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Agents fight back against fake sickness claims

A large chain of independent travel agents is launching counter action against claimants who have already backed down.

Global Travel Group, one of the biggest chains of independent travel agents, is “actively chasing” law firms and individuals who it believes have made false holiday sickness claims against it, TTG reports.

The managing director of the UK-based group, Andy Stark, says it is currently fighting a number of cases where claimants were ceasing legal actions but where the group had decided to launch its own counter action.

“We have definitely become more bullish in how we are defending our cases. I can’t talk about specifics but we’re absolutely adamant that we will be successful,” he told TTG at the group’s conference in Orlando, Florida, this week.

“It would have been quite easy for us to just drop the cases and leave them there, but there’s a point to be made from an ethical perspective and I think it’s right to make those consumers and claims management companies [CMCs] accountable for what they are doing,” Stark continued.

“As a matter of principal there are some practices which we believe are wrong. We are forcing the issue as we have categorical proof. In most cases you see, people are supposedly ill but then they are caught dancing on a bar in Magaluf,” he said.

Massive threat
Speaking at last year’s conference, Stark warned that the surge in fake claims that travel agents and tour operators were seeing at that time could lead to increased insurance premiums, forcing travel firms to raise prices.

However, more than 12 months later he now says that Global Travel Group has seen “quite a drastic reduction” in claims.

Calling that wave of sickness claims as a trend that could have been a “massive financial threat to the industry”, he highlighted the benefit of being a member of a consortium when it comes to handling fraudulent cases.

“Some types of claims would be catastrophically difficult for a smaller business to deal with without the support a group like us gives to fight them,” he said.

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