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Flood damage, alternative accommodation, kitchen damage


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Hi, I would really appreciate some guidance on how best to deal with loss adjuster handling my claim.

 

 

My bungalow suffered with flooding following the August Bank Holiday 2013, storms. I had up to 1ft of water throughout the property. All the furniture in the house had to be removed. This included bed, fitted wardrobes, fire surround and gas fire, dining table etc. The sofa was also flood damaged but was left in the property to leave me with something to sit on. However, this has since fallen apart. I also work from home so had to put together a make shift desk from a plank of wood from the shed. The loss adjusters refused to pay costs for alternative accommodation on the grounds I could boil a kettle and flush the toilet, even though both kitchen and bathroom suffered damage.

 

 

For the last 8 months I've had to sleep on a sun lounger mattress on the concrete floor. All skirting and architraves have been removed. The chimney breast has been exposed back to the brick work and dust is constantly everywhere.

 

 

By contrast, my adjoining neighbour who was also flooded, yet had access to a kitchen and bathroom were given alternative accommodation straight away. How is this justified?

 

 

I have asked to be moved out while building repairs take place but this has also been refused. I contacted the Association of British Insurers to find a definition of 'uninhabitable' and they said that having access to cooking and bathing facilities are key factors - they are not they only ones in determining if alternative accommodation should be provided. I went back to the loss adjuster with this information and he ignored it. The insurance company have backed him up and said that as there is sleeping facilities at the property, it was regarded as habitable. Does a sun lounger mattress constitute sleeping facilities?

 

 

My other question is about the kitchen repairs. The kitchen is 4 years old. The flood damaged décor panels, plinths and some base units. The kitchen supplier has said the décor panels in my kitchen are no longer made. My builders and I have contacted other kitchen suppliers to find a match and none can be found. This means that I cannot get panels of the same colour, thickness or finish. Any replacement will make the kitchen look like a bag of liquorice allsorts as the end panels on the base units will not match those of the wall units. Do I have to accept this? The loss adjuster has refused any notion of replacing the kitchen and has offered £600 in compensation. Furthermore , in order to get the panels out, the kitchen units, worktops and appliances will all have to be pulled out. Clearly, £600 won't cover the work involved and also, if the units get damaged in this process can I make a claim for any such damage?

 

 

I feel that I am not being treated fairly here and that the modus operandi of the loss adjuster is to diminish my claim as far as possible. Please can you give me any advice on how best to deal with this in order to reach a satisfactory conclusion. Thank you.

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Hi sundancekid

 

Welcome to CAG

 

That is disappointing, that you've suffered once, but now have to deal with a unsympathetic loss adjuster.

 

What's the name of the insurance company?

 

I would write a Formal Letter of Complaint, mark it as such. Send it to the CEO of the insurance company, explain what's happened. That what the loss adjuster suggests is totally unacceptable, tell him what would be acceptable. Once you get a final response, you can take the matter to the FOS.

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Hi Rebel11 - Thank you for your comments and I will take your advice. I'm insured with Co-operative Insurance Services and the loss adjuster is from Cunningham Lindsey.

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Send it to:-

 

Mr Mark Summerfield

Managing Director

Co-operative Insurance

mark.summerfield@cfs.coop

 

It might be an idea to check that he is still the MD, as they've had lots of changes recently.

 

 

Hi Rebel11 - Thank you for your comments and I will take your advice. I'm insured with Co-operative Insurance Services and the loss adjuster is from Cunningham Lindsey.
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Wow! Thanks for that. It does look like he's still in post. I just found this quote on InsuranceAge -' Mr Summerfield commented: “The Co-operative Insurance is a highly respected, contemporary general insurance business, which puts customers at its heart.' It will be interesting to see if they mean it! Really appreciate your help. Thanks again.

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In terms of the matching items, they should pay for 100% of any damaged items and 50% of any undamaged items (as per financial ombudsman guidance) - they can't claim to not be aware of this guidance, but generally won't offer it unless you complain.

 

In terms of alternative accommodation, it does sound habitable from what you've said - habitable means capable of being lived in, and if you have cooking facilities, bathing facilities, and water/power then it is habitable. I'm concerned about the mention of no bed though (a mattress on the floor can't be good for you) - that would make it uninhabitable - have they not offered any payment in respect of the contents yet?

 

edited to add: I differ from quite a few people on CAG - with insurance, there is no need to make a formal complaint in writing. Speak to CIS now and tell them you want them to log a formal complaint so you can take it to the ombudsman, this will start the ball rolling as they have 8 weeks to respond, after which you can take it to the ombudsman. You also have the bonus that the person on the phone may realise that they've made a mistake and sort it out, whereas a letter may take some time to get read and dealt with.

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sundancekid

 

1' of water. Were the power points under water ?

Has the insurance co provided dehumidifiers ?

What works have been carried out ?

Is it solid concrete floor or suspended (Floor boards) ???

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Hi. I do sympathise as my house was flooded in 2007 and it was a bad enough nightmare even though we moved out for 9 months. Has it been fumigated as flood water obviously contaminates everything it touches.

 

I suggest that you consider appointing your own loss adjustor.

 

You could also tell the CEO that you are not happy with Cunningham Lindsay and ask for another firm to be appointed.

 

What about contacting the local press too?

 

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Cunningham Lindsey are normally good in my experience.

 

Please respond post # 8.

Give more information as to what the "Insurer"has provided.

I will try to assist.

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