United Kingdom

Britain's biggest travel insurance provider stops offering new policies

Britain's largest travel insurance provider has stopped offering new policies just as schools shut for the summer holidays.

Travel Insurance Facilities, which operates dozens of firms including HolidaySafe and Flexicover, blamed its German insurer for placing a 'temporary pause' on new sales to customers in Britain. 

The umbrella company, known as TIFgroup, said existing policies would not be affected and holidaymakers would still be able to make claims.

But those hoping to book insurance for summer getaways just as the international travel industry reopens will fall foul of the change.

TIFgroup, which generated £30million in sales in the year to March 2020, will see sales plummet because of the ban.

Its policies were, until recently, insured by Union Reiseversicherung (URV), but it cut off supply to the UK while it reviews its regulatory requirements, reported The Times.

Travel Insurance Facilities, which operates dozens of firms including HolidaySafe and Flexicover, blamed its German insurer for placing a 'temporary pause' on new sales to customers in Britain (file image)

TIFgroup had initially made a deal with White Horse Insurance Ireland to continue offering policies past July 8, but this fell apart after five days.

James Daley, of Fairer Finance, which compares travel insurance, said it was 'very unusual' for a brand to switch insurer and then end the agreement after less than a week.

He told the newspaper: 'TIFgroup has had a poor record at the ombudsman in recent years, with almost half of complaints against its old insurer, URV, upheld in favour of the customer in the second half of 2020. With no new agreement in place, it’s not clear what the future holds.'

TIFgroup had initially made a deal with White Horse Insurance Ireland to continue offering policies past July 8, but this fell apart after five days (file image)

The General Medical Council (GMC) last year took TIFgroup's medical director to a tribunal after 'serious failings' were identified in three cases where customers died.

This case is set to be heard in October, but there is not suggestion it is linked to the suspension of sales. 

TIFgroup said it was 'in the process of evaluating options for the future', with 'permanently leaving' the UK market one of the options.

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