Whose responsibility to chase up insurance claim

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    Whose responsibility to chase up insurance claim

    In November 2019, during a storm, some ridge tiles blew off our roof. A roofing company came and fixed them and sent an invoice for £340. This then appeared on our service charges some time later. We said this was wrong and the money should come from the insurers. However, the insurance is arranged by the freeholder. I've asked him to make a claim but he hasn't got round to it.

    This week I asked the managing agent to chase it up but he replied that it is 'not his remit'. Can he say that? If he isn't going to chase it up then whose responsibility is it?

    #2
    I think it's unlikely that claiming off the insurance for £340 would be a good idea. There may well be an excess which could be as much as £500. There is also the question of whether the roof has been properly maintained, and whether the severity of the storm would result in displacing ridge tiles.

    Comment


      #3
      There was no excess. There was a storm at that time. Back in January I contacted the insurer and it was all agreed but I was not the policy holder. It needs to be claimed for by the freeholder. The managing agent put this £340 on our service charges and we want it back. Now he says it is not in his remit, well maybe it isn't but surely he should be the one chasing it up for us.

      Or is it the residents' responsibility to do it?

      Comment


        #4
        The leaseholders have an interest in the policy and most insurers will accept claims directly from them. So if fhe freeholder or its agent fails to make a claim, you can apply directly to the insurer.

        Comment


          #5
          I did that and they said I wasn't the policy holder.

          Comment


            #6
            You do not need to be the policyholder, your interest is greater than the freeholder's. You should insist that the interests of leaseholders and mortgagees are recorded on the policy.

            I suggest that you make a claim. If the insurer rejects it on the grounds that the freeholder has not made it, ask the freeholder to endorse the claim. You should keep a record of the claim and all correspondence.

            If the only reason for rejection is that the freeholder has not made the claim, you are entitled to withhold payment of your share of the £340 service charge,

            Comment


              #7
              I dont agree. Insurance is meant to cover catastrophe. Proposer may have agreed a franchise of £500 which means that there will be no claims of less than £500, as opposed to a a policy excess, for which £250 would today be normal. I wouldnt make a claim for such a relatively small amount, it will come back in hgher rating in the future. I do not agree that the leaseholder has the right to withold service charges as suggested by Eagle 2.

              Comment


                #8
                As above, it is extremely unlikely that there is zero excess and if you did claim £340 then your premium will go up £170 next year and never come down. Move on and never ever put in an insurance claim for much less than £5k.
                It's for major perils not maintenance.

                Comment


                  #9
                  I welcome a different point of view.

                  Storm damage is a normal risk which should be covered by the buildings insurance policy and it appears to have been confirmed by the insurer at #3.

                  If the freeholder does not intend to make relatively small claims, he has arranged the wrong type of policy, he should have arranged one with an excess at a lower premium. I don't subscribe to the view that small claims should not be made, it defeats the purpose of a policy. If the terms are changed or the premium is increased, the freeholder can shop around for a different insurer.

                  You can argue that the charge of £340 should not have been included within the service charge expenditure, the freeholder appears to have been able and had a duty to take steps to recover that cost.

                  Whether or not it is worth arguing about your share of £340 is a different matter, but I would certainly note the point especially if there is other
                  expenditure which is challenged.



                  Comment


                    #10
                    Please, there was no excess at all at the time of the storm. I will go back to the insurer and talk to him. We pay over £6K a year for this policy for 18 flats. The £340 was paid by 9 flats.

                    My original question was about whose responsibility is it for chasing it up with the freeholder. The managing agent says it is not his.

                    Comment


                      #11
                      The agent will only act as instructed by the freeholder, who has overall responsibility for making or authorising claims.

                      If you are going back to the insurer, you may wish to enquire how much commission the freeholder receives from placing the insurance.

                      Comment


                        #12
                        Yes, that's a good point. If we go down the RTM route, he will still be able to arrange the insurance. I still think that the managing agent should try to get the freeholder to come up with the insurance money. It shouldn't be our responsibility. However, I will contact the insurer again tomorrow and let you know how I get on.

                        Comment


                          #13
                          No, if you form an RTM Company, you will be able to arrange the insurance and takeover any other management duties of the freeholder. You need 8 others to agree with you in order to proceed. The value of the freehold would then reduce and you would be able to purchase it for less than the current value if you are interested.

                          I agree that the agent should be explaining to the freeholder how to act but you are unlikely to be informed of those discussions.

                          Good luck with the insurer and yes, please let us know how you get on.

                          Comment


                            #14
                            eagle2,

                            Yes in general terms, storm damage is a covered risk but it's an unarguable fact that insurers cannot payout more than they receive in premiums or they would not be in business, this is especially true for block policies that these days have to pay their way.
                            So basically, if you make a claim it will be recovered later in premiums so only a way of spreading the cost.
                            Unfortunately it is no longer easy to shop around as many insurers won't take on this type of new business.
                            If the OP goes RTM route they ought to be able to insure themselves but my advice would still be don't claim if you can avoid it, and certainly not for £340.

                            Comment


                              #15
                              One of the disadvantages of changes in insurer on block policy is that if subsidence presents, a new insurer will be apt to say the loss started prior to them becoming the insurer, which muddies the water, tehrefore the best course of action is to let a broker offer the risk around in which case the holding insurer will normally match the best offer that exists. Other insurers will sometimes give a low offere subject to survey to take on the risk and then tighten things up/introduce exclusions once they are able to see unsatisfactory elements of the insured premises especially over flat roofs for some reason.

                              Comment

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