More on travel insurance fraud

By | Category: Travel news

In one of the travel trade online publications, TravelMole, comes a story that gives an idea of just how big travel insurance fraud has become.

It reports that just one law form has dropped 1,800 cases against just one tour operator.

Admittedly the tour operator in question is the biggest – TUI (owners of brands such as Thomson, First Choice, Crystal, Falcon and Hayes & Jarvis)  so you might expect them to be on the receiving end of more claims than other companies but 1,800 is a lot. That all these claims are from one law company and that there are plenty of solicitors and claims agents who are involved in this type of business and you begin to see the scale of the potential cases of fraud that may be under way. How many cases have Thomas Cook and Jet2, Cosmos and other touroperators had?

I can only think for the law firm to drop 1,800 cases means that they have strong doubts as to either the validity of the claims of their clients or the likelihood of success in the courts.

The forceful action of tour operators, ABTA, Spanish hoteliers in particular and the warning of the Foreign Office about fraudulent claims must have had some impact. But then so must the news that one hotel was counter suing a couple who it seems may not have been anywhere near as ill as they claim. That the newspapers reported that they might lose their home if the hotel wins might have been the salutary lesson that made some would-be fraudsters  come to their senses and desist from their claims.

There is still nothing on the TUI website to add to this story in TravelMole which goes on to claim that the company met Spanish police last week and details of hundreds of suspected fraud have been passed to the police.

There still doesn’t seem to be much that the UK government is doing to support the travel industry such as, for example, withdrawing passports to those that are found to have made fraudulent claims, making it mandatory that they cannot fly for a period of years and giving them community service like spending weekends washing up in hotel kitchens. I have seen few, if any, comments from the tourism ministers in any of our countries reminding the public that false claims are criminal.

It does also raise one other issue. Why are UK citizens making fraudulent claims and citizens of other European countries don’t appear to be doing so? What does that say about our legal system? Or the people involved in it or on the sidelines?

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