Warning about insurance procedures

Don’t be afraid to challenge insurance company procedures! If you feel someone has made a mistake they probably have. Xmas 2013 we sort of forgot a candle was burning! Luckily before it burnt the house down it only burnt through the table burning a couple of holes and scorching it in other places. I telephoned the Liverpool  and Victoria insurance company to request a claim form and was told that I would have to pay the £150 excess to the loss adjustor when he arrived. I don’t think so! As this was a customer service representative I decided to write to the CEO (contact details for all CEOs at ceoemail.com) of the insurance company. So the correspondence went as follows:

23/01/14 emailed CEO informed him that we had been told that an Assessor would come and we would have to pay a cheque for £150 and this would be deducted from the amount paid out. Said what an appalling, outrageous and unfair system it appeared to be. We offered to send photos but this was declined. How on earth is anyone meant to make a decision about whether it is worth paying the excess and an increase in future premiums? You could look at the photos and give some indication, but this had been refused. Mentioned the Unfair Trading Regulations 2008 as believed this to be an unfair commercial practice, misleading the consumer as to what they can expect. I attached the photos that were deemed unnecessary. “You may send an Assessor and deduct the excess from the settlement should we choose to take it” said I. Threatened the ombudsman and Small Claims Court. Did the trick.

24/01/14 response from someone in the CEO’s team stating that he would like to arrange an inspection of the table by their contractor’s Independent Inspections to see if the table can be restored. Offered us opportunity to arrange a report ourselves for which they would pay. Apologised that I was told I would need to pay the excess in the first instance, this should only be applied to a settlement.

28/01/14 emailed to say I had contacted restorers who said that just by looking at the photos they can see that the table is beyond repair and the quote for providing a report with details of how much it would cost to replace will be £35 plus VAT. I reiterated that I was categorically told that the cheque had to be paid before we agreed to settle. This was queried several times because it sounded so ludicrous. The customer services representative was adamant that the cheque had to be paid to the assessor and asked why this was. He clearly thought that this was the correct procedure so I was quite sure that this was not the first time it has been done and saw no reason why I should not take the matter further and expected redress for the inconvenience caused.


28/01/14 response to say go ahead with quote and that he would listen to the call and get back to me.

29/01/14 further email to say that I was correct and I had been advised as I said I had been! Oh whoopee do! Should I be pleased that they decided I wasn’t a liar?! He had discussed the matter with the handler and apparently there was some confusion. With building repairs, they would expect their contractors to arrange to collect an excess before carrying out repairs but this would usually be after they had inspected damage and assessed the approximate costs. The handler was informed of the error and a significant misunderstanding about the claims process was put right. How you confuse a building with a table I am unsure. The report was accepted I settled and took the £25 goodwill gesture for the inconvenience.

Insurance can be a minefield, whether house, vehicles or health! Most people have a story to tell. Don’t forget to use the tips on here for complaining and insurance is well covered in the book!

If you want to contact Liverpool and Victoria insurance company CEO you can do so here.

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