Fi­nally, a £44,800 in­surance pay­out

The Daily Telegraph - Your Money - - FRONT PAGE -

This is about a claim with Al­lianz, which has re­sulted from a wa­ter leak.

A ten­ant of one of our four flats un­for­tu­nately didn’t re­port the in­ci­dent for two weeks.

When the ten­ant from Flat A on the ground floor came home from hospi­tal af­ter a longish stay, he told us that his flat had be­come un­in­hab­it­able as a re­sult of the leak from Flat D up­stairs.

I re­ported this to my bro­ker and a claim was made against my in­surance pol­icy. There fol­lowed a lot of to-ing and fro-ing.

Loss of rent was agreed in respect of Flat A, but in the mean­time we had evicted the ten­ant in Flat D. Be­cause a te­nancy agree­ment was not in place by the time we put in the claim, the in­surer said it was not cov­ered.

An in­terim pay­ment for Flat A was agreed for a pe­riod start­ing nearly three months af­ter the in­ci­dent and last­ing un­til last month. I am still await­ing this.

How­ever, the prop­erty still can­not be let and there is no sign of any re­pairs tak­ing place.

Nearly 12 months since the dis­as­ter, I see no end in sight. This is now af­fect­ing my health and I am hop­ing you will in­ter­cede to bring my claim to a sat­is­fac­tory con­clu­sion. SH, NORTH EAST ENG­LAND

The un­der­writ­ers did con­firm that the risk may have been ac­cepted. How­ever, they also pointed to pol­icy re­stric­tions un­der the “un­oc­cu­pied build­ings” clause. This clause stip­u­lates that un­oc­cu­pied prop­er­ties must be in­spected thor­oughly in­ter­nally and ex­ter­nally at least weekly and a record main­tained of such in­spec­tions.

You and your fam­ily run a sep­a­rate busi­ness in the build­ing the flats are in. You say this meant that you were able to keep on eye on the flats, as far as was pos­si­ble, nearly ev­ery day. How­ever, this was not easy.

Flat B was un­oc­cu­pied but the lock on the door had been badly van­dalised. You were able to ac­cess it only af­ter the po­lice broke in, a long time af­ter the dam­age to the door oc­curred.

In ad­di­tion, the ten­ant of Flat D had been deny­ing you en­try. The claims in­ves­ti­ga­tor took the view that, had Flat B been oc­cu­pied or fre­quently in­spected, the leak would have been found sooner and the dam­age and loss sig­nif­i­cantly re­duced.

As for how long ev­ery­thing took to process, Al­lianz said there were some de­lays with your rep­re­sen­ta­tive and then some lack of com­mu­ni­ca­tion be­tween the var­i­ous par­ties in­volved.

You be­lieved that a pe­riod of rental loss for Flat A had been agreed. How­ever, af­ter I spoke to the in­di­vid­ual deal­ing with your claim at Al­lianz, he re­ported that he had not un­til then been made aware that you were chal­leng­ing for this. He then re­ceived an in­terim re­port from the loss ad­juster re­quest­ing £318 for an elec­tri­cal safety check and £3,685 for loss of rent.

Re­gard­ing the flat where the in­ci­dent had started, the in­surer had said the flat was empty at the time. I pointed out that the evic­tion had oc­curred over two weeks af­ter the flood­ing, not be­fore.

It now un­der­took that, af­ter all, the rents for Flat D as well as Flat A would all be cov­ered.

An ini­tial date was agreed three weeks later for strip­ping out the prop­erty. The prop­erty had to be dried be­fore the com­ple­tion of fur­ther build­ing works. This in­volved a con­trac­tor in­stalling sev­eral in­dus­trial de­hu­mid­i­fiers. They were on for 24 hours a day and took about six weeks to do the job.

A quote for re­fur­bish­ment was ac­quired from the loss ad­juster and then ap­proved.

Af­ter that, though, the start date was de­layed. Thieves then broke in and stole the cop­per wa­ter tank from Flat D.

The thieves sev­ered a pipe on the other side of the valve that turned the wa­ter off. Wa­ter es­caped, soak­ing the three flats again. The dry­ing process had to be gone through again.

Af­ter a lot of com­ing and go­ing this was all agreed on, but by then the tem­per­a­ture in the prop­erty was only 4C and the ma­chines did not work ef­fec­tively un­less it was 10C.

Heat­ing had to be ar­ranged. It was more than four months from the lat­est in­ci­dent be­fore the build­ing was cer­ti­fied dry. By now the var­i­ous coun­cil tax charges were hit­ting hard.

Al­lianz said: “We worked with Mrs H’s loss as­ses­sor to

try to bring this mat­ter to a con­clu­sion and main­tained a weekly re­view of the file. We are sorry for the time taken to set­tle the claim, but the com­plex­ity in­volved meant it would take some time to fi­nally re­solve.

“We will con­duct a thor­ough in­ter­nal re­view of the way this claim was man­aged to see if lessons can be learnt.”

All this has taken two years and you are still deal­ing with some snag­ging is­sues be­fore rent­ing the prop­er­ties out again. Al­lianz has paid £16,383 for loss of rent and £28,432 for the cost of re­in­state­ment. This came to £44,815 in all. You say you couldn’t have done with­out my help and sup­port.

This case does in the end il­lus­trate how cru­cial it is to have in­surance in place. The in­ci­dents would have in­volved you in so much more has­sle and ex­pense had you not done so.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from UK

© PressReader. All rights reserved.