PS20/3: Signposting to travel insurance for consumers with medical conditions

Open consultation: CP19/23
15/07/2019
Consultation closes
15/09/2019
Policy Statement
05/02/2020
05/02/2020

In April 2021 we introduced new requirements to help consumers with more serious pre-existing medical conditions (PEMCs) better navigate the travel insurance market. Firms that sell travel insurance will, in some circumstances, have to signpost consumers to a directory of specialist firms that provide this type of insurance. 

There are two directories, for people with serious PEMCs, that meet our criteria: 

All firms that offer retail travel insurance must include details of at least one of the confirmed directories on their websites. 

Consumer enquiries about the MaPS directory can be made to the MoneyHelper's Customer Contact Centre which is available from Monday to Friday, 8am to 6pm: 0800 138 7777. Firms can contact the Directory Helpdesk by emailing: [email protected].

Consumer enquiries about the BIBA directory can be made to BIBA’s call centre on 0370 950 1790, which is available Monday to Friday, 9am to 5.30pm. Firms that want to be included on the directory, whether or not they are a member of BIBA, can contact BIBA’s Find Insurance Service Manager, Jordan Kirby, at [email protected] or 07920 577699.

Update on the Post Implementation Review (due by October 2022) 

We have taken the decision to delay the post implementation review of our travel signposting rules by a year and intend to conduct the review in the period April to October 2023. We consider the impact of Covid-19 on the travel insurance market, both in terms of level of market activity and the challenges separating the impact of our remedy from the impact of Covid-19, would undermine our ability to draw firm conclusions if we conducted the review this year. We expect that there will be better evidence available in 2023 to conduct the review.

Read PS20/3

Our changes aim to:

  • reduce the number of uninsured consumers, who currently face a choice of not travelling or risk having to pay significant costs, including medical bills abroad
  • reduce the number of consumers with PEMCs who are significantly overpaying for travel insurance
  • reduce the number of consumers who feel frustrated and unable to navigate the market
  • increase consumer confidence and trust in the travel insurance market

In addition to signposting, the FCA will be working with stakeholders to try to improve consumer understanding of the travel insurance market, including producing material on PEMCs. This information will help consumers understand the implications of travelling with exclusions, and how factors such as country of travel can impact medical costs and therefore travel insurance premiums.

What we are changing

Our changes will:

  • Require firms to signpost certain consumers with PEMCs to a directory of specialist providers.
  • Introduce guidance that firms selling travel insurance policies that exclude PEMCs should tell consumers whether and how these PEMC exclusions can be removed.
  • Introduce guidance for firms reminding them to assess the risk from medical conditions and calculate medical condition premiums using reliable information that is relevant to assessing this risk. This will help make sure that consumers are quoted a fair premium which properly covers their circumstances.

Who this applies to

These changes will primarily be of interest to: 

  • all firms that offer retail travel insurance, including insurers, Lloyd’s managing agents, intermediaries and appointed representatives
  • banks that offer packaged bank accounts which include travel insurance
  • insurance industry trade associations
  • charities, particularly medical charities
  • consumer organisations
  • consumers, primarily those with PEMCs

Background to these changes 

Some consumers with PEMCs have problems navigating the market and finding affordable cover for their conditions.

Some are declined cover, only offered cover that excludes their PEMC or offered what they consider to be unaffordable premiums. 

In July 2019, we consulted on new requirements for firms to signpost certain consumers with PEMCs to a directory of travel insurance firms that are able and willing to cover consumers with more serious PEMCs.

We also consulted on new guidance to clarify how we expect firms to treat travel insurance customers with PEMCs.

Following the consultation we published the Policy Statement in February 2020, and in April 2020 we published an addendum. This covered 20 responses to the consultation that were not reviewed in error, how we took those responses into account and changes to the instrument.

In April 2020 we announced we would allow firms to delay implementation of the rules, allowing them to focus on urgent priorities related to the coronavirus (Covid-19) pandemic. In July 2020 we set out that firms should be in a position to implement the rules and the requirements were introduced from 26 April 2021.

Page updates

17/06/2022: Information added Update on the Post Implementation Review
19/08/2021: Link changed to MoneyHelper's travel insurance directory
13/08/2021: Information changed Money and Pensions Service (MaPS) and Money Advice Service to MoneyHelper
08/10/2020: Information added Update – October 2020

27/07/2020: Information added 26 April 2021 new implementation date and expected next steps announced

07/04/2020: Information added Coronavirus update postponing signposting rules start date, and addendum published