Residential college fire – £1.5m buildings and contents claim

Location South Wales

Customer Nicholas Marten

When an electrical fault caused a major fire at the UWC Atlantic College in South Wales, one of the school’s boarding houses was almost completely destroyed. The College’s immediate priority was to re-house the 52 students who lived there, so it decided it needed professional help not only to make what was inevitably going to be a substantial insurance claim but also to manage the re-building project.

According to Nicholas Marten, Business Manager at the College, “We did some research into loss assessors and, after meeting them, we chose Morgan Clark. We were impressed by their speed of response, what they said they would do and how they would deal with our claim.”

The claim

Once they had been appointed to handle the claim and to manage the re-building project, Morgan Clark immediately appointed a specialist company to carry out emergency safety and protection works to the damaged boarding house. They also arranged for the construction of a temporary pre-fabricated accommodation block for the students.

Hiring this alternative accommodation was very expensive for the insurer as well as disruptive to the students’ lives. The College therefore was under pressure to complete the re-building of the original block as quickly as possible. This was a significant project which included replacing the roof, external cladding, mechanical and electrical services, plasterwork, sanitary ware, fixtures and fittings, as well as complete redecoration.

Morgan Clark arranged for specialist contractors, under the supervision of chartered surveyors, to reinstate the property within a very tight contract programme. At the same time, it prepared, presented and negotiated settlement of the substantial and complicated building and contents claim.

The results

Morgan Clark agreed a final settlement with the insurers of just over £1.5 million, covering the re-building of the accommodation block, temporary accommodation for the students and all contents lost or damaged. More importantly, however, through careful management and close liaison with the surveyors and contractors, it ensured that the reinstatement work was completed ahead of schedule, saving significantly on the cost to the insurer and disruption to the students.

According to Nicholas Marten, “Morgan Clark kept us fully informed at every stage, and they took away the headache of organising repairs as well as making the claim itself. We were busy with the aftermath of the fire, and particularly with re-housing our students, so it was great that we could just leave them to it. It meant that we could be much more effective in our response to what was a major incident.”

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