Horwich Farrelly clamps down on holiday illness claims

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Horwich Farrelly has successfully defended more than 2,000 holiday illness claims in the past 10 months.

The law firm revealed the number of potentially fraudulent claims it has tackled as the UK government looks to bring them within the fixed recoverable costs regime.

For the past 10 months, Horwich Farrelly has been working with the travel industry to investigate potentially fraudulent claims, as well as provide a robust defence for any cases taken to court.

As a result, the law firm has successfully defended more than 2,000 claims, and tackled professional ‘enablers’, including doctors, solicitors and claims management companies that are reported to be behind the increase in claims volumes.

According to research from trade group the Association of British Travel Agents (ABTA), there was a 500% increase in holiday illness claims between 2013 and 2016, from around 5,000 to around 35,000.

In response, Horwich Farrelly has been urging all tour operators to follow the motor insurance industry’s lead by adopting a zero tolerance approach to tackling bogus or dishonest claims.

Mark Hudson, head of counter fraud at Horwich Farrelly, commented: “Unscrupulous claims companies are fooling travellers into thinking they can win back the cost of their holiday, and often more than that, by making bogus claims for holiday sickness. However, make no mistake, these companies are in fact helping British tourists commit fraud.”

“These types of claims, if successful, are typically worth several thousands of pounds so the savings to the travel industry are substantial. We are delighted with the results we have achieved working alongside the travel industry to ensure that any holidaymaker or professional enabler making a dishonest claim will pay the price.

Tighter controls on costs that can be recovered in holiday illness claims were agreed in April, paving the way for them to be brought within the fixed recoverable costs regime.

Hudson commented: “The Ministry of Justice (MoJ) confirmed that fixed recoverable costs are to be extended to package holiday sickness claims which will undoubtedly play a very important part in combatting fraud in this area. We are very pleased that the MoJ has adopted this proposal which will introduce some key changes and we will continue to work with the travel industry to convey a clear and simple message; fraud will not be tolerated regardless of the value of the claim.”

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Mark Dugdale is the editor of Claims Media. Mark welcomes articles, letters or feedback from readers and can be reached via mark.dugdale@barkerbrooks.co.uk