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Hi forum, could anyone help me better understand the wording of an insurance policy? I am trying to make a claim under the third parties rights against the insurers act, on my plumbers insurance policy (who has since gone out of business).

 

The policy defines:

 

LI1.4 Costs and Expenses


(a) Fees for Your legal representation at


(i) any Coroner's Inquest or Fatal Accident Inquiry
(ii) proceedings in any Court of Summary Jurisdiction arising out of any alleged breach of statutory duty

 

I understand statutory duty to be the consumer rights act- right?

 

The policy then goes on to explain the cover provided:

 

LI3.1 The Cover


We will pay You


(a) up to the Limit of Indemnity for Your legal liability to pay Compensation and


(b) for Your legal liability to pay Costs and Expenses


in respect of accidental


(i) Personal Injury
(ii) Damage to Property
(iii) obstruction trespass nuisance or interference with any right of way air light or water
which arises in connection with the Business and which happens within the Territorial Limits during the Period of Insurance

 

So the policy appears to be saying that if accidental damage is caused via a breach of the consumer rights act- they will pay out. However there are 2 points to consider with the word accident:

 

1. My understanding is that statutory laws cannot have their liability minimised in anyway. If that is the case, is the insurer allowed to say they will only pay out for accidental damage when a breach to the consumer rights act is concerned? Any thoughts?

2. Even if the word accidental is applied correctly here, if the damage was not done accidentally it would be a crime wouldn't it?! Therefore aren't all breaches of statutory rights going to be accidental? Or in my case the plumber simply did not have the required skill set (or is just rubbish at what he does) to do the job properly (which is still accidental). 

 

Any thought forum? Thank you x

 


 

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You are mixing this up, these are 2 separate areas of  of the policy, 

 

The first part offers cover for the policy holders legal fees for attending court - and that's it.  that section then ends all conversation about statutory breach (unless there is further mention in the policy).  

 

The second bit, accidental, forget anything to do with statutory breach, that has no relevance (unless you have more working to refer to) the policy clearly states what is covered under this section. 

 

You need to prove the damage was accidental to claim under this section, not poor workman ship, poor design etc. There is a fine line between the two.

 

 

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Posted (edited)

if I don't believe you are interpreting this correctly.

 

L1.4 is about the policyholder's legal costs in being represented in court if facing prosecution or official enquiry. Nothing to do with compensation to third parties for damage the policyholder caused. "Breach of statutory duty" is legally complex but I doubt it applies to a private duty to you under CRA. Statutory Duty is usually about duties to the public. But it doesn't need debating because L1.4 only covers legal defence costs for breach of statutory duty in "proceedings in any Court of Summary Jurisdiction". ie, the Policyholder is being prosecuted for  criminal offence of breaching a statutory duty in (usually) a Magistrates Court. L1.4 is irrelevant to your issue.

 

L3.1 is the basic insuring clause covering the plumber for claims from third parties for damage caused by their work if the plumber has legal liability for causing the damage. Breach of statutory duty has nothing to do with it. You need to work on establishing whether the plumber was negligent (or some other basis (tort) that legal liability can arise from, but most often negligence).

Edited by Ethel Street

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thanks for the reply, however I dont think I explained this very well.

 

L1.4 is a definition of costs and expenses. 

 

with that in mind, it then goes onto say what the cover is specifically (using the words costs and expenses):

 

LI3.1 The Cover


We will pay You


(a) up to the Limit of Indemnity for Your legal liability to pay Compensation and


(b) for Your legal liability to pay Costs and Expenses


in respect of accidental


(i) Personal Injury
(ii) Damage to Property
(iii) obstruction trespass nuisance or interference with any right of way air light or water
which arises in connection with the Business and which happens within the Territorial Limits during the Period of Insurance

 

 

 

So I will be taking this to the legal ombudsman as the insurer is unwilling to play fair and payout. If the legal ombudsman says I am entitled to compensation, then the plumber's insurance will be forced to pay out- or not?

 

But my understanding is that the Consumer rights act is an act of statute, which is precisely what this covers. My plumber came in did work, caused a leak to my home and caused about £10k in losses to me. Isnt that what this is for?

