Packaged bank accounts may not be such good value

The Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) has published their 2011 Retail Conduct Risk Outlook. The report hi-lights concerns for 2011 and one concern is the rise in packaged bank accounts being sold. Packaged accounts are fee-bearing current accounts bundled with a number of other products, such as travel insurance and other consumer benefits, and are usually designed to target as broad a range of consumer as possible. The FCA estimate that approximately a quarter of all current account customers have been sold a packaged account, and they are concerned whether the products offered the consumer value for money.

Insurancewith has long been concerned about the level of travel insurance cover in packaged bank accounts for people with medical conditions. Travel Insurance for pre existing medical conditions can be complex and relying on a travel policy as part of your bank account to fully cover your condition can be a false economy. The customer must fully read the documentation provided by the bank with the packaged account to ensure that any insurance they will be relying on actually suits their needs. Because the customer does not ask for all the benefits the packaged account offers they don’t always check it to see if it is suitable for them, and only realise that it does not fit their needs when they come to rely on it.

Advising someone on travel insurance for existing medical conditions can require a specialist understanding, particularly for cancer travel insurance, therefore is it always advisable to seek out a specialist in pre existing medical condition travel insurance if you have a medical condition.
The FCA said it had noted that consumers could be better off purchasing products individually and that the level of cover from the bundled insurance was often lower than was expected, stating ‘Consumer research suggests that these products have some positive aspects, e.g. for the convenience they offer to some consumers. However, consumers should consider whether they represent value for money for them. It is important that firms are clear about how our standards apply to packaged accounts. We will be conducting further work in this area during 2011.’

Banks have heavily marketed packaged accounts in order to increase fee income from current accounts after profits from traditional bank activities like lending were hard hit by the financial crisis.

The FCA also voiced concerns about banks bundling deposit accounts with investment products which it warned could lead to poor outcomes for consumers because of the complexity of the products and higher switching costs.
‘We believe a desirable outcome would be one where firms do not bundle products with disparate appropriate target markets or product risk profiles. It is crucial that where the bundled investment product poses an increased risk of mis-selling, firms put in place strong point-of-sale and other controls that ensure that consumers purchase products that meet their needs,’ stated the FCA.
Packaged accounts are fee-bearing current accounts bundled with a number of other products, such as travel insurance and other customer benefits, and are usually designed to target as broad a range of consumers as possible. The volume of packaged current accounts has grown sharply in recent years and these have been sold across all age groups, income brackets and socio-economic groups (Figure 75). Based on figures provided by some banks, we estimate that approximately a quarter of all current account customers had a packaged account at the end of 2009.

Travel Insurance with Pre Existing Medical Conditions

The sad story of Philip Blakemore, 76, from Blackpool, who suffered two strokes and subsequently died while on holiday in Thailand, is yet another reminder of the importance of using a travel insurance provider who specialises in holiday insurance for pre existing medical conditions. Mr Blakemore made a mistake on his travel insurance proposal form and forgot to disclose that he suffered from angina, unfortunately this meant his travel insurance policy would not cover his medical expenses, leaving his family liable for the hospital bills which were racking up in the region of £4000 per day, as he was being treated in a private hospital.

The family looked into the possibility of moving him to a state run hospital but the private hospital were insisting on all the money they were owed before they would transfer him. The family were also quoted in the region of £65,000 for an air ambulance to fly Mr Blakemore back to the UK. The Foreign, Commonwealth & Development Office (FCDO) did all they could to assist the family, however it is the family’s responsibility to find the money to pay for the medical bills as the FCDO do not have the funds to step in and help with the payment. If you refer to the FCDO web site you can read their travel insurance advice.

If you have ANY medical conditions you should seek a specialist in travel insurance for medical conditions, like Insurancewith. We ask far more questions than most when medical screening so the likelihood of one of our customers forgetting to mention a condition they suffer from would be rare. As an extra back up we also ask for the names of all the medication taken, as some people forget they have conditions like high-blood pressure, angina etc, because the medication stops the symptoms therefore they forget they have the condition, a very easy mistake to make.
At Insurancewith we feel that asking what medication is taken is an extra prompt for the customer to remember all their medical conditions, no matter how inconsequential they feel their condition is, we always advise customers to declare everything and let the insurance provider decide what is and is not relevant.

Mr Blakemore’s family raised £26,000 and his body has now been flown back to the UK, his funeral will take place on 15th March.

UK Malaria cases up 30%

World Malaria day was on the 25th of April this year. The first World Malaria Day was four years ago and at that time it was estimated that a child died every 30 seconds from malaria. Over the past four years raising awareness of malaria and increasing support for malaria control intervention has seen a reduction in the death rate from over a million people dying annually down now to closer to 790,000 people according to the official World Malaria Day web site.

Unfortunately although the malaria cases are on the decrease worldwide they are increasing in UK citizens. New figures from the Health Protection Agency (HPA) on World Malaria Day show that malaria infections have increased by nearly 30% since 2008. Malaria is an almost completely preventable disease when precautions are taken, but the latest figures show that where the history of taking antimalarial medication was obtained, 85 per cent of cases (850 out of 997 with information available) had not taken precautions.

Over the last decade, around half of all cases of malaria reported in the UK have occurred in people who travelled to West Africa and India, mostly to visit family and friends. Four out of 10 cases in 2010 were among UK residents who had travelled to Nigeria or Ghana, the next highest incidence was for people.

visiting India. Malaria is spread by mosquito bites. Symptoms can develop within eight days, but the disease may stay inactive in the body for up to a year. Dr Jane Jones, head of HPA’s travel and migrant health section, said: “malaria is a potentially deadly disease but it is almost completely preventable. Anyone who is planning to travel to a tropical destination should always seek advice from their GP or travel health clinic before their trip. It is a myth that people who have had malaria will not get it again. Our advice is the same for all travellers-you must take anti-mosquito precautions and medication to keep safe”.

