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Escape of Oil – Munster

Case Study 4

The Insured family had noticed a pronounced smell of oil within their kitchen and quickly discovered that their plastic oil tank had cracked, allowing almost 200 litres of home heating oil to leak out.

The resultant plume of oil spread out underneath the house. The Policyholders reported the matter to their Insurer who appointed a loss adjuster and oil remediation specialist. However, the ‘investigation phase’ of the claim was fraught with delays. In their frustration, the Insured turned to Owens McCarthy. Following our own inspection, we were shocked at the level of contamination and annoyed that the Insurers had not made arrangements to move this family into temporary accommodation. Our clients’ health had clearly suffered as a result, the oil vapours seemingly causing migraine type headaches and respiratory difficulties

We moved quickly to appoint our own Oil Remediation Consultants, who carried out their own preliminary site investigations the following day. Their immediate analysis was that the level of contamination rendered the premises unfit for human occupation. On that basis, we extracted an immediate payment from the Insurer towards the cost of securing local rental accommodation. It was important to the clients that they could rent a property that was as close to the local national school as their own home, as they did not own a car and their children cycled to school. Although this resulted in measurably higher costs, we successfully negotiated this uplift on their behalf.

Subsequently, further site investigations proved that the damage was widespread, and we negotiated an extensive scope of remedial repairs, and the appropriate costs, with the Insurer.
Lesson Learned: An Insurer may not appreciate that the loss event has created an intolerable situation for their clients.

Urgency is the key and we are skilled at presenting these narratives to the Insurer and their Loss Adjusters, arguing for a prompt or immediate response and forcing the Insurer into a making a decision that they would otherwise take months to make.