Home insurance is a minefield, full of caveats and clauses of how you are or are not covered.
However, you DO expect your insurance company and their representatives to work within UK Regulations and to a professional Code of Conduct to help people who have found themselves in a stressful situation. You expect claims to be conducted in a timely and professional manner, but at times this just does not happen.
If you are a homeowner going through an insurance claim, this article may help you ascertain whether you are receiving the right or wrong information from your insurer or their appointed Loss Adjuster/Surveyor.
Here is her story:
You would have thought a simple claim for water damage made in August 2016 should have been settled quite quickly. Sometimes this just isn’t the case!
The insurer sent a Loss Adjuster (a member of CILA (Chartered Institute of Loss Adjusters)) from another well-known company within the insurance industry. The Loss Adjuster did not have basic building knowledge which is absolutely paramount to be a member of this organisation and she said she “would accept a figure to settle the claim but not to go in lumpy“. The Loss Adjuster then sent me a schedule of works to outline the repair of a concrete kitchen floor when it was, in fact, a suspended kitchen floor. The Loss Adjuster also advised in the report that a kitchen unit (that had been water damaged) should be rebuilt like for like by a carpenter with the original gas hob, electric oven and sink put back in the same positions within the unit.
However, the kitchen unit, as I found out at a later date, fails current UK Regulations.
You would have thought the Loss Adjuster would have known that?
I complained to my insurer requesting that they send another Loss Adjuster and a “Registered Surveyor” to assess the damage. A surveyor is authorised to use the title “Surveyor” if he or she is a member of RICS (Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors).
The insurer then sent a LESS experienced Loss Adjuster who was NOT a member of CILA and a Registered Surveyor who was NOT a Registered Surveyor or a member of RICS. The “Surveyor” they sent was, in fact, a member of CIOB (The Chartered Institute of Building) who is NOT authorised to use the title “Registered Surveyor” and does NOT have the relevant qualifications for this position.
If you are MCIOB or FCIOB registered you can use Chartered Construction Manager or Chartered Builder, however not together, for the life of your Chartered membership. You cannot use the title, Registered Surveyor.
The kick of it came when the person posing as a Registered Surveyor advised me that there could be a problem with the kitchen unit that could potentially fail UK Regulations which would mean it could not be re-fitted as the first Loss Adjuster advised!
The “Surveyor” then advised me in writing that the kitchen unit “should be ok” to be refitted.
I then checked the current UK Regulations of the kitchen unit with the well-known company that it was purchased from by the previous owner of my home in 2002.
The kitchen unit company said, “the product would not meet the regulations as introduced in 2012 and amended in 2014.“
The insurer said:
“I’m sorry that you are unhappy with the qualifications of the specialists who have attended your home on our behalf. We are satisfied, however, that they are sufficiently experienced to assess claims and the resultant damage on our behalf.“
I could not believe it.
I complained again to my insurer and escalated the complaint about the Loss Adjuster to CILA. I raised a complaint about the person claiming to be a Registered Surveyor but was really a Construction Manager to CIOB and the Financial Ombudsman Service. I have heard back from CILA but the MCIOB has not even acknowledged my complaint which concerns me greatly.
In the meantime, I have no kitchen ceiling light and a very damp house!
The claim was finally settled two years later.