 

thanks

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Posted (edited)

LI1.4 defines what Costs and Expenses are insured in addition to the basic cover for damages (ie the repair of the damage caused) but you don't appear to have quoted the full wording of the section. The subsection you've posted isn't relevant. But none of it is particularly relevant to your claim unless you are incurring legal costs in pursuing your claim against the plumber and are seeking to recover them in addition to the cost of repairing the damage caused by the plumber.  Both Mwynci and me have explained that you are misunderstanding what "breach of statutory duty" means and what LI3.1 says.

 

Your claim may be covered under the main insuring clause, LI13.1 subsection (a). Why not post up on here the letter you have received from insurers (with all personal identifying details removed) so that we can see  what they have said and why they have declined the claim?

 

The Legal Ombudsman deals with complaints against solicitors and legal services providers, not about insurance claims.

Edited by Ethel Street

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I think it will be helpful if you would lay out the facts of the story here. However, I have to say that a breach of statutory duty does not include a breach of the consumer rights act. The consumer rights act is concerned with contractual duties which are not statutory. They are common law duties.

You say that the plumber has gone out of business. Was the plumber trading as a sole trader? Or as a limited liability company?


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44 minutes ago, Ethel Street said:

 … and what LI3.1 LI1.4 says.

 

Your claim may be covered under the main insuring clause, LI13.1 LI3.1 subsection (a). 

 

 

Apologies for typos. 

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2 hours ago, Ethel Street said:

LI1.4 defines what Costs and Expenses are insured in addition to the basic cover for damages (ie the repair of the damage caused) but you don't appear to have quoted the full wording of the section. The subsection you've posted isn't relevant. But none of it is particularly relevant to your claim unless you are incurring legal costs in pursuing your claim against the plumber and are seeking to recover them in addition to the cost of repairing the damage caused by the plumber.  Both Mwynci and me have explained that you are misunderstanding what "breach of statutory duty" means and what LI3.1 says.

 

Your claim may be covered under the main insuring clause, LI13.1 subsection (a). Why not post up on here the letter you have received from insurers (with all personal identifying details removed) so that we can see  what they have said and why they have declined the claim?

 

The Legal Ombudsman deals with complaints against solicitors and legal services providers, not about insurance claims.

Opps, sorry I meant the FOS.

 

I am attaching a copy of my most recent letter from the loss adjuster, received by my representative who is a surveyor.  I have also attached the policy wording and schedule.

 

 

xyz.pdf schedule.pdf wording.pdf

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1 hour ago, BankFodder said:

I think it will be helpful if you would lay out the facts of the story here. However, I have to say that a breach of statutory duty does not include a breach of the consumer rights act. The consumer rights act is concerned with contractual duties which are not statutory. They are common law duties.

You say that the plumber has gone out of business. Was the plumber trading as a sole trader? Or as a limited liability company?

 thanks for your help, but I am still confused! According to various other sites the consumer rights act is a statutory law:

 

http://www.onlineshoppingrights.co.uk/understanding-your-basic-statutory-rights.html

 

is a statutory right (which the consumer rights act definitely is) not formed from statutory law???

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You are asking a very reasonable question and frankly I think I'm gonna have difficulty explaining. However I'm quite clear in my own mind that breach of the consumer rights act is not a breach of statutory duty. The consumer rights act confers certain rights upon individuals – including the right to enjoy goods or services which are of satisfactory quality or have been carried out in a reasonable way, but these rights are included in the contract. The consumer rights act really implies terms into contracts but there has to be a contract in existence first.

At the moment I would say that apiece – a duty is simply a duty which are created by Parliament and in the context that we are talking about doesn't need any contractual relationship to invoke the duty.

So for instance if the builder is mending a roof then it may well be that he has statutory duty to make sure that passers-by aren't injured. If a tile slips off the roof and hurts a passerby, then it may well be that the passerby is protected by a simple statutory duty. It might not be necessary for us to show that the builder was negligent and it certainly wouldn't be necessary to show that the passerby had a contract with the builder and that the builder had breach the term of the contract to take care of passers-by.
I have a sense that this explanation is a bit lame – but at the moment is the best I can do.

I don't know why, I'm getting a feeling of déjà vu with this question. Have you posted exactly the same story under some other user ID?

