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Selling travel insurance is no joke

31 March 2010 16:02

One in four travel companies not compliant with FSA regulations

31 March 2009. World First Travel Insurance has chosen the 1 April to let travel businesses know that selling travel insurance “is no joke”.  Despite the introduction of new regulations on 1 January, more than 25% of travel companies are still not compliant with the rules from the Financial Services Authority (FSA) for selling travel insurance.  World First also provides a travel insurance ‘punch line’ with its ‘Trade Routes’ solution, which has been created to help agents continue to sell commissionable insurance within the regulations.

World First reviewed 400 travel sites advertising, arranging or selling travel insurance , measuring them against the FSA’s regulations.  It discovered that more than 25% of sites are falling short in several areas, and in some cases acting illegally.  The three most common mistakes made are:

  1. Appointed Representatives (AR) are omitting to display their status and the insurer from whom they act
  2. Non-AR registered operators are continuing to state that insurance can be arranged and are including details of cover and premiums, in direct contravention of FSA guidelines
  3. Non-regulated travel businesses are continuing to advertise travel insurance, ‘recommending’ or ‘advising’ specific insurers, which is also a breech of FSA regulations.

“It has been three months since the new regulations came into place, and still over a quarter of businesses are falling foul of them,” comments Martin Rothwell, Managing Partner of World First Travel Insurance.  “Agents seem to be overlooking key paperwork and website updates (many agents have simply not updated their terms and conditions since December 08 or removed old “out of date” pages from the Google index).  They need to realise that if they don’t make the changes they are in contravention of FSA rules and this could have real consequences.

“Agents and domestic operators must review the content of their websites urgently and take remedial action to amend their travel insurance wordings, including wording on their booking forms.”

World First has a white label ‘Trade Routes’ solution for travel businesses (see editor’s notes).  It is suitable for those agents who don’t want to worry about dealing directly with the FSA but would like to sell travel insurance and claim commissions up to 30% and also for ARs who don’t have an online offer as yet, and would like a quick and easy way to do so.

“Our solution is not designed to replace direct, FSA regulated, sales of travel insurance by travel agents.  However, we do offer a solution for the many businesses out there who want to sell insurance without the hassle of the regulations, as well as the opportunity to offer online insurance in the agents own brand to people who may just be passing.”

World First has created an ‘FSA Made Easy Guide’ for those operators who are still unsure of their options and what the new regulations mean to them.

Editor’s Notes:

World First Travel Insurance is a dedicated travel insurance expert with a track record in excellent travel cover (backed by leading industry underwriters PTI Insurance Company Limited) direct to the consumer.  It is a west country based business with a 25 year history in travel insurance, and its website provides a comprehensive one-stop-shop for a range of insurance solutions from single trip to gap year to ski to medical.

‘Trade Routes’ provides the industry with customisable white-label websites enabling them to become Resellers. Agents can have an own-brand travel insurance website with a unique web address to which they can direct customers. The service offers:

  • Full quote and purchasing facilities matching the agent’s existing website look and feel
  • Commission is flexible with rates (up to 30%) chosen by the agent
  • A range of policies so agents can offer only those that best suit their own customer profile
  • dedicated contact centre where telephone calls and online requests are answered in the industry partner’s name
  • Digital policy fulfilment is also completely branded
  • Intelligent marketing assistance (including adverts in all formats) helps agents find the right customer touch points to make the most out of travel insurance sales without the added regulatory headache.