Thrill-seeking tourists fall foul of insurers

The British abroad are becoming a nation of daredevils. Insurance companies specialising in cover for hazardous activities are reporting a dramatic increase in the number of holidaymakers who want to flirt with danger for a fortnight.

Be it white-water rafting, free-falling, riding inflatable bananas or bobsleighing, the British, particularly high-earning males in their late twenties, are acquiring an appetite for vacation recreations risking life and limb.

The enthusiasm for adventure sports was highlighted last week when Gareth Griffiths, a 27-year-old management consultant from London, fell to earth following an attempted parachute tandem free-fall in Florida. His instructor, Michael Costello, was killed in the accident. But despite the obvious dangers, more and more Britons are signing up for the sport. The British Parachute Association now has 5,000 regular and 10,000 part-time jumpers - an increase of 1,000 and 3,000 respectively since 1991.

Two years ago Andrew Blowers, a keen parachutist, set up Inter Assurance, a travel insurance company specialising in sporting activities, because he could not find cover for his aerial exploits. In the past year he has seen a 30 to 40 per cent increase in demand for policies.

Malcolm Tarling, of the Association of British Insurers, said there was a move among travel insurers to exclude dangerous sports because safety measures abroad were "nowhere near" the standard in this country.

"The problem is that travel insurance policies have evolved from a time when people went on holiday and did the things they did in this country, but at a slower pace," said Mr Tarling. "They were not designed for people going abroad and getting involved in hazardous sports. Years ago the only thing that was available was parascending on the beach. Now you've got parascending, jet skiing... you name it, there's some kind of dangerous activity available.

"Paragliding over water is amazingly popular this year in resorts in Spain and Cyprus but scuba diving is still the most popular," he said.

Whereas STA excludes a host of activities, including ballooning, deep- sea diving, gliding, hang-gliding, parachuting, bungee jumping, ski jumping, bobsleighing, ice hockey, self-defence sports, solo sea-sailing or any pastime involving exceptional risk of accident, Mr Blowers insists there are "very few things that we wouldn't cover under our standard premium".

Big game hunting, go-karting, white-water rafting and scuba diving are included in Mr Blowers' standard rate. But his exclusion list includes abseiling, bobsleighing, hang-gliding, motor sports, pot-holing and rock climbing.

It is essential that adventurous tourists read the small print of insurance policies before setting sail. Often there is an exclusion clause for adventure sports. Mr Blowers said: "It's the last thing one thinks about. You're away on holiday, you see some sport happening on the beach and think you'll have a crack at it. The last thing you do is dig out your policy, but if worst comes to worst you could find there wasn't any cover."

peopleFrankie Boyle responds to referendum result in characteristically offensive style
Arts and Entertainment
Highs and lows of the cast's careers since 2004
New Articles
i100... with this review
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
ebooksAn unforgettable anthology of contemporary reportage
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Cover Supervisor

£75 - £90 per day + negotiable: Randstad Education Group: Are you a cover supe...

Marketing Manager - Leicestershire - £35,000

£30000 - £35000 per annum: Ashdown Group: Marketing Manager (CIM, B2B, MS Offi...

Marketing Executive (B2B and B2C) - Rugby, Warwickshire

£22000 - £25000 per annum: Ashdown Group: A highly successful organisation wit...

SEN Coordinator + Teacher (SENCO)

£1 per day: Randstad Education Leeds: Job Purpose To work closely with the he...

Day In a Page

Scottish referendum: The Yes vote was the love that dared speak its name, but it was not to be

Despite the result, this is the end of the status quo

Boyd Tonkin on the fall-out from the Scottish referendum
Manolo Blahnik: The high priest of heels talks flats, Englishness, and why he loves Mary Beard

Manolo Blahnik: Flats, Englishness, and Mary Beard

The shoe designer who has been dubbed 'the patron saint of the stiletto'
The Beatles biographer reveals exclusive original manuscripts of some of the best pop songs ever written

Scrambled eggs and LSD

Behind The Beatles' lyrics - thanks to Hunter Davis's original manuscript copies
'Normcore' fashion: Blending in is the new standing out in latest catwalk non-trend

'Normcore': Blending in is the new standing out

Just when fashion was in grave danger of running out of trends, it only went and invented the non-trend. Rebecca Gonsalves investigates
Dance’s new leading ladies fight back: How female vocalists are now writing their own hits

New leading ladies of dance fight back

How female vocalists are now writing their own hits
Mystery of the Ground Zero wedding photo

A shot in the dark

Mystery of the wedding photo from Ground Zero
His life, the universe and everything

His life, the universe and everything

New biography sheds light on comic genius of Douglas Adams
Save us from small screen superheroes

Save us from small screen superheroes

Shows like Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D are little more than marketing tools
Reach for the skies

Reach for the skies

From pools to football pitches, rooftop living is looking up
These are the 12 best hotel spas in the UK

12 best hotel spas in the UK

Some hotels go all out on facilities; others stand out for the sheer quality of treatments
These Iranian-controlled Shia militias used to specialise in killing American soldiers. Now they are fighting Isis, backed up by US airstrikes

Widespread fear of Isis is producing strange bedfellows

Iranian-controlled Shia militias that used to kill American soldiers are now fighting Isis, helped by US airstrikes
Topshop goes part Athena poster, part last spring Prada

Topshop goes part Athena poster, part last spring Prada

Shoppers don't come to Topshop for the unique
How to make a Lego masterpiece

How to make a Lego masterpiece

Toy breaks out of the nursery and heads for the gallery
Meet the ‘Endies’ – city dwellers who are too poor to have fun

Meet the ‘Endies’ – city dwellers who are too poor to have fun

Urbanites are cursed with an acronym pointing to Employed but No Disposable Income or Savings
Paisley’s decision to make peace with IRA enemies might remind the Arabs of Sadat

Ian Paisley’s decision to make peace with his IRA enemies

His Save Ulster from Sodomy campaign would surely have been supported by many a Sunni imam