June 22, 2020 / 4:36 PM / 19 days ago

Saga refunds 44 mln pounds to tourists as COVID-19 hammers travel

FILE PHOTO: A member of aircrew is seen wearing a protective face mask at Heathrow Airport, as Britain launches its 14-day quarantine for international arrivals, following the outbreak of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19), London, Britain, June 8, 2020. REUTERS/Toby Melville -/File Photo

(Reuters) - Saga has refunded 44 million pounds ($54.45 million) of advance payments to customers whose travel was interrupted by the coronavirus outbreak, the British over-50s holidays and insurance specialist said on Monday.

The company, which has cancelled all travel departures up to and including August, said it continues to expect some travel to resume this year but added that it has considered various scenarios including one that assumed a delay to the resumption of travel until 2021.

Saga said its total number of insurance policies dipped by 5% during Feb.1-June 21, dragged by a significant decline in its travel business, even as motor and home insurance policies rose 1% in the same period.

“Market conditions continue to be challenging, in part due to COVID-19, with an easing of competitive conditions in February and March but with signs of a return to more competitive conditions in motor and home in the last month,” the company said.

The owner of Saga Holidays, Saga Cruises, Titan and Destinology has seen its stock price plummet by 65% so far this year, in line with stocks exposed to the leisure sector.

$1 = 0.8081 pounds

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