Also, you still haven't answered the questions as to the story so you really are asking us to give advice in a vacuum.


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Posted (edited)
29 minutes ago, BankFodder said:



I don't know why, I'm getting a feeling of déjà vu with this question. Have you posted exactly the same story under some other user ID?

 

 

So did I! Especially the reference to JCT contracts. After a bit of digging though it was this thread I was thinking of, which is about something different (although coincidentally the same insurer's policy wording!)

 

 

Without knowing in detail what the damage to your property was and how it arose I'm not sure I can add much more. Sedgwick, the Loss Adjusters acting for the insurer QBE, seem to be taking the position that the policy covers accidental damage the plumber caused to your own property but not for the costs of rectifying the faulty workmanship. Obviously I don't know what happened, what's damaged, what the plumber was doing, or what contract you had with the plumber so impossible to say whether that is correct. But on the face of it their position isn't obviously wrong or untenable. 

 

Debating whether the plumber was in breach of a statutory duty is  pointless waste of time. Even if they were, breach of statutory duty is only covered by the policy to the extent the plumber was being prosecuted in court for a breach of statutory duty (ie the breach was a criminal offence). Then the policy would pay the plumber's legal fees to defend him in court. That's all. Nothing else. It wouldn't help you at all (as the plumber isn't being prosecuted)

 

 

 

 

Edited by Ethel Street
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Breach of Statutory duty, if it does not have remedy stated within the statute itself, can be actionable as a common law tort, generally negligence. As with all civil action there must be provable damage.

 

There is quite a lot of info on the web.

 

https://lawaspect.com/breach-of-statutory-duty--tort-law/#


DO NOT PAY UPFRONT FEES TO COLD CALLERS PROMISING TO WRITE OFF YOUR DEBTS

DO NOT PAY UPFRONT FEES FOR COSTLY TELEPHONE CONSULTATIONS WITH SO CALLED "EXPERTS" THEY INVARIABLY ARE NOTHING OF THE SORT

BEWARE OF QUICK FIX DEBT SOLUTIONS, IF IT LOOKS LIKE IT IS TO GOOD TO BE TRUE IT INVARIABLY IS

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Oops .

 

Sorry BH, . Its the same over here. There are many breaches of statutory duties over on Bailiffs, and it is the case. The yanks pinched much of our common law.

 

English version here, but as I say there is much. A word of warning though , there must be provable damages, in one case the judge found for the claimant and awarded nothing, not even costs. Also the action must be made by the person or the group of persons the legislation was designed to protect. 

 

Breach of Statutory Duty Lecture - Law Teacher

https://www.lawteacher.net/lecture-notes/statutory-duties-lecture.php

The careless performance of a statutory duty will not give rise to a cause of action unless there exists a right of action for breach of statutory duty simpliciter or a common law duty of care in negligence (X (minors) v Bedfordshire CC [1995] 3 All ER 353).


DO NOT PAY UPFRONT FEES TO COLD CALLERS PROMISING TO WRITE OFF YOUR DEBTS

DO NOT PAY UPFRONT FEES FOR COSTLY TELEPHONE CONSULTATIONS WITH SO CALLED "EXPERTS" THEY INVARIABLY ARE NOTHING OF THE SORT

BEWARE OF QUICK FIX DEBT SOLUTIONS, IF IT LOOKS LIKE IT IS TO GOOD TO BE TRUE IT INVARIABLY IS

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Baliffs and plumbers are not comparable. Baliffs carry out public law functions and so have statutory duties, plumbers do not.

 

But even if plumbers do have (so far unidentified) statutory duties relevant to this case it wouldn't help OP in the slightest. OP's plumber is insolvent and his only worthwhile asset appears to be his insurance policy. OP is only going to get compensation or damages if it is covered by the insurance policy. The policy does not pay compensation or damages for breach of statutory duty. So debates about whether the CRA creates statutory duties for plumbers will just take OP up a blind alley.

 

The policy does cover negligence though, but it is unclear whether insurers accept that the plumber was negligent. The difference between OP and the insurer seems to be as much about which property is covered by the policy (the contract works -vs - OP's own surrounding property) as it does about the basis of legal liability. 

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