Monarch claims settled despite insurance fears

Gary Noakes

A TRADE insurance specialist has moved to reassure agents awaiting payments from the Monarch collapse, following difficulties experienced by a key underwriter. Affirma Insurance has told TTG

Agents’ profits are set to be affected this year CARD SURCHARGING

Treasury yet to respond to Abta warning over fee ban

ABTA IS still awaiting a response from the Treasury after calling for a review of the card surcharging ban. Agents have been using a variety of tactics to mitigate the effects of the Payment Services Directive 2 (PSD2) – that bars companies from charging consumers for using credit and debit cards – since it came into effect on January 13. The industry has warned that the loss of the 1% or 2% fee can have a significant impact on the low margins typically earned in travel. “This is such an important issue;

we have written to the Treasury highlighting the problems it is causing the industry. We are still awaiting an answer,” said an Abta spokesperson. Many agents are encouraging

payment via bank transfer. Richard Dixon, director of Holidaysplease, said: “We are seeing a definite increase in this payment form.”

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Holidaysplease also plans to introduce online and app payment systems “maybe in the next 12 months”. Dixon added that measures taken in the autumn had helped offset the effects of PSD2. “We increased our ancillary sales revenue for January by 115%. “At the back half of last year, we

invested in training and got it into the team’s mind that they needed to replace the revenue we were going to lose. I certainly feel we will have redressed the majority of what we would have lost.” Many travel agencies are expected to count the cost in early summer when clients pay full balances. Alan Haynes, owner of

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Hertfordshire agency Ultimate Destinations, said he faced a £12,000 hit. “The biggest issue is not the percentage of the sales, but the percentage of the profits. This will be difficult to absorb. “A 0.5-1% commission increase by tour operators is not the answer; all it is doing is pushing up the cost of holidays. The government has got it totally wrong, but the banks tie its hands.” Haynes called for the government

to outlaw cards that offer benefits such as Avios points “on the grounds that they are an incentive to acquire credit”.

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there is “not a problem” with agents’ claims despite difficulties at its underwriter CBL Corp, an insurer and reinsurer of financial risk. Auckland-based CBL’s chief

operating officer has left the company and shares trading on stock markets in New Zealand and Australia were suspended earlier this month. CBL warned it would be in the red for 2017 by around £44 million and said it had sought £52 million in reserve strengthening, but it has cash balances of around £263 million. Ireland’s Central Bank has

also ordered Dublin-based CBL Insurance Europe to stop writing new business, forcing Ryanair to seek a new provider for the insolvency component of its travel insurance. However, CBL said there were “no issues” with its long-term security. Lawrence Assock, Affirma’s head of commercial partnership and underwriter, said CBL had confirmed it was currently signing off claimants’ payments resulting from Monarch’s

CHINESE FEAST: A dragon dance entertained guests at Forever Cruises’ celebratory meal to mark Chinese New Year – Year of the Dog – this week. The cruise specialist agency hosted suppliers and the media at Singapore Garden in north London, where they enjoyed a traditional Chinese menu.

failure and they are in the process of being paid: “There is not a problem with our insurer, every single client is happy about this. Anybody that had a failure policy that covered the failure and has submitted claims will get them settled,” he told TTG. CBL’s problems related to an

investment in a French subsidiary that did not affect its UK operations. Assock said the final Monarch bill would be less than the claims, due to “virtual” credit cards being liable in the first instance. “Companies are covered by the cards’ terms and conditions in the same way that consumers are under the Consumer Credit Act,” he said.

Assock added that the matter was complicated by claims made prior to December 14, 2016, when all Monarch flights were covered by the Atol system due to the CAA insisting on an additional level of protection. An Abta spokesperson said there did not appear to be an issue. “Members are getting claims paid,” they said.

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