Published on : Saturday, October 14, 2017
There has been a seven fold rise in the last three years in the number of sickness claims. This is despite there being no increase in in-resort reporting of incidents, nor any rise in claims from other nationalities.
With the tighter rules in place for the PPI, holiday sickness claims have become the ‘new whiplash’. So much so that, some firms are cold-calling people to tell them, falsely, that “a fund has been set up to compensate for deficiencies in hotel hygiene”. In fact, some touts even tell the holidaymakers that they can earn thousands if they put in sickness claims. Most of the time, the tour operators prefer to settle the holiday sickness claims out of court rather than challenge them legally. This is for the fact that if the claim arises abroad and legal costs are not controlled, it can be out of all proportion to the damages claimed. In a case with an award for £5,000 in damages, costs can amount to £25,000. ABTA found that the total projected cost of claims to the industry in 2016 was to be in excess of £240m.
Ministers have put forward proposals which would mean tour operators would pay a prescribed sum depending on the value of the claim, making defence costs predictable and helping to deter bogus claims.
The ministry will gather evidences over the false sickness claims in the coming four weeks and with things not in right places, can call for new regulations.