Following the recent coverage of the failure of Whiteley Insurance, I am concerned that the media has misinterpreted the major issue.

The key problem for agents and their customers is the lack of an authorised underwriter for many of the policies sold by Whiteley. Without this, there is no guarantee that the promise offered in the policy will be delivered.

It is a legal requirement that the name of the insurer appears on the policy wording, and all agents should ensure it is included in the documents issued.

As insurance companies, we have a duty to ensure our products are sold correctly. We should encourage intermediaries as well as the public to be more aware and educated in what to look for when choosing a policy.

Price should not be the only factor. After all, in buying a policy the customer is only buying a promise that the insurer will pay out in the event of a valid claim. If no insurance company backs the policy, the promise is worthless.

Fiona McDonald
Deputy director, travel and leisure
Europ Assistance Holdings