Insurers have informed the Association of British Travel Agents (ABTA) that they have seen a recent significant increase in the number of bogus holiday illness claims. While the Claims Management Regulator, run by the MoJ, acknowledge an increase in activity by UK claims management companies in targeting tourists. This follows a shift by these companies to the lucrative holiday sickness market after a government clampdown on fraudulent whiplash cases. Experts estimate that the cost to the industry will run into millions as a leading solicitor firm states each pay-out typically ranges from between £500 to £2000. This will inevitably result in higher insurance premiums.
In a bid to tackle this NetWatch Global was instructed by a leading travel insurer to carry out open source investigation following a claim for holiday sickness allegedly suffered by three members of a family.
As a result of our analysis, NetWatch were able to locate a series of social media posts depicting the family enjoying their holiday abroad, after the date that the illness was alleged to have commenced. We were also able to determine from our pre and post incident investigation that the individuals had resumed their usual pattern of lifestyle on returning from their holiday abroad.
Significantly, we were able to confirm that one member of the family returned to work the day after they had arrived home while another had been able to enjoy dining out with friends, despite alleging that they suffered from a gastric ailment.
The analysis undertaken by NetWatch was submitted in a detailed report to the insurers who confirmed that our findings had been extremely useful with their case. Insurer’s investigations into holiday sickness claims can be hindered through lack of medical evidence or absence of records of sickness in holiday resorts. However, by instructing NetWatch on claims of this nature insurers receive rapid intelligence which can be used as evidence in their defence of the claim.