Grey market travel insurance costs push silver surfers’ trips into the red

Posted by Olderiswiser Editorial

Insurance industry facing a challenge to deliver affordable travel insurance premiums to older people with pre-existing health conditions and other specific needs.

Older travellers pose challenge to insurance companies

Reports the National Health Service (NHS) needs £2,000 from every household has ignited debate about the cost of healthcare in the UK, and Aquarium Software says the issue has disturbing parallels for the travel insurance industry. Many problems confronting the NHS face the insurance sector and just as the NHS is treating an ageing population, the insurance market faces a similar dilemma.

The delivery of affordable premiums to an increasing section of society with pre-existing medical conditions should be a concern for all. 54 percent of over 55s see insurance as a necessary evil and remain unaware of the cost of medical treatment abroad - something the industry must work harder to communicate, according to Aquarium.

“There is an argument that Brits brought up with the NHS have no idea of the true cost of healthcare and the true value of travel insurance,” said Aquarium Software Director, Mark Colonnese. “We face a stark choice about long-term travel insurance costs in the face of an ageing population; exactly the same challenge we face with the NHS. Premiums must be realistic yet affordable and technology has a key role to play in keeping prices as low as possible,” said Mark. Over the next 15 years, the number of over 65s will increase by 4.4 million. Many with medical conditions will want to travel. The blunt view is premiums must rise to reflect the increased risk, but such candour risks turning people off travel insurance altogether.

“Expecting consumers to pay more for travel insurance than the holiday itself will see more take chances and travellers won’t be truthful about medical conditions if unaffordable premiums are the only reward. This is the reality we face. We don’t have all the answers, but we do encourage urgent national debate. Technology offers some of the solutions for sure - tailoring cover to individuals and specific trips and activities, helping to keep premiums low and encouraging honest declarations. Kick starting a conversation on this needs to happen sooner rather than later,” concluded Colonnese. Aquarium Software is used by a number of travel insurers; pet insurers; and other consumer service providers and affinity partners in the UK, Europe, USA and Canada.

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