Almost one in five British adults have been approached to make a holiday sickness claim, new research has found.
A YouGov survey, conducted on behalf of the Travel Association (ABTA), revealed that as many as 9.5 million British adults have been contacted by agencies persuading them to make a compensation claim for holiday sickness. Returning holidaymakers were contacted via phone, text, email, social media and even in person at the airport.
The findings further highlight the amount of stress the travel industry is under to tackle the growing problem of false holiday sickness claims. ABTA’s ‘Stop Sickness Claims’ campaign aims to highlight the issue as well as pressuring the government to close a loophole which claims managements companies and legal firms exploit to make more money in fees from sickness claims.
ABTA’s latest research found that 7 in 10 people were unaware that making false compensation sickness claim is an act of fraud and could result in a prison sentence both in the UK and abroad. Many underestimate the severity of the offence with 2 in 5 people thinking they could receive a fine for a claim.
The travel organisation explains that agencies are misleading holidaymakers by downplaying the risks involved. Prosecution for a false compensation claim for holiday sickness can result in a large fine, criminal record or a jail sentence of up to three years.
Mark Tanzer, chief executive of ABTA, said: “Unscrupulous claims management companies are encouraging people to make a false sickness claim which could land them with a large fine or even a prison sentence.
“False claims don’t just make UK holidaymakers vulnerable to serious penalties – they’re also costing travel companies and hotel owners tens millions of pounds and tarnishing the reputation of the British abroad.
“Closing the loophole in the law in time for the 2018 holiday season will make a big difference in tackling fraudulent sickness claims.”
The government has been working to tackle this claims culture and in October 2017 members of the House of Lords backed a cross-party amendment to place ban on cold-calling by claims management companies. The ruling was placed on the claims industry and covered Whiplash, PPI and holiday sickness. The move is designed to reduce the likeliness of holidaymakers being persuaded to make a claim.
Sunmaster supports ABTA’s Stop Sickness Claims campaign. Read more about it here – https://abta.com/about-us/press/1-in-5-brits-have-been-approached-about-making-a-compensation-claim-for-hol