Travel insurance scams can be costly

By | Category: Travel news

If people are ill they shouldn’t be seen in public places! © Dan Sperrin  

Last week there were two separate court cases proving again that if you make a false travel insurance claim, you do so at your peril.

Both cases concern people from Manchester which may well be purely coincidental although there does seem to be more than the average number of cases stemming from people living in the north- west.

In the first case a man said that whilst attending a wedding in Cancun he had been ill and the cause was the food and drink at the hotel. The man offered no documents such as medical reports or even any wedding photos. The tour operator concerned – TUI – sent its own investigators and found evidence that contradicted his claim.

As a result the man was ordered to pay TUI £10,000 by the courts for a false holiday sickness claim and Manchester County Court found him to be fundamentally dishonest. He also faces additional costs on an indemnity basis.

In the second case, Jet 2 holidays was involved.

A man holidaying on Cyprus claimed that he suffered from stomach cramps, diarrhoea and vomiting whilst holidaying there.  Is fraud became apparent when his ex-partner from the time showed the court video footage of him dancing to Gangnam Style by the pool. In addition she provided photographs showing him swimming in the pool, enjoying the evening entertainmentand subsequently showing that he took a 15-minute taxi ride to Ayia Napa, where he walked around the shops, ate at McDonalds, and also drank beer and cocktails during the period he claimed he was ‘missing meals, excursions, swimming time and other general activities.’

The judge fined him £6,000 saying, “Even applying the most rigorous test, I cannot avoid the finding that there has been dishonesty in his claim of sickness. A statement of truth was signed by Mr Royle knowing that it contained fundamental lies, and he gave incorrect information to his medical expert, and as a result a claim was issued.”

TUI, Jet2 and Thomas Cook have been rigorous in taking to court anyone they feel is fraudulently claiming. Both have investigative teams and work with local police to try and eradicate this fraud.

Courts are levying substantial fines and yet still claims are being made. There will always be genuine cases and they should be supported in their claims. But there are too many people trying it on and I don’t think fining is sufficient. Do fines deter them? Banning them from holidaying abroad for a number of years may be one way. Another might be that for two years they spend the holidays working for nothing at the hotels they tried to claim against.

But the fines do send a strong message that tour operators are prepared to fight despite the fact that it probably costs them more than settling the claims.

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