Home Insurance Claims

Getting divorced and moving house are supposed to be the most stressful things in life but there’s another… Having Carillion Property Services sort out repairs to your home under an insurance claim. They turned what would’ve been a simple, straight forward job into 11 weeks of a complete nightmare. Some quick background… I lived in a block of 8 flats that was insured under 1 policy arranged by Lampier. The escape of water from my bath damaged the floor in my bathroom, the adjoining bedroom and caused some damage to the decoration of the flat underneath.

Logging the claim with Norwich Union was easy. It took about 5 minutes from start to finish. I got the claim number, the name of a contact and their telephone number if I had any problems. I was told Carillion would be in touch to organise doing the repairs. I also had their phone number if I had any queries. I explained I was going abroad the following week but that shouldn’t stop anyone getting in touch. I was assured it wouldn’t and I could expect a phone call from Carillion while I was away. I was fairly relaxed about it at this point. Stuff like this happens in life and there’s really no point in getting all upset about it.

I never did get that phone call from Carillion and when I phoned them 10 days later, they didn’t know a thing about the claim. The fax from Norwich Union had “…gone missing”. I gave them the details I had from Norwich Union and was told they’d look into it.

Being a bit clueless turned out to be 1 of Carillion’s main themes throughout the whole episode. I would tell them something 1 day but the next time I called, they’d quote a completely different version of the information to me. At 1 stage, I spent about 20 minutes with 1 guy going through the case notes, sorting them out. Of course, it was the “…computer system’s fault.” There’s 2 possibilities here :-

  1. it’s not fit for purpose so get rid ; or
  2. if you put garbage in, you’ll get garbage out.

In-action was another main theme. I called them so many times, trying to get progress but nothing had been done since I last called. They promised to call me back but that never happened within any reasonable time. Generally, the excuses were missing paperwork or having to follow procedure. At one point, a fax hadn’t arrived so they couldn’t make an appointment for a surveyor to come out but they hadn’t done anything to chase it up even though I had told them to expect it.

ChemDry and Simpsons The Builders were the do-ers appointed by Carillion. Their website boasted “a substantial field repair force of directly employed operatives”. Rubbish! They’re agents and not very effective ones. ChemDry and Simpsons were brilliant throughout. They were working within someone else’s rules and again the information they’d been give was very poor. On their 1st appointments, they didn’t really know what kind of job they were turning up to but they did make up for it with their professionalism.

On several occasions, when I complained to Carillion, their ambivalence was the thing that stood out most. Caring just doesn’t seem to be in their nature. Norwich Union didn’t seem to be much use in this area either. Their excuse was that they’d given Carillion carte blanche to get the claim sorted and the only thing they really wanted to know about was the final invoice for the work. Norwich Union use 2 marketing tag lines :-

  1. quote me happy ; &
  2. you’ll be happy with Norwich Union.

You might be happy with the quote but there’s no guarantee about any of the other stuff.

UPDATE – Oct. 20th, 2006 :- The work was finally completed over 12 weeks after the claim was logged. I wrote to our insurance broker asking to be reimbursed for expenses caused by the extended period of time taken to resolve the claim and this was reviewed.

UPDATE – Nov. 20th, 2006 :- Over GBP600 was paid out in compensation and the matter is now settled.

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