Holiday Insurance Sickness Claims
5 July 2017
The summer season is already upon us, and many of you may well be jetting off for sunnier climes soon (if you haven’t escaped the day job already). Holidays are, without doubt, a calendar highlight. What’s not to love about sun, sea and sand? Well, if you are a UK holidaymaker in an all-inclusive Spanish resort, severe food poisoning. At least, that’s what some have tried to claim …
Yes, the price our holiday insurance may well be set to increase as several false claims of food poisoning, norovirus and gastroenteritis have plagued popular British holiday hotspots. Because there is no time limit on when travelers can submit such a claim, it is difficult to prove or disprove sickness. Unless, of course, you are the couple who got caught downing beer, whiskies and cocktails every day whilst claiming to be bed-ridden.
Package holiday hotels and firms have been struck by a plague of false claims, submitted by tourists who hope to reclaim the cost of their holiday – and then some. Since 2013, there has been a whopping 500% increase in the number of holiday sickness compensation claims – with tens of thousands submitted in last year alone.
Several Spanish resorts, in destinations such as Benidorm, have threatened to blanket ban any British travelers from holidaying there, so afraid are they of yet another reputation-damaging claim. The burgeoning trend for false travel sickness claims has been labelled the “new whiplash”.
One Greek resort fought back, counter-suing a couple for £170,000, claiming defamation and making a fraudulent insurance claim. Needless to say, those in the hotel industry (particularly those that typically attract British holidaymakers) are scared that this new wave of claims will scare off any potential customers in the future. No one wants to have their brand associated with these alleged sickness outbreaks.
The number of claims has escalated so rapidly that the travel trade association was forced to launch its Stop Sickness Scams campaign, calling on the government to crack down on insurance scammers. It also warned any holidaymakers who may be tempted to submit a false claim that they could face up to three years in prison abroad if they were revealed to be fraudulent.
Yet, some reports from these ‘home from home’ destinations suggest that it’s not always the tourists who initiate these bogus claims. In fact, so-called insurance representatives have been spotted targeting British tourists with all-inclusive bands on their wrists to ask how their hotel food has been; planting the false idea that there have been widespread bouts of illness at their resort.
Whatever the origin of these claims, the fact is its bound to upset the travel insurance industry. With several Brits already priced out of the foreign holiday market, an increase in insurance may well mean that many more are forced in to taking a ‘staycation’.
Has your company been discussing this holiday sickness fraud? Will these claims change the way you provide insurance? I’d love to chat with you about the markets and see what I can do to help your business. Click here to see my details.
Written By Stuart McKenna