“Unlike specialist travel insurers, we don’t have the capabilities required to adapt to customers’ changing travel cover needs now that the UK is no longer part of the European Union and as a result of Covid-19,” a spokesperson of Bupa UK told The Sunday Times of its decision to stop offering travel insurance from 1 May.

The looming market departure will affect health policies that come with travel insurance. The Sunday Times said the statement was part of a letter sent to policyholders, one of whom was a ‘very angry’ 65-year-old who believes ‘Brexit is merely being used as an excuse’ by the insurer to slash costs.

Lack of capabilities to remain competitive

However, a Bupa spokesperson was cited confirming the move away from travel insurance as being related to the UK’s recent exit from the European Union: “As a relatively small travel insurer, we do not have the specialist capabilities required to continue to adapt to this changing landscape and remain competitive. Therefore, we have decided to exit the travel insurance market and focus on our health, cash plan, and dental insurance businesses.”

It was explained that Bupa’s health insurance policies that feature complimentary travel coverage will not be affected in price – removing the free benefit won’t mean a reduction in what customers pay.

The UK has replaced its European Health Insurance Card with the new Global Health Insurance Card to enable British travellers to access reciprocal care in certain European countries; but the industry is still reaching out to consumers to educate them on the benefits of having fully comprehensive travel cover – advice that more travellers are keen to adhere to, given the risks posed by travel in the wake of a pandemic.