According to research released by the UK's Sainsbury's Bank, up to 3.56 million people have fallen victim to dubious sales practices when purchasing insurance from travel agents in the past 12 months. In response to these findings, the supermarket bank is urging all holidaymakers to stand up to those travel agents that still use bullying tactics to sell insurance.
<p>The research also suggests that many travel agents are not following the basic procedures to ensure that the travel insurance policies they sell are appropriate to their customers' needs, with approximately 17% of customers claiming that they were not asked if they had a pre-existing medical condition, while 13% said that their travel agent had not explained what their travel insurance did or did not cover. Moreover, 9% revealed that they had been wrongly advised that they could only secure their holiday if they also bought their travel insurance there and then.<br /><br />Steve Johnson, head of travel insurance at Sainsbury's, said: It's possibly tempting to purchase cover from the travel agent when the pressure is on and you're told it's a popular destination and there's no guarantee they'll be any room left â€“ but the only way to be sure you get the cover appropriate for all your needs at a price that's right is to shop around. If you know roughly where you plan to go and for how long, there's nothing to stop you obtaining your insurance before you set foot in the travel agent, especially when considering an annual policy. <br /><br />Earlier this year, it was confirmed that insurance policies sold by travel agents will finally be regulated by the UK Financial Services Authority, effective in 2009. Until then, Sainsbury's Bank is urging consumers to be on their guard when purchasing travel insurance from a travel agent.</p>