UK travel insurers responded to the recent THIA NEWS article (Vol. 21, Issue 3, Page 5) headed: Spanish Hospitals Urge More Transparency from Brit Insurers. Their response is below:
tifgroup, Britain’s leading travel insurance company, has welcomed the European Commission’s (EC) decision to not investigate complaints put forward by the Spanish Private Healthcare Alliance (ASPE).
The EC said there were no grounds for further investigation due to ‘a lack of evidence’ to support ASPE’s complaints.
After the EC said that policy clauses surrounding treatment in private clinics “were not a breach of European Union law”, tifgroup has said they would be more than happy to sit down with ASPE to talk any concerns through.
ASPE’s claims focused on British travel insurance policies that recommend travellers should access medical care through the public system, rather than a private hospital. ASPE claimed that this was putting the health of patients at risk.
In response to the EC’s decision, Richard Smith, managing director at tifgroup said: “The vast majority of travel insurance policies restrict private healthcare in Spain because their public hospitals are the best places to go in an emergency.
“ASPE claim that steering patients to public facilities when they are in need of urgent medical care, puts the health of the patients at risk. However, most Spanish citizens would not have private healthcare, and would, therefore, go to a public facility in an emergency. Why would their health not be put at risk, but that of British holidaymakers would?
“We always recommend that our customers go to a public hospital because these facilities generally offer round-the-clock access and have a much wider range of specialities and equipment. This enables emergency cases to be properly diagnosed and managed - only the resources of a publicly-funded healthcare system makes this possible.
“We look forward to having constructive conversations with the Spanish Private Healthcare Alliance around why UK travel insurance policies exclude private treatment and how this is in the best interest of our customers.
“We would welcome input from the Travel Underwriters Group and Association of Travel Insurance Intermediaries as they represent the majority of travel insurance brands.”