‘over-burdensome’ and as a result it is damaging to both businesses and travellers.
Abta chief executive Mark Tanzer said: “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.”
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