June 20, 2017 / 4:10 PM / 3 months ago

UK watchdog reviews travel insurance for cancer patients

LONDON (Reuters) - Britain’s markets watchdog on Tuesday opened a public consultation to see if changes are needed to make it easier for people with cancer to get travel insurance.

The Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) said it was also looking at the reasons for pricing differences in premiums quoted by insurers. The consultation is part of a wider look at problems some consumers can face when trying to buy insurance.

The FCA said insurance markets were becoming more segmented with the use of “big data” - or very detailed information about which customers pose the highest risk to insurers.

Such customers may have to “navigate an increasingly complex and confusing market” to find insurers willing to cover them.

“These issues are particularly apparent for those with, or recovering from, cancer,” the FCA said.

The Association of British Insurers, an industry body, said travel insurance is widely available for people who have long-term and serious health conditions, including people who have cancer.

But the Travel Insurance Facilities Group (tifgroup), which sells travel insurance, said customers with medical conditions have faced “eye watering premiums” or have had to buy cover with exclusions applied to specific conditions.

“We are hopeful that the FCA’s work will address some of the key insurance issues faced by those affected by illness and that the travel insurance industry adopts a more individual and inclusive approach to assessing the actual risk that these people actually present,” Richard Smith, managing director of tifgroup, said.

Reporting by Huw Jones; Editing by Susan Fenton and Jane Merriman

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