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Last Updated: Tuesday, 22 May 2007, 00:24 GMT 01:24 UK
Cancer 'raises travel premiums'
Beach
Insurance firms say they have to take into account risk
Many people who have recovered from cancer are refused travel insurance or are charged more for it, a study says.

Macmillan Cancer Support said two in five people were quoted higher premiums than if they had had no history of cancer, the poll of 1,137 found.

Many respondents also complained they were asked insensitive questions, such as: "Is your husband going to die?"

The insurance industry said cost had to reflect risk, which was determined using the best available evidence.

The cost of cover needs to reflect the risk, which insurers assess using the best available medical evidence
Nick Starling
Association of British Insurers

Some 6% of those quizzed - who were either in remission or fully recovered from the disease - said they had been refused insurance altogether.

And 8% have resorted to going on holiday without cover, the study found.

In response, the charity has launched a campaign to get the travel insurance industry to review the insurance risk posed by those affected by cancer who are now recovering, or recovered.

It also calls on the industry to improve the level of customer service offered to cancer patients to ensure they are treated respectfully and tactfully.

Ayesha Owusu-Barnaby, head of campaigns and public affairs at Macmillan, said: "Hundreds of people contact Macmillan about travel insurance every month.

"Most people live long and active lives after cancer and that's why Macmillan is calling on the travel insurance industry to look again at the risk posed by people affected by cancer and improve the deal offered to them."

'Ridiculous'

George Ritchie, 52, from Peterborough, said he was quoted up to 2,450 for insurance for a two-week holiday to Florida.

He said: "In the end, I bought insurance for 60 but it seems ridiculous that the quotes were so high."

And Tracy Neill, 40, from Kent, who was diagnosed with Hodgkin's disease when she was 17, added she was still quoted higher premiums.

"After all this time I find it unbelievable that I am still having to pay more for travel insurance.

"I no longer even go for check ups, I am cured as far as you can be with cancer, yet insurance companies still believe I am a risk."

Nick Starling, of the Association of British Insurers, said there was always the risk cancer could return.

"The cost of cover needs to reflect the risk, which insurers assess using the best available medical evidence.

"Insurers will always take into account the most up to date, authoritative medical evidence."

But the association said it was always possible for people to exclude certain conditions from the cover and be quoted the standard price.




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