ABTA launches tool to urge MPs to force holiday sickness claims into fixed costs regime as fraud situation reaches “critical point”

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ABTA has launched a tool for travel industry businesses and members of the public to email their local MP, urging them to write to Justice Secretary, David Lidington, asking him to place holiday sickness claims under a fixed costs regime.

The travel association has said that action is desperately needed as fraudulent claims in the area are reaching a “critical point”.

It has said that unless swift action is taken then there will be serious consequences. It said that holiday prices could increase, and choice for honest holidaymakers could be reduced as hoteliers refuse to offer their products to the UK market.

By visiting www.stopsicknessscams.com, people will be able to  raise the issue with their MP by emailing them directly from the site using a pre-prepared email template. There are two emails available, one for travel industry employees and business owners and one for members of the public. Travel companies are being asked to encourage their staff, suppliers, customers, friends and family to use the tool and to contact their MP.

The emails will ask individual MPs to write to Justice Secretary, David Lidington MP, urging him to introduce a fixed costs regime and so closing a “claims loophole” that ABTA says encourages claims management companies (CMCs) to target the travel industry. ABTA says that this approach should be implemented quickly and would begin to reduce the problem of spurious or exaggerated sickness claims immediately.

ABTA and its members have been working with Ministry of Justice officials for several months, sharing claims data and asking for regulatory change to address spurious sickness claims. ABTA hopes that with support from the industry and members of the public, individual MPs will support the campaign and join the industry in lobbying the Ministry of Justice.

Mark Tanzer, ABTA CEO said: “It is essential that the Ministry of Justice takes action to close the claims loophole and stop sickness scams.

“We have already seen the Foreign Secretary, Boris Johnson, speak out on this issue of fake claims and it is encouraging to see the new Government commit to tightening the regulation of claims companies in the Queen’s Speech. The Government’s proposals are a step in the right direction for addressing Britain’s compensation culture, however, they are not enough in themselves.

“More urgently for the travel industry, we need the Government to address the exclusion of overseas claims from a fixed costs regime and I would strongly urge everyone in the industry to use this simple tool to contact their local MP and add their voice to the campaign.”

 

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Marek Handzel

Marek Handzel is the editor of Claims Magazine. Marek welcomes articles, letters, or feedback from readers and can be reached by emailing marek.handzel@barkerbrooks.co.uk