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ombudsman news

issue 73

October/November 2008

ask ombudsman news

travel insurance and the ombudsman

My business arranges coach holidays around the UK and Europe. We offer customers the option of taking out travel insurance thorough us at the same time that they book their holidays. At a recent conference I heard someone say that all travel companies selling this type of insurance will soon be regulated and will be covered by the ombudsman service. How can I find out more-

the owner of a holiday company asks ...

From 1 January 2009, travel firms and holiday providers selling what is sometimes known as "connected travel insurance" will be regulated by the Financial Services Authority (FSA). They will also be automatically covered by the Financial Ombudsman Service.

This means that businesses like yours that sell travel insurance alongside a holiday will need to have in place - and operate - in-house complaints-handling procedures that comply with the complaints-handling rules published by the FSA.

You can find out more about the ombudsman service by looking at our website, and specifically at the dedicated information resource we've put together for businesses that will be coming under the ombudsman for the first time in January 2009.

You'll also find details there of the events aimed at travel businesses that we'll be attending over the next few months, giving you the chance to meet some of our staff and talk to us direct about any questions you may have about the ombudsman service.

meeting different communication needs

Some of our clients have difficulties with written English. Is it possible to get information about the ombudsman service in a format that would be suitable for these clients, in cases where we need to tell them about the ombudsman-

a consumer-advice agency emails ...

We provide information about our service in a wide range of formats - to meet people's different needs. This includes:

  • online videos (in English and Welsh) showing what happens when consumers first contact the ombudsman service;
  • details in British Sign Language on how to complain; and
  • information in easy read (accessible text format) which we have produced in consultation with local community-groups.

Our website provides information in over 20 languages - including audio-clips (in mp3-format). And there's also a speech-browser you can download, to hear our website being read aloud.

For more details about how we can help in different formats and languages, look at our "accessibility" page or phone us on 020 7963 7279.

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ombudsman news gives general information on the position at the date of publication. It is not a definitive statement of the law, our approach or our procedure.

The illustrative case studies are based broadly on real-life cases, but are not precedents. Individual cases are decided on their own facts.