Coutts, the private bank owned by the Royal Bank of Scotland, is revising the terms of its account-linked travel insurance policy.
The aim is to allow insurers to withdraw cover for cancer sufferers. The logic is that customers can have exclusions placed on their policies if their health worsens unexpectedly after booking their holiday.
The bank and its insurers tried to withdraw cover for Ron Phillips, a 78-year-old customer just diagnosed with cancer. But the wording did not allow them to. Phillips, who has his doctor’s clearance to travel, was so annoyed by the contempt shown by his bank and their insurers that he set up website www.welivewithcancer.org.uk to lobby for change.
There is growing criticism of after-booking clauses by travel insurers, which give them the right to alter terms after a policy is taken out. Insurers claim the clauses are needed to take into account the risk of the customer requiring costly treatment while away.
The Financial Ombudsman Service has described the clauses as unfair as they mean customers can never be sure of their level of cover.
Travel insurance: News update: 24/09/2009