ATII works with UK Foreign and Commonwealth Office on Travel Aware campaign

The ATII were invited recently to assist the FCO in the planning of their forthcoming Travel Aware campaign - this is the new name for the original Know Before You Go campaign.

Kate Huet (ATII Chairman) and Carl Carter (Committee Member) went along to put forward our thoughts on July 20th 2016.

ATII members were all able to support this request by contributing their thoughts based on their experience with consumers, relative to the sale of travel insurance and the shortfalls in consumer knowledge that they regularly came across, and the issues that we regularly have to manage as a result.

Top of the list was the need by consumers to fully declare all their pre-existing medical conditions when applying for a travel insurance policy - and the complex consequences of under declaration which can ultimately result in claims being declined. Other issues regularly experienced included:

Encourage travellers to better research where they are going especially in relation to the healthcare facilities available at their destination. Hospitals in Italy for instance are very different in what they provide to a hospital here in the UK.

Similarly the accessibility of healthcare in remote destinations.

The need to buy cover for Hazardous activities, especially things like riding/hiring mopeds and to check what cc your motorbike has and whether it is covered by your policy. Also important is to use appropriate safety equipment – crash helmets, life-jackets in boats (even if NOT legally required to be worn locally).

Cash, valuables and gadgets have limits on travel insurance policies for the sum insured – consumer awareness of sub limits and unattended clauses/locked safe requirements etc is low.

Alcohol/Drugs and how use of these can invalidate cover.

Better awareness of the costs of private treatment abroad and, even where provided, how state funded treatment may not be the first hospital you get taken to. Also the huge rise in USA costs annually.

If a consumer has no insurance, that there is no repatriation even with an EHIC

EHIC is still misleading. It is poorly named and does not deliver what consumers believe it does. Work must be done to explain the shortfalls.

The ATII believe that the campaign, especially under its new name Travel Aware needs a profile lift. They have done some really great stuff in the past but consumers don’t seem to know about it now.

As an organisation the ATII will be investigating how we as members can help to ensure that the public are better aware of what the FCO advise in their travel advice and we will seek to provide direct links from the ATII website into the FCO Travel Advice Units online resources.

We also discussed problems we see regularly in our interaction with UK Health Professionals:

Emergency medical assistance companies; biggest headache is obtaining home GPs contact details, consent from the patient, or patients relative if the patient is unconscious, and then finding further delay in the GP actually prioritising a reply.

Doctors recommending their patient has a nice holiday, adding that they should make sure you have a good travel insurance policy, when their patients are unlikely to endure the whole trip without the need for medical assistance.

Foreign medical treatment facilities over treating patients; i.e. Patient goes on trip with declared heart valve disease and has a fainting fit. Facility performs full heart valve replacement surgery when drug stabilisation and return to UK would have been more appropriate. This is particularly so for the USA who rampantly over treat when they know they have an insured patient.

Doctors giving out Fit to Travel and Fit to Fly letters to patients who from a travel Insurers perspective really should not be travelling.

The ATII have been invited to review the campaign further as it comes to fruition for Q3 2016. We hope that some, if not all of the above points - will be carried into the campaign and consumers can be better educated about the above problems that we face daily.