The ABI has warned that travel agents must be brought under the umbrella of FSA regulation. The organisation claims that two-thirds of consumers are not protected while travel agents trade independently. Of course travel agents should be regulated.

The following is a pretty basic requirement. CP160 states that, at pre-commitment stage, customers should receive key information about the policy. Where this information is in writing it should be in the form of a policy summary document that signposts the customer to the relevant section of the policy document. If the consumer wants one, a policy document must be made available on request. In fact this is currently the case within the GISC rules.

With this in mind, I have conducted a small exercise. It has not come as a surprise that none of the travel agents contacted have been able to provide a specimen policy. One agent passed a colleague of mind around number of different call centres (none of whom could help or even show much understanding of what was being asked for) before he was finally advised to go into his local branch. Guess what? No policies available there either. I suppose you might get one when you have paid for your holiday?

The FSA is regulating our industry for the protection of the consumer - and about time too. But if a travel agent is unable to action the simplest of requirements and displays this lack of understanding, I would say that is travel agents who are in the greatest need of regulation.

Graham Luckett

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