Patricia Pearl - Small Claims Procedure - A Practical Guide


An excellent guide for the layperson in how to use the County Court - a must if you are intending to start a claim.

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  1. #1
    Basic Account Holder Kippy1946 Novitiate

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    Default Motor Insurance and the Ombudsman

    I have submitted a complaint to the fosicon regarding cancelled motor insuranceicon and the adjudicator seems completely biased towards the insurance company (Royal & SunAlliance).

    The basic facts are that the company (Broker Network) which owns my broker (Wyndale) moved all its motor business to a branch in Scotland (Denny). When Denny wrote to me about renewal they initially tried to sell me a policy with their 'chosen insurance partner', Norwich Union. This on its own is in breach of FSA regulations (they HAVE to offer an alternative quote).

    It looked like tyical junk mail, so I ignored it (mainly because I hadn't been told about the new broker and the fact that they were trying to move me away from R&SA, with whom I was quite happy).

    Denny did write again but by this time I was convinced their letter was junk and ignored it once more. Denny got in touch with R&SA, cancelled my policy and, you might guess, about four months later my wife had an accident in my car.

    R&SA refused to honour the policy, saying it had been cancelled. I had been paying by DDicon and had been previously assured by Wyndale that my policy, because it was being paid by DD, would be renewed without me having to do anything.

    It took a few weeks sifting through all the paperwork but I eventually found the following printed in R&SA's terms and conditions (and they still form a part of them online):

    "If you pay by direct debiticon we will renew the policy automatically and continue collecting premiums unless you notify us that you wish to cancel the policy." (my bold emphasis)

    When I sent a copy of this to R&SA they contacted me, saying they would reinstate the policy. However, this was eleven weeks after the accident and I had had to make alternative arrangements for transport in order to work.

    R&SA refused to reimburse my additional expenses, which I considered were incurred solely because they had not renewed the policy as indicated in their terms and conditions.

    I decided to make a complaint to the FOS. This has taken almost 12 months to near completion. However, the assigned adjudicator is totally biased towards R&SA and, if I didn't know better, might expect such a response from R&SA's legal department, not a body which is supposed to be impartial.

    Essentially, the adjudicator holds me responsible for the policy cancellation because I did not check my bank statements. The fact that I had been lulled into a false sense of security by indications from both Wyndale and R&SA (with promises of automatic renewal) and simply didn't see the need to check anything on my statement doesn't matter to her.

    As a matter of further interesticon, a friend of mine had a similar experience about ten years ago when her policy hadn't been renewed automatically and she faced a charge of not producing valid documents when asked to by the police. The FOS found in her favour (even though she admitted ignoring the renewal letter)!

    The adjudicator seems more interested in protecting insurance companies from claims which might increase premiums (she admits as much) rather than protecting me (a consumer) from their breach of their own terms and conditions.

    I am preparing a formal complaint against the adjudicator. Does anyone have any comments they can make as to the best course of action? Or has anyone had similar experiences?

    Chris


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  2. #2
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    Default Re: Motor Insurance and the Ombudsman

    I think you are doing the right thing, the adjudicator should be impartial and we as members of the public have a right to expect it.
    I also expect fosicon have a process to be followed when they investigate claims against any of their staff.
    You could also write to your Member of Parliament, I am sure they will help after all they must be bored to tears during their 77 day recess.
    I must add my post is in support of your action, although I have no experience of the process.

    Regards

    Andy

    Advice is based on my personal opinion, and what I have learnt from this forum.
    If you need legal advice please consider consulting a lawyer.

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  3. #3
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    Default Re: Motor Insurance and the Ombudsman

    Don't be surprised if she's an ex employee of R&SA

    You would think the FSO would be embarrased by now as they are constantly having their ajudications overturned by the courts


  4. #4
    Basic Account Holder Kippy1946 Novitiate

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    Default Re: Motor Insurance and the Ombudsman

    Many thanks for your comments and encouragement, Andy and Jon.

    I didn't realise courts could overturn fosicon decisions. Can anybody quote examples and/or relevant website links?

    I'm particularly interested in hearing from anyone who has had their policy reinstated or received compensation when an automtically renewable policy is cancelled by the insurers or broker.

    Chris


  5. #5
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    Default Re: Motor Insurance and the Ombudsman

    Courts all to frequently overturn so-called regulators decisions. You simply issue in the civil courts in much the same way that you do a money claim citing the evidence you have already supplied to the FSO


  6. #6
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    Default Re: Motor Insurance and the Ombudsman

    I have taken 2 matters to the fosicon for a buildings insurance claim.

    Whilst clearly the FOS rulings have been in my favour, the Insurers are playing every possible game not to abide. The FOS are pretty powerless to enforce their own adjudication unless I wait about 9 months for a final decision.

