When booking a holiday through a travel agent, everyone has the right to expect a duty of care from that company. However, if an accident unfortunately occurs that was not your fault, then the travel company should have some level of financial redress available for you – in the form of compensation.
This is usually sourced via a statutory compensation scheme and is made available for any customers who have suffered a life changing injury, illness or loss of life. Unfortunately, Thomas Cook operated in a different manner. They were largely ‘self-insuring’ and as they have also entered into compulsory liquidation, this guarantee of customers receiving any compensation, which they thought they were due, is now looking increasingly unlikely.
The reason for this is that Thomas Cook only took out insurance cover for the very largest personal injury claims. For any agreed claims below this figure (up to a high aggregate amount) Thomas Cook decided to self-insure through a provision in their accounts. However, as Thomas Cook has now unfortunately entered into liquidation (without ensuring any protection for pending claims) it has been found that the vast majority of Claimants who are not covered by the insurance – including customers who have suffered very serious injuries and loss of life – will not be automatically covered but treated simply as unsecured creditors.
This means it is now very uncertain whether any customers will receive any of the potential compensation they would have been entitled to in ordinary circumstances.
With this in mind, if you or a family member have been affected by the collapse of Thomas Cook and the loss of any pay-outs through the Thomas cook statutory compensation scheme, rest assured that there may be an alternative option on the horizon for you to consider.
Thomas Cook – what is the new statutory compensation scheme?
To help customers affected by the above scenario the Business Secretary, Andrea Leadsom, has recently made a statement concerning Thomas Cook to the House of Commons. The content of this statement outlined that after the imminent general election, the government itself intends to set up a statutory compensation scheme for those left without redress from Thomas Cook.
The key features of this Governmental statutory compensation scheme are described as follows:
– It will be ‘a capped fund, sufficient to ensure there is support for those customers facing the most serious hardship as a result of injuries or illness for which UK-based Thomas Cook companies would have been liable’.
– Measures will be developed to ensure the scheme only responds to genuine claims.
– The scheme will not consider ‘routine claims covering short-term problems’.
The actual definitions of the above key features of the scheme are yet to be confirmed. However, this may provide light at the end of the tunnel for the Claimants who have suffered the most serious of personal injury claims.
Although, with many levels of claims being omitted from the defined criteria, many claims will not be able to be dealt with under this proposed statutory compensation scheme. So, what can you do if you feel you will be left uncompensated for your less serious illness or injury?
There is still the option for you to make a claim directly against the hotel or venue where your accident occurred, as although your travel agent has a duty of care to protect you whilst on holiday so does the hotel or venue where you stayed or visited. However, in these cases it is advisable to seek the advice of a solicitor who deals with holiday accident claims to ensure the laws of the country in question are fully understood.
Contact us today if you have been affected and would like to discuss this in more detail.
Thankfully it seems that the Government have deemed Thomas Cooks’ approach to insurance unacceptable. This has started discussions for future arrangements to be put in place, by all holiday providers, to ensure this scenario does not repeat itself in the future.