A customer-led approach to claims
PUBLISHED: 17:32 27 June 2019 | UPDATED: 17:32 27 June 2019
Naomi Hare, claims manager at DUAL Asset, does some insurance mythbusting with an example of its customer-led approach to claims.
There is something of a widely held misconception that insurers try and avoid paying claims if they can. In reality, helping customers when it matters most is one of the most rewarding parts of my role as claims manager for DUAL Asset. Our pragmatic and commercial approach to dealing with claims is also one of the cornerstones of our business.
A recent example of our customer-led approach to claims was the resolution of a claim relating to the redevelopment of a dilapidated hotel in a coastal town. Our customer's solicitor had identified that their client's student accommodation scheme would potentially breach historic covenants, and obtained a Specific Risk Legal Indemnity policy from DUAL Asset to help manage the risk.
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Following demolition of the hotel, and long after the planning consultation period had closed, our customer was contacted by the agent of a local landed estate claiming the benefit of historic covenants. Encouragingly, the early indication was that the estate was seeking financial settlement of around £600,000 based on their fee 'per unit' in return for releasing the covenants. That meant it was likely we would be able to avoid any litigation putting our customer's construction time-lime at risk.
Working together with the customer's solicitor, we responded to the estate pointing out that for a number of technical reasons the impact of the development on the estate's interests was limited. At the same time, we began negotiations for an amicable resolution of the dispute. The nature of the development required the policyholder to adhere to a strict construction timetable which, if missed, would have resulted in an additional loss of over £750,000.
Our initial settlement offer of £60,000 was refused, however, the estate was swift to reply with a counter-offer of £150,000 plus costs. Although we would usually look to negotiate the figure down, we were happy to reach an early settlement rather than put the construction timeline at risk.
The customer was naturally delighted the claim could be settled so quickly and with no detrimental impact to their construction schedule.