ABTA is calling for the Government to tackle sickness claims ahead of this year’s holiday season
As many as 9.5 million British adults have been approached about making a compensation claim for being sick while on holiday.
New figures from a YouGov survey of British adults reveal almost 1 in 5 people (19%) have been contacted about making a compensation claim for holiday sickness.
The most common way they were approached was by phone (14%), then text (7%) and email (7%).
People were also contacted via social media and in person. Some people were approached while at the airport, and some were even approached while on their holiday.
ABTA is calling for the urgent closure of a loophole in the law, which enables claims management companies and legal firms to make more money in fees from sickness claims abroad than they’re able to from personal injuries in the UK.
It is the basis of the ‘Stop Sickness Scams’ campaign which highlights that false claims are costing the travel industry tens of millions of pounds.
Evidence suggests that claims companies are contacting people out of the blue and telling them that a lot of money could be made, without telling them the risks that go with it.
The new research finds 70% of people don’t know that making a false claim for holiday sickness could result in a prison sentence in the UK or abroad. Also, just 2 in 5 (38%) think people could receive a fine in the UK or abroad.
According to ABTA, there has been a 500% rise in the number of compensation claims received by travel companies for holiday sickness since 2013. Yet the number of sickness reports to hotels in resorts has remained the same.
ABTA also wants the Financial Guidance and Claims Bill – which will come to the House of Commons early in 2018 – to include a ban on cold calling for personal injury claims by claims management companies.
According to Ofcom results, 900m nuisance insurance calls were made last year, 2.2bn in total.
ABTA chief executive Mark Tanzer said:
“Unscrupulous claims management companies are encouraging people to make a false sickness claim which could land them with a large fine or even a prison sentence.
“False claims don’t just make UK holidaymakers vulnerable to serious penalties – they’re also costing travel companies and hotel owners tens millions of pounds and tarnishing the reputation of the British abroad.
“Closing the loophole in the law in time for the 2018 holiday season will make a big difference in tackling fraudulent sickness claims.”