I fully support Biba's drive to have travel agents regulated by the FSA. While many of us smaller brokers are struggling with the regulatory burden of treating customers fairly (TCF), contract certainty and the like, forcing customers to sit through long-winded mantras for the sake of "transparency", many travel agents are getting away with selling dodgy policies without giving professional advice.
A friend of mine who works in the travel sector tells me that the typical commission on these policies is over 40% and many of them don't offer the appropriate cover, such as terrorism-related events, as highlighted a few months ago by Trevor Lakin, whose son died in the Egyptian bombings and suffered shameful delays as a consequence of an inadequate policy.
Peter Staddon was spot on ("Regulation looms for travel sector", News, 10 August) to say that many policies are poorly sold.
The government's investigation is welcome, but without FSA-style regulation, it's a toothless tiger.
Brokers are by far the best placed to sell travel insurance and ensure that it's right for the customer. Travel agents are not qualified to be selling insurance anyway and should be referring their clients to professionals - that is: insurance brokers.
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