    In a nutshell, the FOS service sounds fantastic but in reality, it is pretty useless.

    I suggest you might be better to issue proceedings against your Insurers. However, Courts tend to abide by FOS rulings so having gone through the FOS process, you might now find yourself in tough position in Court.

    Take it from someone who is now litigating against an Insurer. Fortunately, the FOS rulings have been in our favour.

    Good luck


  7. #7
    Basic Account Holder Kippy1946 Novitiate

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    Default Re: Motor Insurance and the Ombudsman

    Thanks for the advice.

    I do realise I may end up in court but I'm hoping a complaint (about the adjudicator) to someone higher up at the fosicon will help. Basically, this woman went out of her way to attack every point I made, except those which she didn't have an answer for, which she completely ignored.

    I suggested she was biased in my original post and acting more like R&SA's defence counsel. Someone else said she might even be an ex-R&SA employee. I wouldn't be surprised by that at all.

    Just can't quite get my head round how I can be held responsible - in any way - for the insurer failing to renew what they stated (in B&W) would be automatically renewed - unless I cancelled.

    There's no natural justice in that and I hope a real judge might see that as well...

    Chris


  8. #8
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    Default Re: Motor Insurance and the Ombudsman

    Have you thought of calling up the Adjudicator and having a chat with her.

    This may help you put your concerns to her. I did so in my case.

    Making a complaint about the Adjudicator I doubt will achieve much and may take another 6 months before you receive a reply. Trust me, the fosicon procedure is very slow and tiresome. I strongly suggest you call her. You have nothing to lose by doing so!


  9. #9
    Basic Account Holder Kippy1946 Novitiate

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    Default Re: Motor Insurance and the Ombudsman

    I'm only too well aware of the slow pace the fosicon operates; probably the result of the workload imposed on them by our rip-off society. I'm also aware that any further complaint is going to take at least six months.

    However, I have talked to the adjudicator and she just will not move. Her argument seems to be she is not there to award punitive damages against insurance companies because doing so might drive up premiums. That's a bit like a judge refusing to jail guilty offenders because it will add to the cost of the prison service and end up raising taxes!

    The adjudicator's analysis of my case is SO one-sided I'm reasonably confident I can call her judgement into doubt. As an example, there was an eleven week delay between the accident and the insurance company finally agreeing to reinstate the policy. As the car wasn't roadworthy I had to make alternative transport arrangements, as I can't work without a car (self-employed photographer).

    The adjudicator stated that eleven weeks isn't an unreasonable time for a claim to be settled and that, therefore, I wasn't entitled to any costs or compensation.

    However, I'd taken the car (an X-Type) to a Jaguar dealer quite a few miles away because they had their own bodyshop and provided a free courtesy car. So, I'd probably have had my car repaired in a week and wouldn't have been without one at all. She just didn't take that possibility into account - period.

    I think a formal complaint is the only way to go whilst I can still show she has been unreasonable. Any dialogue with her would just result in more excuses - and delays.

    Chris


  10. #10
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    Default Re: Motor Insurance and the Ombudsman

    I'm sorry I don't no where you got that info but most of those adjudications that have been challenged in the courts have been found in favour of the claimant


  11. #11
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    Default Re: Motor Insurance and the Ombudsman

    Did Denny give a reason as to why they contacted RSA and asked them to cancel the policy? It sounds like they are responsible for this mess as well.


  12. #12
    Basic Account Holder Kippy1946 Novitiate

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    Default Re: Motor Insurance and the Ombudsman

    Hi Lemon Twist

    Denny certainly played their part, as did Wyndale, my original broker, who failed to tell me the motor business was being transferred (to Denny).

    As a result, I treated the Denny letters as junk. This was aided by the fact that Denny's first letter simply invited me to go with 'their chosen motor insuranceicon partner', Norwich Union. There was no mention of renewing the R&SA policy, which added to my belief it was junk. In fact, by not offering an alternative quote, Denny were in breach of FSA regulations.

    I had the option of complaining about Denny or R&SA. I chose the latter because I couldn't see how they could get out of the fact that their terms & conditions included the bit about DDicon-paid policies being automatically renewed unless the policy holder cancelled.

    The adjudicator can't seem to grasp this pretty basic, printed in black & white fact. At least, she's chosen not to grasp it...

    Chris


  13. #13
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    Default Re: Motor Insurance and the Ombudsman

    I am currently with the FSO in a complaint about R&SA, the FSO tell me they have a massive backlog at the moment and it may take some time to address my complaint.
    They just don't seem to keen to take on complaints agaisnt the R&SA!!
    Best of luck

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