Hard-pressed Brits, faced with increased inflation and a falling pound, are finding a creative way to make the holiday payments hurt less, by submitting fraudulent travel claims.
"..the number of sickness claims made by Britons after eating at all-inclusive hotels has surged by 500% since 2013, says Mark Tanzer, head of the Association of British Travel Agents (ABTA)."
The Economist 21st July 2017
According to TUI, owner of First Choice and Thomson, say they’ve seen 15 times more sickness claims since Spring 2016, on previous years. While ABTA cites a 500% increase in the number of compensation claims for holiday sickness since 2013.
The finger of suspicion is well-founded as the same is not happening for fellow Europeans, who stay at the same resorts.
How to combat this?
"A central claims database in the industry would also be the best way to give a good oversight of the culprits – whether CMCs, rogue doctors or fraudulent claimants – showing time and again, what they’ve claimed for, against whom and when.
In addition, using software that can interrogate unstructured data – so, pdfs, emails, videos and so on – the sorts of document formats that will inevitably be used by say, a doctor to submit a sickness assessment, will be key for insurers to fully appreciate everything that is being submitted to support a claim. Effectively, it means the fraudulent claimant will have nowhere to hide.
The other critical element is how insurers capture the information from a claim. Our online platform technology would be the perfect way to ensure the evidence supports the claim, through the claimant uploading imagery – text, video or photos – to include robust evidence such as the fact the claimant sought medical advice/diagnosis and the paperwork to go with this, rather than just sending a picture of their paracetamol!
Sadly, we are all too aware of how aggressive CMCs are in their marketing to potential claimants and, as there are no fixed costs for Solicitors, as there are for motor claims, it is a profitable way for these companies to make money.
The industry is pushing for fixed fees and it’s easy to understand why. However, without a ‘unite and fight’ approach, the insurance industry stands to pay out more claims, in support of a compensation culture that’s out of its control."
Jason Peto and Jason Claxton fraud and insurance experts 360Globalnet July 2017
See "Don't stomach fraudulent travel insurance claims" Insurtech World
Many of the “crash-for-cash” fraudsters who used to run whiplash scams have taken to falling ill on holiday, a much easier hoax to execute. And the latest crackdown could make them more innovative still. Claims could be inflated by adding psychological distress. Noise-induced hearing-loss could be the next frontier. The fraudsters are unlikely to check out as quickly as they checked in.