ABTA has launched its travel insurance training
programme with the hope the entire industry will take it on board, including
non-members and airlines.

ABTA said it had been in contact with organisations
including the Travel Trust Association and British Airways to offer them the
training.

Head of financial affairs Mike Monk said the
industry-wide take-up would demonstrate to the Financial Services Authority a
serious attempt to maintain standards. Treasury officials agreed in June that
ABTA could regulate members when the FSA replaces the General Standards
Insurance Council next year.

Two self-study training modules have been developed.
By the end of next year, all staff who sell or advise on travel insurance must
be qualified to level one, with at least one member of staff for each office
qualified to level two (Travel Weekly February 10).

The move is believed to save members from costly and
complex regulation under the FSA.

“There is a need for regulation but we should not go
berserk and crack a walnut with a sledgehammer,” he said.

From January 1 2005, all agents and operators who sell
insurance must hold the qualification. All call centre staff must comply. ABTA
said it plans to monitor take-up via a database of relevant agency and operator
staff.

The programme means agents
can no longer sell insurance in isolation – it must relate to booked travel
arrangements. The packs cost £25 for level one and £30 for level two, with
discounts on block applications. TTC Training will run the exams at locations
around the country. For more information, call 01483 713391.