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Alaistair's story

A case study illustrating why we need to change the law

What you need to know

Alaistair's Story

Quoted excessively travel insurance premiums and wide variations between providers

Alaister's story
Alastair (who is 68 years old) applied to renew his existing annual worldwide travel insurance policy and was quoted a significant increase in his premium. At the age of 56 he had surgical heart operation and is on regular medication for his heart condition. He was informed by his insurance provider that there had been a change of insurance underwriter resulting in significant rise in their premiums for a number of older people.

Full story

Alastair (who is 68 years old) was surprised when he applied to renew his existing annual worldwide travel insurance policy and was quoted a significant increase in his premium. At the age of 56 Alastair had a surgical heart procedure and is on regular medication for his heart condition.

His previous premium had been £210 for annual worldwide policy insurance (including excess protection). When he sought to renew his annual worldwide travel insurance in December 2013, the insurance provider refused to give him annual travel insurance and offered him single trip insurance (to cover a trip to America) at a premium of £875.

When he queried the excessive rise in his insurance premium from the previous year, he was made to understand that this was due to a change in the insurance underwriter and who sought information on a range of medical issues that had not previously been requested. He was also told that as a result of these changes, a number of older people had seen a significant rise in their premiums. Alastair subsequently asked the insurance provider why his premium was so high but he felt the written reply did not answer his questions in sufficient detail. He requested further clarification but was subsequently told by the insurance provider that there would be no further clarification to the points they made in their letter.

Alastair obtained a quote from another travel insurance company, which was aware of his heart condition, and which offered him single trip insurance cover to the USA for £426. This was significantly lower than the previous quote, but higher than his previous policy.

He subsequently obtained a policy from a third insurance provider who offered him annual worldwide travel insurance for £135, this included cover for his pre-existing heart condition, but does not cover dementia or instances of travel against a doctors advice. The policy also does not cover people over the age of 85. Alastair's current policy is provided through the civil service scheme for retired employees, which he is able to access as he is a member of a Union.

Alastair was surprised to see the marked difference in the three quotes that he received for travel insurance for an older person. He was also shocked that the first provider refused to provide him with annual travel insurance and was only prepared to offer him single trip insurance at what he considered to be a premium. He was also disappointed that he unable to ascertain from the information he received from the first insurance provider why their premium was so high.

Note:  It should be noted that if legislation is introduced it would only allow a service provider’s decision to be challenged on age grounds if the risk assessment was not based on relevant information.
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