Should you be intending to travel to a tropical destination and you take medication or you have an existing medical condition, you must check with your GP or Consultant if they agree with your travel plans. For example if you have been treated for cancer you immune system could have been compromised by your treatment and therefore a country which does not have the same high hygiene standards as the UK may not be advisable, furthermore the type of treatment or medication you are on may mean that you are unable to take anti malaria medication, so again it would be unadvisable to visit a country where you may contract malaria.

Once you have the agreement of your treating doctor to travel to your desired destination the next thing is to make sure you purchase travel insurance for existing medical conditions. You must make sure you declare all you medical conditions to your travel insurance provider, failure to do so could mean that your claim is refused. Standard travel insurance policies are unlikely to cover existing medical conditions, so it is always worthwhile looking for a specialist pre existing medical conditions travel insurance provider like Insurancewith.

Insurancewith have specific travel insurance for cancer patients, for example lung cancer travel insurance, bowel cancer travel insurance and breast cancer travel insurance to name just a few. Full details of all the medical conditions travel insurance policies available are on the web site.

To get a pre-existing medical condition travel insurance quote, or for more information please click here or give our UK customer service centre a call on 0333 005 1066. doing more than just insurance

Don’t Be A PG Chimp

The Foreign, Commonwealth & Development Office has urged travellers to reassess their priorities when visiting family and friends abroad, they have found packing items such as teabags are considered before taking out travel insurance.

According to new research published today by the Foreign, Commonwealth & Development Office (FCDO), over 12 million British nationals are planning to visit friends and family abroad this year, and the research shows:

Nearly half of young people did not take out travel insurance the last time they stayed with family and friends
39% of people visiting friends and relatives in Africa did not take out travel insurance on their last trip
When staying with friends and family in South Asia, less than half (48%) took out travel insurance
Being familiar with a destination, it may be where you spent your childhood, doesn’t mean that you won’t encounter the same problems as a tourist visiting the destination for the first time.

You should always make the same preparations visiting friends and family abroad as you would for a normal holiday. For example, don’t assume you are immune to diseases prevalent in the area you are visiting because you have spent a lot of time there, you must still get the correct inoculations or take preventative measures such as taking malaria tablets.

More importantly, the research by FCDO shows that young people are more likely to buy a present for their host than take out travel insurance. Travel insurance is not the exciting part of booking a trip abroad, but it is important, even losing your baggage could leave you out of pocket unless you are covered, and a medical emergency could bankrupt you and your host.

When purchasing travel insurance make sure you are purchasing the correct policy for your needs, if you have a medical condition you will need to buy travel insurance for existing medical conditions, and fully declare all your medical conditions and any prescription medication.

Anyone travelling within the European Union should also be aware that from 1st January 2021 rules around travel to Europe have changed, anyone travelling within the European Union should visit the Government website for up to date information on passports, EHIC, healthcare and more. We’ll update this page with more information as and when the Government release it.

Another consideration for travel insurance is if you are going to be taking part in particular activities or sports whilst on holiday, check if your travel insurance policy will cover you. Some of the very cheap policies will exclude cover for all but the most sedate activities.

Insurancewith is a pre-existing medical condition travel insurance provider, specialising in cancer travel insurance, breast cancer travel insurance and travel insurance for diabetics.

Travelling With Cancer

People all have the same reasons for wanting to travel: to see new places, meet new people, experience new things, visit someone or somewhere they love, to work, or just to relax. Even if you haven’t been affected by cancer, your motivations for going away are likely to be the same as someone who has been, and more often than not those who’ve had a cancer diagnosis often bring forward trips as a way to experience something they always wanted to, or as a chance to get away and recover. For someone who has been or is ill, getting away from the routine of check-ups, doctors and medical care can be an ideal chance to recover somewhere relaxing and different.

Taking out travel insurance to ensure you’re covered for any possible medical treatment whilst away from home is essential, as you want to be able to claim for emergency medical costs and care abroad, even if the treatment you’re receiving is as a result of your illness. In destinations such as the US, or outside Europe, the medical costs can become phenomenal and then you need to think about getting back to the UK if you are taken ill, it may not be as simple as just jumping on the next available budget flight.

Travel Insurance for Cancer Patients

Getting travel insurance after you’ve been diagnosed with something like cancer can make things complicated, difficult and expensive. Insurancewith treats each customer as an individual, assessing their personal medical situation in detail with empathy and expert advice. CD, from Surrey said, “This is the second policy I’ve taken with you – the advisors I spoke to during the screening process have been very helpful and knowledgeable. And your quotes have been very affordable compared to others I’ve had. You are over £1,000 cheaper”

Cancer patients often find the online screening process of many travel insurance providers difficult as they cannot always ‘tick all the boxes’, and in some cases, insurers ‘say no to cancer’ and refuse cover to people who have suffered with the illness because it proves too much of a risk to insure. Questions about diagnosis, treatment and prognosis are common among many insurance providers’ medical screening can sometimes be distressing to those suffering with the illness.

With Insurancewith’s innovative 121 medical screening process (where required) the customer actually talks to a personal risk specialist, who helps custom-build their quote based on their individual medical situation. JD, from Surrey praises our inclusive travel insurance after he bought a policy for his mum: “Just wanted to say a big thank you to you and all your staff for not saying ‘No to Cancer’ and arranging travel insurance for my mum. It meant the world to us as a family, allowing us to go as a family back to our house in Florida for a much needed holiday. After numerous calls to other companies, we had given up. Mum and Dad were so disappointed, until you called us back with great news and your quote”.

We offer free travel insurance quotes online or by calling 0333 005 1066.

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