Jet2holidays is “winning the war” on fraudulent holiday sickness claims and has seen a “significant” reduction in the number coming in this summer.
But chief executive Steve Heapy, an outspoken advocate of the need to clamp down on the problem, made it clear that the company will not stop until laws are changed to close a loophole that allow claims firms and lawyers to charge as much as they want in legal fees.
He told Travel Weekly, which launched the Fight Fake Claims campaign in June: “When the whole industry joined the fight [in June] we really turned a corner and gathered momentum.”
Heapy said high profile cases reported in the media, including court wins for Thomas Cook where claimants lost and had to pay costs – or in one case face jail – had had an impact.
“The number of new claims that we’ve been getting has reduced quite significantly year on year, which shows that people are now a little bit more wary of putting in a false claim.”
He revealed that Jet2holidays had received “hundreds and hundreds of claims” last year with “a potential liability of tens of millions” with Benidorm, Mallorca and Tenerife – where he was speaking at the firm’s Parterships2Success conference – among the main destinations that holidaymakers putting in claims had visited.
He said Jet2olidays decided to fight all claims it considers false or exaggerated and said the process can cost up to £35,000 in legal fees. He also said the operator had cancelled forward bookings of customers it suspects of the fraudulent activity. “We don’t want these people travelling with Jet2holidays, and we will stamp this out,” he said.
“We have done a lot here and we are winning the war. I’m very confident that by next year things will be very different.”
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