Published on : Friday, October 13, 2017
They are asking the trade to submit evidence in the next four weeks to help give ministers a greater insight into the rise of false claims for gastric illnesses by British holidaymakers.
The findings will be used to help establish new regulations which the Government hopes to introduce early next year.
ABTA has launched its own campaign to educate British travellers on the legal implications of making a fraudulent claims after seeing a 500% increase from around 5,000 claims in 2013 to around 35,000 claims in 2016.
ABTA blames the unscrupulous, aggressive and sometimes illegal practices of claims firms who have turned their focus to holidays after new legislation was introduced in 2012 to limit legal costs in other sectors, such as motor insurance, making cases like whiplash claims less profitable.
According to ABTA, the average value of a gastric illness claim is about £2,100 and the average cost of defending a claim is higher, at almost £3,800.
The Government’s press statement today also quoted a figure of £240 million as the total cost to the industry in gastric illness claims in 2016.
It attributed the estimation to ABTA, but the association is currently asking the Ministry of Justice to clarify where it got this figure and how it was calculated. Some media are incorrectly reporting that this is the cost to the industry from purely false sickness claims.
The British Government said tour operators often decide to settle holiday sickness claims out of court, rather than challenge them because – due to the fact these spurious claims are arising abroad – legal costs are not controlled.
It says the trend is damaging Britain’s reputation overseas and could drive up holiday costs.