Holiday sickness claims are set to be the next area of personal injury to be targeted by insurers. Recent calls for firms to prove they are not paying illegal fees for the claims are just the start of their campaign. It has also been revealed that travel insurance companies have made direct contact with firms to try and scare them from further involvement within the sector.
Holiday sickness claims under investigation
The holiday sickness sector is currently under investigation by regulators, with the SRA contacting practices running the claims, to check how they are sourcing them. The line from the SRA is that this is to rule out misconduct.
However, firms are reporting that they are being contacted by travel insurance companies alongside the investigations, with the motive being to deter them from continuing within the profession. A risk advisor for one firm, who opted to remain anonymous, told the Law Gazette of this and reacted by saying:
“It should not be for travel companies to try and fend off potential claims by approaching law firms direct and making veiled threats in letters initially originating from their customer services departments.”
Desire for more reform
The insurance profession has had great success lobbying for restrictions within the personal injury claims sector lately. The recently announced reforms to the soft tissue claims sector, is sure to deny thousands of genuine accident victims the compensation they are entitled to. It seems that this has not been enough to quench their profit-thirsty desire though.
The reasons given by the travel insurers for their call for reform are that the number of holiday claims outnumber the number of incidents recorded while abroad. The argument against this is quite simple.
Just because an incident isn’t reported to the travel company doesn’t mean the illness, the accident or the incident didn’t take place. The injury may not have been reported out of embarrassment at the time of the accident. Maybe the victim was on a work holiday and was simply too busy to report it. Or at the time of the accident, the injury did not appear as serious as it did until a few weeks after the holiday was over.
Whatever the reason for not reporting it, it does not mean the illness or accident did not take place. After all, all holiday illness claims are supported with a medical report from an independent medical examiner.
The insurance sector love to paint themselves as guardian angels to the public. They are also good at selling the idea that reform carries the most benefits to the UK public. Nonetheless, it has to be recognised that these insurers are businesses with business driven goals. Their main goal is boosting profit and over the last five years, the most successful revenue booster has been reform.
Sarah Hill, who is the head of fraud at defendant law firm, BLM, called for a similar approach to whiplash, saying: “The industry needs to come together with government to develop a solution to this issue. It needs addressing in the same whiplash claims were.”
However, if this model is followed, then people will lose their protection from poorly run holiday resorts. No accountability for poor hygiene will be held and the number of incidents will surely rise as will insurer profits. All of which comes at the expense of the health of thousands of holidaymakers.
1. Pixabay; Mojca JJ; https://pixabay.com/en/woman-blow-blowing-nose-hand-chief-698964/