Fighting your battles on your behalf

Subsidence issue dismissed:

Insurance cover isn’t always straightforward, especially when there are more complex risks involved, which is why it’s so important to have a broker with the necessary knowhow and contacts acting on your behalf and fighting your corner.

One such case, involving a private house that had been converted into flats, aptly illustrates this. At some point in the past, the house had been subject to subsidence in the porch area. The property was insured, but the client hadn’t received a renewal notice and it was now late December. Renewal was due in January, so time was of the essence.

Beverley Jarvis, Accounts Handler, takes up the story:

“I contacted the insurer and asked why they hadn’t issued a renewal. They informed me the product was no longer available covering subsidence and all they could offer was commercial risk cover, with a premium of £10k. As the previous premium was £3k, this was too expensive. They suggested I contact some of their other teams, to see if anybody else was interested in taking on the risk.”

Beverley phoned round the insurer’s offices but without success. No other team was prepared to cover the risk of subsidence. As she explains:

“Once there has been a problem with subsidence, other insurers or teams generally aren’t interested in providing cover, which means you usually have to remain with the original insurer or team.”

She then tried another approach, contacting the loss adjuster who had handled the original claim for subsidence. If she could secure the Structural Engineer’s Report issued at the time, she could prove that the subsidence had been dealt with and there was no longer any movement, making it potentially easier to secure cover.

Unfortunately, the archives didn’t extend beyond 5 years and there was no copy of the report. Likewise, the client didn’t have a copy. All Beverley was able to secure was a Structural Adequacy Test, which wasn’t sufficient.

“At this point,” says Beverley, “we were past the renewal date. So, I negotiated with the existing insurer for a one month extension, which they were able to provide for a small charge. They made it quite clear they didn’t want to extend beyond that time, which meant I had to search for another insurer.”

Eventually, Beverley secured cover from an alternative insurer, who provided a policy for all risks, excluding subsidence, in the absence of the Structural Engineer’s Report. The cost of the premium was just £1,600. As Beverley points out: “At least the client had comprehensive cover, and there was no longer a risk of subsidence at the property. Our client is still trying to locate the report in order to secure subsidence cover!”

Although this story doesn’t have quite the hoped for ending, it does illustrate the complexities involved in placing cover and the value of going through a broker. In difficult circumstances, Beverley was able to secure a one-month extension from the existing insurer and place cover with a new insurer, ensuring the client’s property remained insured at all times.

“We will always go the extra mile to help our clients,” says Beverley. “We want to find the optimum solution and ensure clients are as fully protected as possible against all insurable risks. This is indicative of our approach, whatever the level of cover required, which means clients know they are in the best possible hands when they come to TMD Insurance.”