Over the past 10 months, specialist insurance industry law firm Horwich Farrelly has worked with the travel industry to throw out more than 2,000 bogus claims for holiday illness.
These fake claims, which are on the increase, are estimated to cost the travel sector as much as £50 million annually, so Horwich Farrelly – known for its ‘zero tolerance’ approach to fraud – was chosen to help deal with the influx, investigating potentially fraudulent claims and defending any cases that are taken to court.
According to the Association of British Travel Agents (ABTA), the number of claims for holiday sickness has increased by a factor of 500 per cent since 2013; ABTA has also reported that one in five British adults has been approached while holidaying by someone suggesting they make a fraudulent compensation claim for sickness.
“Unscrupulous claims companies are fooling travellers into thinking they can win back the cost of their holiday, and often more than that, by making bogus claims for holiday sickness,” said Mark Hudson, Head of Counter Fraud at the law firm. “However, make no mistake; these companies are in fact helping British tourists commit fraud. These types of claims, if successful, are typically worth several thousands of pounds so the savings to the travel industry are substantial. We are delighted with the results we have achieved working alongside the travel industry to ensure that any holidaymaker or professional enabler making a dishonest claim will pay the price.”
The UK Ministry of Justice (MoJ) recently confirmed that fixed recoverable costs would be extended to package holiday sickness claims, which, said Hudson, will play an important role when fighting fraud in this area. “We are very pleased that the MoJ has adopted this proposal,” he added, “which will introduce some key changes, and we will continue to work with the travel industry to convey a clear and simple message: fraud will not be tolerated regardless of the value of the claim.”