In The Press

Emerald Life launches Travel Insurance



Emerald Life (, the UK’s first full service insurance provider for the LGBT community today launches into the travel insurance market with a product that for the first time addresses specific travel needs of the community.

The timing of the launch is significant. New Emerald Life/YouGov research out today reveals that the LGBT community is driving a boom in overseas travel this summer, yet is alarmingly exposed when it comes to going on holiday with no travel cover. The new YouGov study for Emerald Life found that around one in four (24%) members of the LGBT community is planning a big overseas holiday in the months ahead (a rise from 17% in the first half of 2016). This is significantly than the UK adult population at large (15%), many of whom are re-assessing the cost of an overseas break in the weeks following Brexit and weakening of the pound.

Of greater concern, the new research reveals that only 33% of those from the LGBT community that say they regularly go overseas on holiday have a travel insurance annual policy in place. In total only 41% of LGBT community members surveyed had any form of travel cover (annual or single trip) – a fall from 55% six months ago.

Emerald’s launch of travel insurance today gives the LGBT community access to a simple yet compelling product that covers their financial needs and also responds to community-specific issues that many general insurers overlook or may not even be aware of: 

  • Emerald will not automatically charge customers more for medical conditions, such as HIV+. The new travel product marks the first step in a journey by Emerald to fight to remove the insurance taboo on HIV that, in many cases, wrongly penalises community members for their HIV status..
  • Emerald will provide a 24-hour helpline if customers are detained, arrested or assaulted abroad because of their sexuality. This service can include in-coutry support if needed – again a first.
  • Cover includes same-sex parents, fostered & adopted children, as well as attractive pricing for single parents. Additionally, policies include cover for surrogate parents bringing a child into the UK for the first time, in response to feedback from the LGBT parent community.
  • Emerald’s confidential online medical screening process does not charge more if a customer is transgender; medical risks are treated no differently because a customer is trans.

Other features of the Emerald travel insurance product: 

  • Easy, private online application process for pre-existing medical condition assessment.
  • 24/7/365 emergency medical assistance.
  • Thousands of medical conditions available to be covered including HIV, HepB and HepC.
  • Up to £2,000 cover for baggage and personal effects per trip.
  • Automatic cover for mobile phones & other gadgets.
  • Replacement of lost/stolen passports & travel documents.
  • Vet fees covered while abroad & additional kennel costs if a customer is delayed returning home.
  • Cover runs for up to 45 days per trip.

Emerald Life hopes its launch into the travel insurance market will help close the ‘insurance gap’ that the LGBT community faces with travel cover. The combination of a comprehensive insurance policy, with purpose-built features for the community, supported by a welcoming and skilled customer service experience, presents the LGBT community with an alternative to general insurers – a place where there are no judgements or awkwardness because of the sexuality of a customer.

Heidi McCormack, CEO of Emerald Life comments: “The amount of LGBT community members going on holiday without travel cover is alarming and, since our launch earlier this year, we have been working hard to design a travel product that gives the community a reason to look again at travel cover and have confidence in  their insurer. From our extensive market research among the community, as well as our visits to meet community groups in cities across the UK, we know many in the LGBT community don’t take insurance seriously, simply because they just don’t get a true equality of experience from their insurer. And this is getting worse. Our latest national research, undertaken this month, suggests only two in five community members say they take insurance seriously.”

According to Emerald’s YouGov research, the top 10 reasons why LGBT community members say they don’t take insurance more seriously (July 2016) are:

  1. I don’t trust insurance companies                                             16%
  2. I can’t afford it                                                                          14%
  3. Wouldn’t know good from a bad one                                        13%
  4. Insurers don’t care about LGBT community                              13%
  5. Products take no account LGBT needs or circumstances         12%
  6. Lifestyle images have no resonance to my lifestyle                   13%
  7. At my current stage life, my priorities are elsewhere                  12%
  8. I get short tempered if I have to spend a long time on phone     9%
  9. Premiums tend to be more expensive for gay people                 8%
  10. I don’t want to have to come out on the phone to them                         8%

Steve Wardlaw, Chairman at Emerald Life adds: “Insurance is not something that excites a lot of people but most people recognise it is important. The LGBT community has put up with second best for too long from an insurance industry that doesn’t listen hard enough or ask the right questions to our community. With more than two million LGBT adults over the age of 30 living in the UK today, I’m afraid second best with insurance is frankly no longer good enough. At Emerald Life, we are committed to to delivering a true equality of experience to LGBT adults and our travel product is designed to better serve the community – and in this era of inclusion deliver a great product to the community’s straight allies that want to support diversity issues when choosing their next travel insurer.”

For more information or to arrange interviews contact:

James Wharton – Emerald Life


Leadership team biographies, further market research, high-resolution images and a library of case studies are available on request.

Notes to editors

  1. For full details on Emerald’s products visit today. 
  2. The research was conducted by YouGov between 5-16 July 2016 among a nat.rep. sample of 512 members of the LGBT community and also 2,000 UK respondents respectively. Further data is available on request.