When we observe the most recent changes one insurance company has made in relation to their claims process, one has to ask the question, are they in breach of the consumer protection code?
The company is a mainstream insurer whom would have a double digit percentage market share of Irish domestic property market.
They have taken the decision that they want to omit loss adjusters from the equation and appoint builders to assess the loss. As a loss assessor who acts on behalf of the public, I note my counterpart’s role within the insurance claim process. They are employed by the insurance company to act in their interests and indeed uphold the regulatory compliance required to remain with the guidelines of the Consumer Protection Code 2012.
The insurance company that has appointed these builders accept that they don’t reach the minimum competency code and advise the unsuspecting policyholders they are there on behalf of the insurance company to inspect the property aspect only. Meanwhile back in the insurance companies office, one does wonder if they are informing the unsuspecting policyholder of their rights wherein they can appoint their own loss assessor to act on their behalf.
I currently have a number of insurance claims on with this particular insurance company and noting at the time of writing they are still persistent that they wish to appoint their own contractors rather than a cash settlement offer. Despite the fact that all my clients have requested to exercise the terms and conditions to which this is permissible this particular insurance company has not to date conceded on this issue.
Their pernicious insistence to continue in this way wherein they deny consumers of their basic rights to appoint their own contractors, not only defies the consumer protection code but it also questions the basic rights of Trespass.
So why does this insurance company want to appoint builders rather than cash settlements?
Well it certainly isn’t for the claimants benefit, they remove the cost of their own expert the loss adjuster. They also get to piecemeal a scope of works, a classic example of this was a kitchen fire I have currently worked on with this company. The total measurement of the kitchen equalled 6.5 meters, the builders acting on behalf of the insurance company suggested that only the wall units were damaged therefore they should only pay for three meters of wall units and complete a “deep clean” for the rest of the units. The units were over 10 years old and it was evident they couldn’t be replaced on a “like-for-like” basis, therefore they actually had the gall to suggest that the wall units be one colour and the base units be another, essentially leaving a previously respectable looking kitchen looking like a leaving certificate project when they had completed their works.
What causes very real and genuine concerns is due to the fact that this particular company sells their products via well-known Irish brands which would be highly populated by people over 50 years of age, it essentially means that they are behaving like vultures on the vulnerable in society.
When we access the reasons why personal injury claims were never benchmarked against the UK was that there would have been national uproar, similarly, this type of method of settling claims is not common practice within this jurisdiction due to the relevant consumer acts we currently have in place.
If an insurance company wishes to appoint a building company to benchmark pricing they too must make consumers aware of their rights and indeed abide within the terms and conditions of the policy to which they sold.
Expert Loss Assessors available to provide independent advice nationwide covering fire, water damage, residential, commercial, personal injury, oil, agriculture, marine and health / life insurance claims. Call 01 5135162.