Thousands of inquiries to service helping older people access vital insurance

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A motorist with over 60 years’ driving experience and a couple planning to celebrate their wedding anniversary overseas are among those helped by a service set up a decade ago to help older customers access vital insurance.

The “signposting” initiative was launched in April 2012 due to an agreement between the British Insurance Brokers’ Association (Biba), the Association of British Insurers (ABI) and the Government.

It helps older people who may previously have struggled to find suitable cover.

Under the agreement on age and insurance, if an insurer or insurance broker is unable to offer cover to an older motorist or holidaymaker because their age is above any upper age limits they have, they can automatically refer the customer to an alternative provider who can meet their needs, or to a dedicated signposting service such as Biba’s “find insurance” service on 0370 950 1790 or www.biba.org.uk/find-insurance.

Biba said it has received more than 860,000 inquiries to its find insurance service.

The trip was cancelled in 2020 due to Covid-19 and with the holiday rebooked for this year, Mrs Carson faced a new challenge of finding travel insurance.

She said: “It seems that when you get to 70 that you get dumped in terms of travel insurance.”

She added: “It’s all tick boxes, and you can’t speak to anybody.”

Biba’s service put Mrs Carson in contact with AllClear Travel Insurance, which provided insurance for the holiday.

She said: “I’m so grateful that someone could cover us. We had decided that we are going on the trip regardless because Covid already came along and ruined our 25th wedding anniversary holiday, but thankfully AllClear were able to help. We can’t wait to go back to the USA where we got married and have had many memorable trips.”

AllClear CEO Chris Rolland said: “We would never recommend travelling uninsured to anyone, even more so when it involves a trip to the States where costs can be extremely high – and where there are pre-existing medical conditions. If in doubt always speak to a specialist broker with expertise in this area.”

Biba’s find insurance service put him in touch with AJ Insurance, which provided cover.

The customer said: “I’ve been driving for more than 60 years so it really means a lot to me to be able to continue to do so.”

Another customer who previously struggled to find cover is Elaine Davies, 58, who signed up to a charity trek across Cuba to raise money for Velindre Cancer Centre in Cardiff. Her medical history includes heart issues.

She said: “It’s a real pain as my conditions are not life-threatening and I want to continue to live life to the full.”

She sought advice from the British Heart Foundation, which referred her to Biba’s find insurance service and was put in contact with specialist broker Just Travel Cover.

It provided comprehensive travel insurance, including cover for her medical conditions.

Graeme Trudgill, Biba’s executive director, said: “We are incredibly proud to have helped so many people in need during the past 10 years.

“Finding suitable insurance can be an enormous challenge for many people and this signposting agreement has made such a difference.

“Our contact centre team help people daily and hear directly how signposting helps.

“Access to travel and motor insurance enables older people to live their lives to the full and we will continue on our mission to help many more people access the insurance they need through specialist brokers.”

The signposting agreement has helped improve access to insurance for consumers with “non-standard” requirements. Other similar collaborations have followed, to help different types of customers find insurance.

Initiatives include work between Biba and the Ministry of Defence (MoD) in 2016 to encourage “signposting” to appropriate brokers specialising in cover for military personnel.

In 2020 a protection insurance signposting agreement was launched to help people with disabilities and pre-existing medical conditions access income protection, critical illness and life insurance.

And in January 2021 the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) confirmed that Biba’s travel medical insurance directory met its criteria for a “medical cover firm directory” as part of new rules to help signpost travellers with medical conditions to specialist cover.

And in February this year, Biba, the ABI and Flood Re launched a signposting solution and flood insurance directory to help householders who are struggling to obtain flood cover access insurance.

John Glen, Economic Secretary to the Treasury, said: “I am delighted that 10 years after launching in 2012, the signposting agreement between the Government, Biba and the Association of British Insurers has helped many older consumers access travel and motor insurance, with nearly 900,000 inquiries in total.

“I look forward to the continued success of the scheme and to working with the sector to ensure consumers can access the insurance they need.”

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