’Many people facing serious medical conditions struggle with the cost of travel insurance,’ says executive director

The FCA has revealed that its signposting intervention within the travel insurance sector had a positive, yet lower than expected impact on the market.

Back in 2021, the regulator introduced new rules to help consumers with more serious pre-existing medical conditions (PEMCs) better navigate the travel insurance market.

Its introduction meant that in some circumstances, consumers have to be signposted to a recognised directory of specialist firms.

Yesterday (11 April 2024), the FCA published its post implementation review of the rules, which revealed that its intervention resulted in an additional 21,000 policy sales.

“Overall, there is an indication that consumers purchasing via the directories appear to be getting comparable value in percentage terms (namely price as a percentage of premium) to wider travel insurance for consumers without PEMC’s and consumers purchasing through non-specialist providers,” its report said.

”However, where premiums are high and firms earn percentage commissions without an absouloute cap, there is a risk that consumers may not be getting fair value.

”Firms need to ensure consumers are getting fair value from their travel insurance products.”

In turn, the FCA said that it considered ”that our signposting intervention has had a positive, albeit lower than we expected, impact on the market”.

Sheldon Mills, executive director of consumers and competition at the FCA, added: “Many people facing serious medical conditions struggle with the cost of travel insurance. Our review of our rules to signpost people to specialist online directories has found people have been helped to find better choices.

“But industry can do more to help people find cover that meets their needs, so those with serious medical conditions can enjoy a holiday or visit their loved ones with the peace of mind travel insurance provides.”


Responding to the review, Biba said it confirmed ”that signposting services are delivering good outcomes for consumers”.

”Signposting is a win win solution, it helps by connecting consumers to specialist providers and brokers and it helps the industry’s reputation,” chief executive Graeme Trudgill said.

“Specialist cover is often available for people with non-standard insurance needs, but they don’t know where to go.”

The broker body operates the Find-Insurance Service, which uses a search function to point people to a member broker, while the contact centre will triage callers seeking insurance and put them through to a business that is most likely to be able to help.

“We have seen from the increasing enquiries to our service and from the feedback received that signposting helps consumers and it’s encouraging that the FCA’s findings support this,” Trudgill said.