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Travel Insurance Fine Print Dominates Complaints Resolutions

25 October 2012

Travel Insurance Fine Print Dominates Complaints Resolutions

Resolving complaints over travel insurance disputes has dominated the Financial Service Complaints Ltd’s workload and helped it on the way to a 400 percent increase in cases investigated during its second full year of operation.

Complaints against insurers made up about half of the cases investigated,30 complaints about declined travel insurance claims at the top of the list. Complaints against lenders and finance companies made up about 20% of the cases investigated.

Chief executive officer Susan Taylor warned consumers to take care when buying travel insurance or relying on “free” travel insurance that comes with credit cards and to make sure travellers fully understand exactly what they are covered for.

Some policies imposed age limits and time limits, which can severely restrict the extent of cover provided (if any) under a travel insurance policy, she said. The two most common issues related to policy exclusions for pre-existing medical conditions and baggage or items ‘lost while unsupervised”.

Pre-existing medical insurance policy exclusions included symptoms that have not yet been diagnosed as a particular condition, recurring conditions and managed conditions such as asthma, even if a doctor has declared a person medically fit to travel, Ms Taylor said.

Intentionally leaving a handbag under a towel at the beach, or unintentionally dropping a wallet in a taxi or leaving a camera at a café “tip-toe” the fine line between being covered and not being covered under some policies, she said.

In releasing FSCL’s second annual report today, Board Chairman, Kenneth Johnston, said he was delighted with the way that FSCL had efficiently managed such a large increase in cases for investigation in line with its vision to provide a world class dispute resolution scheme for its participants and their customers.

Ms Taylor said overall financial service providers were doing a good job of resolving complaints directly with their customers.

But there was still very low consumer awareness of the new regulations requiring all financial service providers to belong to an independent dispute resolution scheme.

She said some financial service providers were reluctant to refer their customers who had unresolved complaints to the dispute resolution scheme.

© Scoop Media

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