Sickness claims made against overseas hotels could have peaked, according to analysis by a Spanish hospitality consultancy.

Preverisk found a significant fall in claims made in 2017 from data collated from 22 hotels in Spain, Egypt and Turkey.

The findings come as Red Sea Holidays became the latest operator to fight and win a claim after a judge branded claimants against the operator “fundamentally dishonest”.

Claims management companies were last year blamed for a 500% rise in sickness claims since 2013.

Travel Weekly’s launch last June of its Fight Fake Claims campaign, followed by Abta’s Stop Sickness Scams campaign, demanded new laws to tackle claims ‘farmers’.

Preverisk found 111 claims were lodged with the 22 hotels last year by guests who travelled in 2017, fewer than half the number in 2016.

Historic complaints lodged up to three years after travel means 2017 numbers will end up being higher, Preverisk pointed out.
Claims received in 2016 for stays between 2013 and 2016 stood at 416. Last year that figure was 396.

Alan Wardle, Abta director of public affairs, said it was still too early to say the industry has turned a corner.

But he added: “We believe Abta’s campaign, together with high-profile prosecutions, will have deterred some people from making a false claim.

“However, action from government to cap the costs of legal fees and ban cold calling by claims management companies is needed to solve the problem.”

Red Sea Holidays faced a £4,000 claim from Jessica Hegner and Karl Hancock of Crawley, who travelled to Sharm el-Sheikh in 2013.
However, district judge Parker awarded the operator £12,600 in costs at Croydon County Court last Thursday.

Red Sea Holidays executive director Peter Kearns said: “It’s been open season on operators for too long. That has to stop.

“We will contest any claim we believe is without foundation.”

MoreOpinion: Are we over the peak of false sickness claims?

Travel Weekly’s Fight Fake Claims campaign