Dáil Éireann - Volume 628 - 22 November, 2006
Written Answers. - Travel Insurance.
Ms Enright Ms Enright
Ms Enright asked the Minister for Finance if his attention has been drawn to the fact that there is no code of practice to protect consumers in the sale of travel insurance; and if he will ask IFSRA to consider fully this gap. [39145/06]
Mr. Cowen Mr. Cowen
Mr. Cowen: Under the EU Insurance Mediation Directive, travel agents who sell insurance only as part of a holiday package are specifically exempt from financial regulation. These agents are therefore not authorised and regulated as financial services providers by the Financial Regulator and do not come within the scope of the Consumer Protection Codes recently introduced by the Financial Regulator. The Financial Regulator does however, publish information and advice on travel insurance for the benefit of consumers.
The Package Holidays and Travel Trade Act covers the holiday package but not the travel insurance that may be sold with it. The Financial Services Ombudsman has powers to deal with complaints which concern the conduct of the underwriting insurance company, in relation to claims about the actual policies themselves, but not the sales process of travel agents.
Any travel agent selling travel insurance that is not part of a package holiday, must be registered with the Financial Regulator as an insurance intermediary. I understand that such insurance is widely available, whether through travel agents  or other providers and I would urge consumers to examine carefully the benefits of this option.
As Minister for Finance, I have therefore no statutory function in regulating the activities of travel agents selling insurance as part of a package holiday. However, I am informed that the Financial Regulator has written to the Department of Transport regarding the recommendation by the Financial Services Ombudsman in his Annual Report 2005, that a code of practice be adopted to cover how travel insurance is sold by travel agents along with package holidays. My Department understands that the Department of Transport plans to respond shortly to the Financial Regulator in this matter.
Dáil Éireann 628 Written Answers. Travel Insurance.