30Jun

The Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) has launched a Call for Input, seeking views on the specific issue of the provision travel insurance to customers who have cancer, or who have experienced cancer in the past.

The key issues the FCA wishes to get feedback on are:

  • The issues firms face when providing travel insurance to current or former cancer patients
  • The difficulties consumers experience in finding suitable travel insurance, given their cancer diagnosis
  • Examples of innovative practices currently being employed by firms
  • Ways in which better consumer outcomes could be achieved

The call for input closes on September 15 2017, and the FCA promises to publish a feedback statement summarising the responses before the end of the year.

Customers with pre-existing medical conditions undoubtedly present a higher risk in any form of health insurance, but insurers need to consider whether it is really likely that the applicant would need to seek treatment as a result of their condition during a short holiday. The BBC cited the example of a nurse with breast cancer who was quoted £2,800 for travel insurance for a trip to Dubai.

Getting away on holiday can of course sometimes provide valuable benefits to people who have undergone gruelling treatment. For people who have had the worst possible news, i.e. that their cancer is terminal, a final ‘dream’ holiday can sometimes be the best possible tonic.

Lynda Thomas, chief executive of Macmillan Cancer Support, commented:

“Every day we hear from people who are having trouble accessing travel insurance. They may have been quoted sky-high prices, had their cancer excluded from cover or had to deal with endless phone calls or mountains of paperwork in order to apply for a policy.”

The insurers’ trade association, the Association of British Insurers (ABI), recommended that consumers who had experienced cancer approached a specialist provider.

ABI head of conduct regulation James Bridge said that travel insurance was “widely available for people who have long-term and serious health conditions”.

Mr Bridge added:

“Insurers are always striving to find new ways to develop products that are affordable and accessible, regardless of circumstances.”

Christopher Woolard, Executive Director of Strategy and Competition at the FCA, said:

“Being able to access financial services is critical for people to fully participate in society. We hope that this will encourage discussion on access issues to examine the challenges for firms and consumers.”

“Given our previous findings in this area, we see this as a critical time to fully explore these issues and consider potential solutions.”

Mr Woolard backed up his comments in a speech on the subject, where he said:

“Cancer sufferers are left with a pretty dire choice. Travel and pay the inflated premium, cancel the trip altogether, or travel at risk.”

The information shown in this article was correct at the time of publication. Articles are not routinely reviewed and as such are not updated. Please be aware the facts, circumstances or legal position may change after publication of the article.