Outrigger Hotels and Resorts

Published on Friday, January 13, 2017

Government urged to change laws on holiday sickness claims




ABTA is calling on agents and operators to back their fight to stop a sharp rise in sickness claims by holidaymakers.

It wants members to share their own experiences and provide evidence of the problem, which they say has escalated in recent years.

ABTA believes the rise in claims coincided with changes in the law in 2012 which limits legal costs in other sectors, such as motor insurance, which has made cases like whiplash claims less profitable for claims companies.

Instead, these companies have turned their efforts to holiday sickness claims as a way of making money.

ABTA has raised its concerns with the Ministry of Justice and is speaking to authorities in Spain, where hoteliers have also identified a rise in claims and believe many of them are false, particularly where customers involved have not reported any illness or sought medical attention whilst in resort.

"We are now asking the Government to change the law that allows these firms to profit disproportionately from such claims," said ABTA chief executive Mark Tanzer.

"We have called on the Government to increase the Small Claims Track limit from £1,000 to £5,000. Later this month, we will also submit evidence to Lord Justice Jackson to call for overseas accidents to be processed under the same fixed costs regime that already applies to other personal injury claims with a value up to £25,000."

ABTA is also developing an ADR scheme for personal injury to allow customers to process their complaints through the association.

Tanzer said this is more cost effective for both the customer and the ABTA Member.

"The meetings we have had so far with the Ministry of Justice have been positive and they recognise this as an issue for the industry and the public. We will continue to work proactively with the policymakers and regulators, sharing intelligence and data to support the industry's case for change."

It is holding a one-day seminar, Handling Illness Claims Seminar, on February 9.

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