Aito Specialist Travel Agents have pledged to support Aito operators after the association suspended its 100% financial protection guarantee to customers.

The association withdrew the pledge after insurer AmTrust Europe voided a policy on the grounds of a “material non-disclosure” by the company insured, former Aito member Skiing Europe, which is now under investigation by police and Trading Standards.

Aito believes the insurer’s action on July 1 highlighted a loophole in the Package Travel Regulations. Aito STA chairman Oliver Broad said it was “very frustrating” that Aito had been forced to take this action, but added: “Aito is very strong at lobbying and is working hard to get this loophole closed.

“Members have been dealing with the operators on an individual basis to seek reassurance and we have full confidence in them.”

Aito STA is looking to acquire its own supplier failure insurance policy for its members as part of a series of new services.

Broad said: “We are very strong on product, but we want to help with members’ business needs such as insurance, business training and sales skills. We will be speaking to Aito’s insurance partners.”

Rosie Doran, director at Edwin Doran’s Travel World, added: “I’ve been checking with each individual operator and I know they’re fully bonded and insured. However, I do hope Aito gets it sorted soon as it is a good strapline to have.”

However, the move could affect the number of members who renew this month. Nick McKay, director of Clapham-based Travel Designers, said: “I am reviewing our Aito membership at the moment and the lack of the guarantee will take part of this process.

“It’s too early to say which way we will jump. I am hoping they will resolve this before then.”