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EASS helps in challenging travel insurance quote

28 April 2015

Trying to arrange travel insurance for a holiday of a lifetime almost led to a trip being cancelled due to an unbelievably high quote after disclosure of medical information

The Equality Advisory & Support Service (EASS) were contacted by an individual who had received an incredibly high quote for travel insurance due to statements made about health on an online form.

The caller was planning a holiday of a lifetime with his family and had previously used the insurance company at a reasonable price. He decided to use the company again and disclosed that he has malignant melanoma more than once yet they were isolated nodes.

The online form would only allow him to submit this as a re-occurring condition whereas; in reality they should have been considered as separate conditions.  Because of this his premium quote was £961. This left his planned holiday in serious doubt as he simply could not afford the insurance offered.

Roy, an EASS adviser with over 20 years’ experience helping individuals understand their rights.

EASS gave the caller advice on how the Equality Act works within insurance services. The caller spoke with Roy, one of the EASS’s experienced advisors who talked him through his rights. In particular, Roy discussed that in some cases insurance companies can charge higher premiums but only if a strict criteria justifying the higher charge has been followed.

Roy explained that the reason for the higher quote had to be relevant to the risk being insured and, importantly for this caller; it has to be based on information from a source in which it is reasonable to rely.

The company’s online form was not flexible enough to allow the full facts to be presented. When the individual initially complained about the high premium he was told that there was little that could be done.

Roy advised that the caller use a template letter from the EASS website and, combined with advice around disability discrimination, suggested that he asks more details about how the company sets their prices when particular health conditions are revealed. Roy’s advice and support gave the caller confidence to challenge the insurance company.

When confronted with this information, the insurance company admitted that the online form was not flexible enough to take all information into account and that the decision to charge a high premium was not actually based on any information from a reliable source. They looked again at the information provided and agreed that the quote should have been £136. This is a massive £825 cheaper than originally quoted!

The caller was extremely happy as he now is able to go on his planned holiday with the rest of his family. Roy was also very pleased with the result – “This issue shows that a high quote can be challenged because strict criteria have to be followed by providers of financial services. If any insurance company cannot advise where they got their information from to charge a higher premium and also cannot show that it comes from a source which it is reasonable to rely, higher premiums may result in discrimination”.

The EASS advises and supports individuals with incidents of discrimination. Although no legal representation is provided, the service does all it can to try and work with you to find an informal resolution to your issue. If you need any advice on this type of issue or any incident of discrimination, make use of the free service provided by EASS. You will be speaking with a team of dedicated professionals who are here to help.

Contact with EASS can be made free on 0808 800 0082, text phone 0808 800 0084 or contact made via the website www.equalityadvisoryservice.com

BSL is also available via the website.