ABTA is concerned that some agents have failed to arrange to sell travel insurance under the new regulatory regime that begins in January.
That means members could have to stop offering clients insurance and could lose valuable revenue in an increasingly difficult market.
Travel insurance sold by the trade will be regulated by the Financial Services Authority from January 2009 after being overseen by ABTA since 2005.
The association has no idea how many agents will stop selling insurance in the new year or how many intend to carry on, but have yet made no arrangements to do so.
The new regime means agents wishing to offer insurance must take one of three options – be authorised by the FSA, act as an appointed representative of an FSA-authorised company, or register as an Introducer Appointed Representative and pass the client on to an insurance supplier.
Most agents will act as appointed representative or IAR.
ABTA is offering IAR status to members through broker Citybond Suretravel.
ABTA head of financial services Mike Monk said: “If an agent sells insurance and has not made alternative arrangements from January 1 2009 they will have to stop and I am surprised how few members have rung ABTA to talk about this.
“Insurers and brokers will have contacted agencies and agents who do a lot of business, but it has been quiet. The majority of ABTA members do sell travel insurance. However, we have done all we can.”
Monk warned those yet to make a decision: “If you leave it until the last minute, insurers and brokers will not be able to deal with the applications.
“Decide if you want to sell insurance. Speak to your existing supplier about whether it has anything to offer. Then look at the Citybond offer in respect of ABTASure.”
Monk does not believe agents will lose out financially under the new regime, but he fears fewer agents will sell travel insurance and more holidaymakers will take uninsured holidays as a result.
Specialist tour operator Grand UK Holidays dropped the free insurance it has offered for 25 years last week.
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