Abta welcomes probe into holiday sickness claims firms

Abta has welcomed plans for a formal probe into rogue claims management companies who encourage holidaymakers to lie about being ill to pocket thousands in compensation.

The Ministry of Justice’s Claims Management Services Regulator is to examine the relationship between such cowboy firms and solicitors after a surge in holiday sickness claims.

The action follows industry warnings that claims management companies have moved into the lucrative holiday sickness market after the government acted to curb bogus compensation cases for whiplash injuries caused by car accidents.

Abta members have reported dramatic rises in the number of gastric illness claims, far exceeding reported sickness in resorts.

Spanish hoteliers have also reported increases in sickness claims made by British holidaymakers but not from their German and French counterparts, raising suspicions about fraudulent claims.

Abta legal affairs director Simon Bunce said: “We are delighted that the Claims Management Regulator has announced it is investigating the conduct of regulated claims management companies and unauthorised entities in relation to a surge in holiday sickness claims.

“Along with our members we have highlighted to them that there has been a sharp rise in the number of holiday sickness claims in recent years that is not in line with the levels of sickness reported and recorded in destination.

“This issue is a serious concern for our members, for the industry as a whole and for consumers with genuine claims. We will continue working with the Claims Management Regulator on this issue to assist them with their investigation.”

A Ministry of Justice spokesman told the Mail on Sunday, which has highlighted the issue since last September: “Tackling fraud in the claims management industry is a key priority and the Claims Management Services Regulator has taken significant steps to clean up this area.

“We have tough sanctions for firms that break the rules, and if any wrongdoing is discovered, we will take the necessary action.”

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