Claims at Britain's biggest travel insurer in chaos


Britain's biggest travel insurer, AXA, admitted the other day that its claims service has been failing lately, with hundreds of customers not receiving a payout for their insurance claim. Many angry holidaymakers have in fact had to wait many months for a payout and still not received anything.

AXA is a large insurance company that provides a wide variety of cover, including travelling. It currently has a 31% share in the travel insurance market and is bigger than many household names such as Thomas Cook and Marks and Spencer. After being inundated with letters of complaint, the company finally admitted its mistake, with a spokesman saying, "There is a general clunkiness to the claims process at the moment which we are trying to resolve. One way of doing this is to bring the claims-handling in house." AXA has been doing this since the start of the year, however, so the process does look like it is going slowly.

Not only is AXA, therefore, experiencing a slowing down in its claims process but it also seems to be trying to get round claims with an acceptance system that is very hit and miss. AXA has admitted that there are some grey areas in its policy that are in serious need of review. They insist that they are trying their best and dealing with all claims as fairly as they can, but some errors can occur given the sheer number of claims they receive. They are also trying to make their claims system more "customer-friendly" so that no customer is left in the dark about what is going on. After all, so many customers are betrayed each year with AXA's small print in its policy - but in AXA's defence, this seems to be a serious problem with most travel insurance companies at the moment.

Making promises and reassurances is all well and good, but so many of AXA's customers are still waiting at present, with no hope of resolution in the near future. Not only is their payout taking so long but they don't even know if their claim has been accepted, as only the company seems to be able to decipher the ambiguous small print.

As ever, the most important advice for travellers is to make the process as easy as possible from their end by keeping all receipts and other evidence of whatever you are claiming for. If your claim is turned down, do not be deterred immediately but write to the company and make your case known. If this doesn't work and you are certain that you are entitled to a payout, you can even appeal to the Financial Ombudsman Service, a dispute settlement firm where 40% of claims tend to be upheld.


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