Another timely reminder of the potential and likely costs to insurers, the travel industry and travellers themselves. Like Whiplash this is a peculiarly British matter. As has been commented before:-
- British motorists have the weakest necks in Europe aka fraudulent whiplash claims
- British travellers have the weakest stomachs in Europe aka fraudulent food poisoning claims
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."
Source: Jason Peto and Jason Claxton fraud and insurance experts 360Globalnet July 2017
Those who don’t know the extent of the issue should stop and listen to the Association of British Travel Agents. According to ABTA, holiday sickness claims have increased by 500% in the last three years, with one if its members reporting an astonishing 1000% surge. ABTA also believes that, if the issue is not tackled, some hotels and resorts might even start turning British tourists away. The million dollar question is how do we stop it? A slow reaction to whiplash saw it grow from a minor opportunistic problem to an organised industry. Thankfully, the Ministry of Justice has already announced plans to tackle holiday sickness but there needs to be a meaningful solution which doesn’t impact genuine claimants.