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Holidaymakers urged to get travel insurance

ABTA urges people not to travel without adequate cover

[January 2nd 2009]

Passengers onboard

With new regulations regarding travel insurance coming into effect this year travel industry body ABTA is urging people not to travel without adequate cover.

ABTA – the Association of British Travel Agents – is the largest travel association in the UK and its members provide 90% of foreign package holidays in the UK as well as millions of independent travel arrangement. The association is worried that more people will travel without insurance in 2009 because of the new government regulations.

From January 1st 2009 all travel insurance sold through travel agents and tour operators will be regulated by the Financial Services Authority (FSA). ABTA is concerned that the cost and complexity of the new regulations will mean that fewer companies will offer travel insurance, leading to more holidaymakers travelling uninsured.

ABTA has a Code of Conduct which specifies that travel agents and tour operators must draw the attention of their clients to the importance of having adequate travel insurance. Travel insurance typically includes cover for holiday cancellation, accidents, illness and lost baggage.

“When you are travelling, make sure you get adequate and appropriate travel insurance for where you are going and for what you will be doing,” advises ABTA head of financial services, Mike Monk.

“Ask your travel company about insurance, and if they can’t offer it, make sure you obtain it elsewhere as soon after you book your holiday as possible,” he recommends.

All travel agents and tour operators selling travel insurance have to be authorised from January 1st this year. They can choose to either be regulated directly by the FSA or they can find an authorised insurer to appoint them as a representative.

Those travel agents and tour operators who choose to be regulated directly by the FSA have to pay an initial fee of £2,000 plus ongoing compliance costs.

Agents and tour operators who are not regulated by the FSA or appointed as a representative by an insurance company must stop selling and advising on travel insurance. They are only allowed to provide leaflets and information on how to contact a travel insurance company.

Written by: Nick Purdom

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