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Escape of Water/Flood – Dublin

Case Study 3

The Insured was an immunocompromised woman living by herself. As a result of localised flooding – following heavy rainfall – the sewage system to the property surcharged flooding the whole of the ground floor with foul, dirty water.

The representative of the Insurer formed the opinion that the damage could be resolved simply by drying out the property and cleaning the damaged contents items, e.g. carpets, sofas.

Owens McCarthy strenuously disagreed with this suggested scope of repairs. Mindful of our client’s health status, we were cognisant of the fact that the flood event would have introduced many different waterborne bacteria and viruses to the fabric of the premises.

During our detailed negotiations with the loss adjusters, we were able to persuade the Insurer that the premises would require significant physical remediation works, alongside a tracked drying out process which was accompanied by certified sterilisation of the building. We were also successful in proving that the damaged contents items would need to be replaced, not cleaned, and that our policyholder would need to avail of alternative accommodation until the works programme was completed.

Lesson Learned:

Difference of opinion are not uncommon, and negotiations must always be framed in the context of compromise. Nevertheless, there were several aspects of this claim where it was impossible to compromise with the Insurer, in order that our client be fully protected. Policyholders should take it for granted that an Insurer will try to tell them that something is okay when in reality it is not. Insurance claim negotiation is a specialism that demands experience and knowledge to prevent an Insurer from taking ‘short cuts’.