Fraud Abroad – The Spain case file

15 December 2017

Insurers are becoming used to claims after earthquakes, searing heat, forest fires and even, sadly, terror attacks. But now there is a new claim that travel insurers, as well as liability cover providers, are increasingly seeing cross their desks – sickness.

In the last period, the claims farmers targeted this type of insurance. The hotels are being accused of ruining people’s holidays by not taking enough care of their customers and meeting health and safety standards, this allegedly resulting in consumers being diseased and further submitting claims to recover some of their holiday costs.

For insurers, the impact might not be obvious but, as Claire Laver, counterfraud partner at DAC Beachcroft, explains, but these frauds unbalance the whole system (comprised from insurers, tour operators and hoteliers). Ms. Laver stresses that now, however, the insurance industry and the hotel trade are beginning to fight back, but in order to combat the fraud occurring in Spain, the travel and insurance industries need to work together.

Lucrecia Guerra, a lawyer from DAC Beachcroft’s Madrid office, adds that a robust stance on liability must be taken, particularly where there is no objective evidence of gastric illness or reliable medical reports.

Figures recently released by the Association of British Insurers suggest there were 480,000 travel-related claims in 2016, at a cost to insurers of £370m – the highest claims costs in five years.

“If a hotelier believes a sickness claim is fraudulent and has evidence of fraud, the tour operator needs to support that hotelier, investigate those suspicious claims and then work closely with their insurers to repudiate and defend, as robustly as possible, those that are fraudulent,” Ms. Laver explains.

Note: The material above represents a review of the article which may be accessed here.

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