Our client had accumulated a small number of tasteful jewellery pieces over the years. These were, exclusively, gifts from her late husband.
The Insured’s home was broken into whilst she was visiting her daughter in the United Kingdom. The theft was discovered by the client upon her return. It was plain for us to see how upsetting the incident was for the client. Quite apart from the sense of violation and loss, the jewellery pieces had enormous sentimental value and the theft had triggered a grief response.
Following an inspection by the loss adjuster, the Insurer moved to deny the claim on the basis that the Insured had failed to set her house alarm when she had left her home.
This turn of events was somewhat bizarre. Owens McCarthy tracked down the Insured’s original proposal form, from which we could see that the client had never told the Insurer that she had an alarm installed. We were adamant that she was not in breach of any policy condition which might have flowed from such a representation.
The Insurers accepted our analysis and admitted the claim. However, their adjusters then issued settlement proposals that vastly undervalued the loss, stating that, as the Insured did not have any receipts for the items, they were only prepared to offer minimum amounts.
Owens McCarthy argued successfully that it was not appropriate for an Insurer to expect the Insured to have receipts when: (1) many of the items were decades old and (2) all of them had been purchased by her late husband.
Based upon photographs of the jewellery, which were found being worn by the Insured within the family’s many photo albums, alongside a detailed description of the pieces we were able to secure settlement terms that reflected the replacement cost of each item.
Lesson Learned: Avoiding claims and saving money are two goals that each and every claim department has at the top of their list. We could see that, here, the Insurer wanted to avoid the claim entirely. When we proved to them that the loss was in fact covered, they pivoted towards saving money at all costs. Regulated, professional loss assessors, are trained to protect the Insured’s entitlements and to resolve stressful, traumatic events in the Insureds favour.