11 Jan

Sickness scams measures need to be in place by the summer holiday season

It’s six months since the Government announced a clamp down on holiday sickness claims – recognising the detrimental impact they are having on the travel industry, both home and abroad, following our Stop Sickness Scams campaign.

We’ve been encouraged by the Government’s response to the evidence we’ve been submitting and their plans to tackle the fees legal firms can charge for such cases. The campaign is clearly resonating with the Government and the public - but we can’t be complacent. The final plans are still to be announced, and there are just two opportunities a year – April and October – for Government to bring in the necessary changes.

This week we’ve called on Government to make sure it closes the loophole in the law as a matter of urgency – highlighting that as many as 9.5 million people have been approached about making a claim. We made the point that waiting until October to introduce the new rules leaves it open for claims companies to spur more cases over the 2018 summer holiday season.

As part of our Stop Sickness Scams activities this week, ABTA’s spokespeople appeared across national and regional media warning people about the consequences of making a false claim and highlighting the need for the government to act quickly, and I also wrote about the issue in a column for The Times online.

Throughout the campaign we’ve been very clear that cold calling by claims management companies has been a big driver behind unsubstantiated claims. Which is why we’re also continuing to work with government and MPs to push for a ban on cold calling by claims management firms to be included in the Financial Guidance and Claims Bill, which is due in the House of Commons early this year.

Our job, working with Members, is to ensure we keep up the pressure on Government to make sure sickness scams are stopped once and for all.

Mark Tanzer, Chief Executive