Ministers have steped in to tackle the sickness claims culture which is damaging Britain’s reputation overseas
The move follows concerns from the travel industry that more and more suspected false insurance claims for gastric illnesses like food poisoning are being brought by British holidaymakers, partly fuelled by touts operating in European resorts.
Advice from the travel industry shows the upsurge of claims in this country – reported by the industry to be as high as 500% since 2013 – is not seen in other European countries, raising suspicions over the scale of bogus claims and damaging our reputation overseas.
Due to the reported increase in claims, and as many tour operators appear to settle them out of court, the costs to the industry are increasing.
This is raising fears of higher package holiday prices for the majority of law-abiding holiday makers.
A major barrier to tackling the issue is that these spurious claims are arising abroad. Legal costs are not controlled, so costs for tour operators who fight claims can be out of all proportion to the damages claimed.
Ministers today said they want to reduce cash incentives to bring spurious claims against package holiday tour operators. Under these proposals tour operators would pay a prescribed sum depending on the value of the claim, making the cost of defending a claim predictable.
Justice Secretary David Lidington said “Our message to those who make false holiday sickness claims is clear – your actions are damaging and will not be tolerated”.
The vast majority of holidaymakers will not make false claims, and those with genuine claims will still be able to claim damages. But these changes will crack down on those who do make bogus claims and help stop the price of package holidays soaring for the honest majority.
Just a final point to remind you. You could face up to three years in prison if found guilty of making a fraudulent claim. That “dodgy prawn” could cost you dear!