Abta repeats call for crackdown on bogus holiday sickness claims firms

Abta repeats call for crackdown on bogus holiday sickness claims firms

Abta has repeated a call for government action to combat bogus holiday illness claims encouraged by “unscrupulous” claims management companies.

The travel association was responding to confirmation by the Ministry of Justice that it is acting to reduce the costs of litigation on low value personal injury claims arising from road traffic accidents, including whiplash.

Accident-related personal injury claims will rise from £1,000 to £5,000, while the limit for other personal injury claims will increase to £2,000 from October 2018.

An Abta spokesman said: “The doubling of the small claims track limit for personal injury claims shows the government is starting to listen to industry concerns about holiday sickness claims but much more needs to be done to protect the industry from unscrupulous practices.

“We need the government to take further swift and decisive action to close legal loopholes that are being ruthlessly exploited by claims management companies.

“In particular, the Ministry of Justice has an opportunity to include package holiday claims in the fixed costs regime.

“This would allow legitimate claimants access to justice but make the overseas holiday market sector considerably less attractive to claims management companies and reduce the eye-wateringly high legal fees currently charged in these cases.”

The spokesman added: “Data from Abta members has shown a dramatic rise in the number of gastric illness claims made since 2013, while sickness levels reported in resort have remained stable.

“Comparing complaint data for January-September 2016 with 2013 shows an increase of more than 434%. Yet, this figure does not represent the full picture as data for the final three months of the year is still being collated.

“Gastric illness claims now represent 9 in 10 personal injury complaints received by Abta members– a figure that stood at around 60% in 2013.”

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