Government to assist customers of bankrupt Thomas Cook Germany

Package holidaymakers hit by the bankruptcy of the Germany subsidiary of British tour operator Thomas Cook will receive financial assistance from the state, according to an official announcement in Berlin on Wednesday.

“The state will make good damage that is not otherwise compensated,” the statement said following a cabinet meeting.

Customers will be provided with the difference between what they receive from the Zurich insurance group or other sources and what they paid.

“It is not reasonable for customers to be left on their own to clear up the complex open legal issues,” the statement said, adding that the aim was to avoid thousands of complaint procedures and legal action lasting years.

According to Zurich, the customers were inadequately insured, with damage claims set to rise considerably over the 110 million euros (122 million dollars) insured. Final figures are expected over the next few days.

In November, Zurich said that it had received claims of 250 million euros following the bankruptcy of Thomas Cook’s German subsidiary, announced on September 25, soon after the British parent had declared it was bankrupt.

This sum is to rise following the company’s cancellation of all trips in the New Year. Some 660,000 holidaymakers had booked trips until the end of September 2020, according to earlier information.

The head of the German consumers’ associations, Klaus Mueller, welcomed the government decision. He called for an unbureaucratic approach to the pay-outs and improved insurance for package holidays.

By contrast to tourists travelling on their own, package holidaymakers are insured against the bankruptcy of the tour operator. But in this case the liability ceiling was 110 million euros and inadequate to cover all the claims.

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