Although not a household name as such, Flexicover's direct insurance selling does not come from your average internet start up. The company backing it have been in the financial market for over 25 years and insure in excess of two million passenger each year.
If you're after holiday insurance, this company offers a comprehensive range at apparently quite affordable prices -- they're certainly popular amongst our users and generally rank high on the rating pages for pricing and policy appeal. It has the usual single trip, annual multi-trip, gap year, long stay and winter sports policies. Available is cover for pre-existing medical conditions and to the over 65s, but forget a gap year holiday if you're over 45 and don't even think about skiing once you get to 65. However, bungee jumping and white water rafting seem OK. You get 10% discount if you sign up for their newsletter (not that exciting if you policy is just £20 but a discount is a discount and should not be sniffed at) and no excess on illness claims when using an EHIC on European holidays.
Flexicover Direct is a division of Beckenham-based Citybond Holdings plc, who are the ones that have been providing travel insurance since 1983 and insure the quoted two million passengers annually. It is a member of the General Insurance Standards Council, the British Insurance Brokers' Association an ABTA Travel Industry Partner and a member of the Association of Travel Insurance Intermediaries. It gained Investor In People accreditation in 2008 and is one of the UK's largest independent suppliers of travel insurance products. In addition to FlexicoverDirect, Citybond has various other businesses providing services in the same sector.
Citybond Suretravel is another division that operates from the same Beckenham address and provides a similar range of products. The major difference is that, whereas Flexicover travel insurance is sold through the website direct to customers, Suretravel also has a network of around 1,000 tour operators, travel agents and brokers. Look at the cover offered by Direct Line Holidays, for example, and you'll see it's provided by Citybond Suretravel.
TopDog Insurance is another of the brands, with a website (www.topdoginsurance.co.uk) that's remarkably similar. However, long stay and gap year policies aren't provided, nor are cover for the over 65s and for pre-existing medical conditions, so you're redirected to Flexicover if you want these. But you can get other travel-related services here, such as airport hotel and airport lounge booking.
Citybond also operates Healthcheck247, a medical screening service that undertakes over 150,000 annual screenings. It provides the same service through MondialHealthScreen for customers of Mondial Assistance UK Ltd.
In 2008, the Crayon marketing agency ran an email marketing programme that sent out almost two million emails a month for the company. This proved so successful in increasing registrations and site visits that the agency then undertook a redesign of the Flexicover insurance websites.
The company's site does state that it aims to build customer relationships. However, unlike the popularity of their policies and prices customer reviews in the forums and review sites don't rate the service too highly. The general view seems to be that cheap insurance isn't necessarily good value, with complaints about an obstructive claims service and poor payments.
The website address is www.flexicover.co.uk, although www.flexicover.net and www.flexicover.com both redirect you there. However, don't get confused with www.flexitravel.co.uk, which redirects to a flight booking site, or www.flextravel.com that offers holidays and related services. With this company's parent offering so many services across different brands it could lead you to believe they have a wider range, but not everything with "flex" in it comes under this particular umbrella.
The parent company ran in to problems of its own when Citibank challenged the use of the name Citybond in 2005. This eventually failed due to the variations in spelling of 'Citi' and 'City' as well as the differences between 'bank' and 'bond'.