Cancer sufferers to get signposted to specialist travel insurers

Patients find it too difficult to access cover, says FCA

People with cancer and other pre-existing medical conditions will be given access to a new service directing them to specialist travel insurers following an investigation by the financial regulator.

The Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) carried out a call for input on access to insurance, which found many consumers with pre-existing medical conditions find it difficult to access the specialist travel insurance market.

Christopher Woolard, executive director of strategy and competition at the FCA, said: there are specialist services out there, but people do not know where to find them.

“We’ll work with industry to point people in the right direction and help dispel some of the myths and misunderstandings to ensure this market works better,” he added.

“This will also form part of our continuing our work on insurance pricing practices which are designed to lead to long-term positive changes across the market.”

The call for input found there is a lack of quality information on alternative options available to consumers after they have received a high quote or have been refused cover, which can cause consumers to assume that they are uninsurable. 

It also revealed a general lack of understanding around insurance terms and the risk factors that are considered by providers when calculating the premium.

The FCA said the lack of transparency around pricing, the risk factors which drive quotes and how premiums are calculated can mean people have difficulties in finding competitive insurance that is appropriate for their medical condition.

Melissa Collett, professional standards director at the Chartered Insurance Institute, said it is absurd that people with cancer are prevented from travelling because they cannot get insurance, or are forced to risk travelling without it.

“Many people living with cancer and those in remission live healthy and full lives and we should be doing all we can to support them in this,” she argued.

However, Fran Woodard, Macmillan Cancer Support’s executive director of policy and impact, said it was disappointing that the proposals do not go further.

She pointed out that improved signposting will only benefit people with cancer if there is fair and affordable cover available. 

“People with cancer deserve the same chance to enjoy a relaxing, restorative time away without worrying about extortionate premiums or travelling without cover,” she added.