Travel insurance claims boosted

The cost of being ill overseas rose last year to £275m, up from £74m in 2004 according to the Association of British Insurers (ABI).

The ABI claims that the age of travellers has been a crucial contributing factor to the above inflation increases. Spokesperson Malcolm Tarling claimed: 'People are living longer and travelling further afield but the sad fact is that the older you are, the more likely you are to fall ill.

'Travellers aged over 65 are three times more likely to make a travel insurance claim than those aged 35, and people over 85 are eight times more likely. The average claim made by a person over 65 is nearly three and a half times more expensive than one made by a person under 50.

'This combination of increased cost and frequency of claims means that customers in their 80s are around eight to 12 times more risky than customers under 65.'

Graeme Trudgill of the British Insurance Brokers' Assocation (BIBA) said: 'Increased travel by older people to destinations outside the European Union means claim costs are much higher as there is no access to free medical care through the European Health Insurance Card.'

With rising claims come increased complaints. Martyn James of the Financial Ombudsman Service (FOS) said: 'The Ombudsman service received 2,536 complaints about travel insurance last year - a 27 percent increase on the previous year. We upheld 42 percent of travel insurance cases in favour of consumers.'

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