Industry ‘must act on sickness claims’

Industry ‘must act on sickness claims’

The recent upsurge in holiday sickness claims is “clearly fraud” and is putting the reputation of UK travel firms at risk.

That is the view of Deloitte global leader for travel and aviation Graham Pickett, who urged industry leaders at the annual Barclays Travel Forum in London last week to do more to stamp out the soaring number of claims.

Abta reported the Balearics has seen a sevenfold increase in sickness claims by UK holidaymakers since 2015.

Pickett said: “Clearly it’s fraud. There is no doubt about it.

“There is co-operation needed between the industry and police to investigate this stuff further.

“If we don’t do something as an industry, it will damage brands.”

Pickett praised Jet2holidays for hiring private detectives to catch out companies that are encouraging holidaymakers to make claims.

He spoke out as the Foreign Office (FCO) extended its warning of claims management firms soliciting bogus claims in Spain to Portugal. The FCO advised holidaymakers to “only consider pursuing a complaint or claim if you have genuinely suffered from injury or illness”.

It warned: “If you make a false or fraudulent claim, you may face legal proceedings in the UK or Portugal.”

Abta has written to foreign secretary Boris Johnson to highlight “the negative impact on the reputation of UK holidaymakers”. It called for a cap in legal fees to make holiday sickness claims less attractive to claims companies while ensuring legitimate claims can still be brought.

Abta said: “It is illegal to make a fraudulent claim and travel companies are increasingly savvy about spotting signs of exaggerated or dishonest claims.”
There have been warnings the high level of claims could push up prices, or lead all-inclusive hotels to stop selling to UK customers.

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