Fire in thatched cottage – £152,000 third party buildings claim

Location Wiltshire

Customer Mr Thomas

Mr Thomas was in the process of changing the buildings insurance policy on his second home in Wiltshire. The new insurer asked him to meet certain stipulations before cover could start: this included the installation of a new boiler. Unfortunately, while the heating engineer was installing the boiler, heat transfer from work on the pipes caused a fire to start in the thatched roof. The fire took hold and caused extensive damage: the roof and the first floor were destroyed and the rest of the house affected by water from fire hoses.

As he had no insurance cover, Mr Thomas realised he faced considerable problems. On the advice of the fire brigade, he decided to use a loss assessor and, after investigating the market and speaking to a number of the major loss assessors in the UK, appointed Morgan Clark.

The claim

The claim proved to be far more complicated than originally envisaged. According to Mr Thomas:  “Morgan Clark warned us from the start this was going to be a difficult case and that there was a chance we would receive nothing.”

As the fire was caused by the heating engineer, Morgan Clark initially pursued a third-party public liability claim against him. However the engineer ignored all communications. The next step was to pursue a claim against his insurer, who refused to discuss the claim as the engineer had not followed his public liability policy’s hot works stipulations.

Morgan Clark then invoked the recent Third Party Rights v Insurers Act 2010, which protects people in Mr Thomas’s position. As a result of Morgan Clark’s relentless pursuing of the claim, the insurance company finally accepted that they had to find a mutually-acceptable settlement.

The results

After protracted negotiations, during which the insurer tried to keep any settlement to an absolute minimum, Morgan Clark succeeded in achieving a cash settlement of £152,000 – far more than Mr Thomas ever expected.

According to Mr Thomas, “This was a very complex claim. Morgan Clark are experienced professionals and achieved a far better settlement than we would have as amateurs on our own, trying to battle against the weight of an insurer. They really helped us through the process and they were well worth their fee.”

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