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Compare Travel Insurance Media Room › Industry awards scheme

Experts warn consumers over industry awards schemes 

10/05/2023 By Natalie Smith

Are insurance awards legitimate and what should consumers know?

Industry awards have always had an impact on consumer confidence and as the travel industry picks up its pace, awards have become an increasingly popular tool within the travel sector. However, according to insurance comparison site many of these awards may not be as genuine as they may seem. 

Natalie Ball, insurance industry expert and director of, says, 

“These awards often do not represent the whole travel industry, only those companies that agree to enter. Depending upon the company conducting the research, companies are often asked for an upfront fee to participate.  In some instances, they are also paying significantly to ‘win’ or promote their awards with consumers none the wiser.” 

Depending on a range of fee structures and licensing options, insurers usually pay to promote their wins.  For example, to promote a five-star award for "Best Value Insurance Company" the insurer will pay the third-party for use of its award logo. The amount paid will vary depending on the level of exposure of said logo or award, with digital options (to feature the award on website and emails) costing less. The insurer may pay significantly more to feature the awards on TV and outdoor billboards.  

Ball suggests the practice is misleading and deceptive. 

“These supposedly independent and unbiased award schemes are aimed at recognising and awarding outstanding performance and products relative to the market.  Instead, they are capitalizing on consumers blind faith and larger companies’ deep pockets to boost their profits.” 

“The organisations running these campaigns claim to offer recognition and credibility.  However, for smaller, unknown brands with comparable products, the costs to promote their wins are prohibitive.” 

She warns consumers to use their better judgement and not to be swayed solely by numerous award badges or gold star ratings. 

“The majority of highly reviewed and awarded companies have been professionally researched and are credible and trusted, but it is wise to keep perspective.” 

“Whether it is an award for the best energy provider, the best red wine, or the best travel insurer, consumers should do their own due diligence when researching their options. When it comes to financial service products such as travel insurance, it is important to get the right product for you and your trip and not base your decision on awards based on generalised scenarios.” 

Stay savvy 

Ball says that consumers should see awards as a bonus, not the primary basis of a decision. 

“While awards can be one way to assess a company’s credibility, you should consider the source. Look further into the organisation recognising that brand. Check to see the depth of the research conducted, how many companies were in the mix and how many companies ‘won’.” 

Ball says that credibility is often apparent through an organisation’s ethos. 

“If the organisation giving out the award upholds values of transparency and objectivity in their approach it is likely their awards would be legitimate. After a little digging, it is usually apparent which awards are paid, and those that aren’t. Use a generous grain of salt when assessing a brand and try not to buy into fancy marketing tools.”


Contributor Natalie Smith

Natalie Smith

Having travelled to over 40 countries, studied tourism management and worked as a flight attendant for over three years, Natalie knows more than a thing or two about travel! She’s an adventure-lover, whose favourite trips have been trekking Machu Picchu and volunteering in an animal shelter in the Amazon. Qualified in Tier 2 General Insurance General Advice and specialising in travel insurance for the last five years, she in passionate about helping travellers get the most out of their holiday.

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