Survey confirms claims of poor product knowledge
KETTERIDGE has been forced to agree with Direct Line that retailers lack basic knowledge about travel insurance after asking agents product-related questions aimed at proving exactly the opposite.
Direct Line launched a swingeing attack on travel agents a few weeks ago, accusing them of having a lack of adequate information about policies and imposing unfair pressure on clients.
A statement from the insurer said: "It is high time travel agents were brought to book over their reckless sales practices... despite the ban on tying holiday discounts to insurance sales, most holidaymakers are still being exploited."
Ketteridge sales manager Doug Weston said he wanted to disprove Direct Line's claims so he asked six agents a travel insurance-related question each at a number of recent ABTA meetings.
One question asked them to name the group of mountains which formed the eastern boundary of Europe for the purposes of travel insurance policies.
Another asked what PIR is and when it was likely to be required. Weston said he was disappointed that in most cases agents got the answers wrong. The Pyrenees was one of the mountain ranges cited, rather than the Urals.
No agents knew that PIR stood for property irregularity report - the form clients need to obtain from a transport provider such as an airline or coach operator if it loses or damages their belongings.
Weston said: "These are things travel agents should know if they are to advise clients properly.
"There is a need for agents to know more about the product if they are to continue to make money from it."
Complaints from Direct Line have prompted a new investigation of agents' selling practices by the Office of Fair Trading (see page 41).
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