Data from the Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) tells us that over the past couple of years, more and more British nationals have travelled overseas, and the number keeps on growing each year. The FCO, which is in charge of protecting the welfare of British nationals abroad, further states that they have provided assistance to thousands of British nationals who are in need of emergency travel documents. The agency understands that no matter how well prepared people are, they may still find themselves in a difficult or distressing situation overseas. FCO keeps data on hospitalisations, lost and stolen passports and ETDs.
According to FCO data, thousands of British nationals were hospitalised overseas. Figures from the Association of British Insurers (ABI) show that the main cost of claims was for emergency medical treatment. Travel insurers paid out almost £200 million to hundreds of thousands of British travellers to cover their medical and repatriation expenses. Insurers also paid out £128 million to cover trip cancellation costs. Furthermore, the average medical expenses claim was more than £1,200. Meanwhile, £16 million was paid out to almost 90,000 British nationals to cover the cost of baggage lost whilst on an overseas trip. More than 20,000 Britons lost or had stolen passports. The reason for the high cost of medical and repatriation expenses is because medical treatment in foreign countries can be very expensive. Travellers should ensure that they have travel insurance that meets their medical needs and requirements.
In 2017, there has been a 29% rise in the number of trips booked by European travellers. 22% of European travellers are also taking longer trips in 2017 compared to 2016. Data tells us that Europeans remain eager to travel, and forecasts for the next ten years predict growth rates of 3.9% annually. There has also been a 15% growth of travellers from Europe booking a short break which consists of a return flight and a hotel. The average European traveller leaves an average of 26 days in advance of their travel date before booking. Germany is one country which has seen a huge rise in flights booked for trips lasting more than 21 days. Citizens of the European Union member countries can get a free European Health Insurance Card for free if they are travelling around the European Economic Area. Although this is not a substitute for travel insurance, it gives the traveller access to state-provided healthcare in a European country. According to an analysis done by Finaccord on Travel Insurance and Assistance in Europe, there is a projected increase of purchase of single trip travel insurance in the European market. The study further states that across 20 countries, gross written premiums from travel insurance will increase to EUR 4.54 billion by 2018, which represents a compound annual growth rate of 2.3% relative to 2014.
With the upsurge of British and European travellers, the sales of travel insurance for EU residents also increased. This tells us that people are more aware of the fact that they should protect themselves and their families while on an overseas trip. Whether it is single trip travel insurance or annual travel insurance, the travel insurance industry has benefited from the increased number of holidaymakers from the United Kingdom and Europe.