Smashing lady is actually a criminal

Posted by 4 May, 2013 (0) Comment

Geoff calls me to ask if I can help him with protection for a large amount of jewellery he has just bought his wife and we always help our business insurance customers when they need help with their personal asset protection. While working out the particulars Geoff asks me if I have time to hear a short, but interesting story. Geoff is an entertaining guy, and I’m always happy to hear what’s been going on in his world.  He starts regaling me with a tale from a friend of his, who had been at home when he heard a loud bang, and his wife started shouting for him. He sped downstairs and was confronted with the sight of his front garden wall – newly decorated with a BMW.

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Who Done It?


A lady who looked physically shaken, was standing in his front garden, saying “a guy crashed his car into mine, knocked me into your wall and then disappeared.” Over a cup of tea she explained how she had been driving down the road, when she had been shunted from behind, left the road, hit the curb, and landed on top of his wall, rather than driving through it. There was no real evidence of damage to her vehicle, so it looked plausible.

The police were called and statements were taken. The lady drove off, regrettably she didn’t know the identity of the perpetrator who had crashed into her.  She didn’t know the make of the car or the registration number, because it had happened so quickly.

She did it!


Some time later a neighbour stopped by to ask what was happening with the demolished wall was told the tale of the lady being shunted into the curb and over the wall. At this point his neighbour informed him that his CCTV told a completely different story.

As Geoff’s friend watched the CCTV footage, he couldn’t believe his eyes. The lady’s BMW was spotted travelling down the opposite side of the road that she’d said, and suddenly left the road as her head disappeared from view behind the windscreen. Her car then clipped the curb and demolished his wall.

Fraud, lies and videotape


He could not believe what a performance this lady had put on, both for himself, his wife, and also for the police. He was incandescent by the time he had reached the end of the video footage, asked for a copy, stormed down the police station, demanded that the lady be arrested for fraud. Regrettably nobody had kept her details. Fortunately the CCTV recording had the registration plate number. The police are unlikely to investigate the lady for fraud, as they feel the insurance company would deal with the claim. Yet it is an offence to damage property whilst driving and not report it to the Police – check the highway code.

Is this gentleman incandescent enough to launch a private prosecution – probably not! Has he learned his lesson that what is often perceived may not be the case – yet this is what typically happens when anything goes wrong. I told my friends about this scenario and we all agreed it’s rare for people to take responsibility when things go wrong, sometimes because of the financial penalty. Most people don’t plumb the depths this lady did yet they do think their insurance premium will go up if they make a claim – which is untrue because not all insurances have a “no claim bonus”.

Wrap up:  A lot of businesses relationships with their suppliers go sour when it’s found they don’t provide the service they said they would and use their T&C’s to avoid paying a penalty. Let’s face it, some suppliers best performance is in the tender process.

Top tip: Follow me on Twitter to be the first to hear real evidence of the Police crackdown on whiplash claims. It will happen because the Government has realised that it’s caught up in insurance company unwillingness to drive change. This happened in the1990’s when the Police were swamped with claims for car stereos. The Government forced car manufacturers to improve security.

Share this: With anyone who complains about their insurance premium increasing. If it’s car insurance they’re complaining about, we don’t do it because it’s such a mess thanks to direct insurers and their unwillingness to detect fraud. Yet we do have this nifty tool that helps everyone reduce their premium.

Categories : Accountants Insurance,After The Event,All Risks Insurance,Building Contractor,Business Insurance,Company Insurance,Contractors Insurance,Customer Service,General Requirements,Health & Safety,Legal expenses insurance,Liability Insurance,Litigation expenses insurance,Personal Insurance,Solicitors indemnity,Solicitors insurance,Trade,Uncategorized Tags : , , , , , , , , ,

What the hell was that? Homeowners escape collapse

Posted by 31 May, 2012 (0) Comment

Last week saw the collapse of a roof that hit the front page of the Evening Standard. This posts advises why it’s highly unlikely that the home owner’s insurance company will cover the cost. Read on to find out how it happens, who picks up the tab and why legal action is often the end result.

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How does a roof just collapse?


Collapsed RoofIt’s been said that the accident is due to some form of faulty workmanship, crap materials or just old age. However, it’s often difficult to tell when faced with a pile of rubble.

It is highly unlikely that the home owner’s insurance company will cover the cost. Most policies exclude such damage, especially when they are being renovated.

So, who covers the cost?


So who pays for this? It’s difficult to say and I think it will most likely end up in the courts. I doubt anyone will want to take responsibility, yet the blame could be a aimed at a contractor, architect, surveyor or even the homeowner. Especially if the appropriate planning permissions were not obtained.

If nobody takes responsibility the owners of neighbouring properties damaged may find themselves uninsured. They’ll probably lay the blame (and cost) at the door of the “guilty” property. It happens from time to time.


Last resort, take action? Only if you know who to sue!


There is a form of protection that covers works and damage caused after they have been finalised. High quality architects and responsible builders recommend or invest in. It protects neighbours’ properties too.

However, I’ve lost count of the number of people that say they’ll sue someone else if things go wrong, rather than protect themselves. As if they have the money to do that. Do they realise just how much it costs to work out who is responsible for a pile of rubble?


Wrap up: Property renovations are a shrewd investment when the cost of labour and materials are so low. The opportunity to increase the value of assets can and should be balanced against the risk of a project going wrong.

Top Tip: Inspect insurance protection of those you allow into your property to complete repairs or maintenance. If they’re not protected, you might not be. Always be careful to survey a property owned by a “DIY Del” before making an offer. Click here for free Property Owners download.

Share this with: property owners, architects, surveyors, contractors, engineers and anyone else who gets involved in property improvements.

Categories : Accountants Insurance,After The Event,All Risks Insurance,Building Contractor,Business Insurance,Company Insurance,Contractors Insurance,Customer Service,General Requirements,Health & Safety,Legal expenses insurance,Liability Insurance,Litigation expenses insurance,Personal Insurance,Solicitors indemnity,Solicitors insurance,Trade,Uncategorized Tags : , , , , , , , , ,

Business owner deflated by sinister claims tactics – part II

Posted by 27 March, 2012 (0) Comment

This is the second part of a two part blog about another dirty little secret of insurance. The attempted application of this one even shocked me, and I’ve had 21 years experience of exposing their secrets. You can read part one here.

Read on to find out how this scenario unfolded, how the secret affects both businesses and families, and what you can do to avoid being kept in the dark.

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Bicycle Theft Leads To Flat Service – Part 2

Having carefully selected the appropriate policy for a client whose family relied heavily on their bikes, it was a big headache when an excessive deduction was presented by the insurer, when our client’s bikes were stolen. This large deduction was not in the policy wording, which is of course a contract between insurer and their policyholder. Rather been dealing with the claim validators, we went straight to the management of the insurance company claims department. We know where they hide (whoops, I mean hang out!).

Case Study of one of our clientsThe claims department agreed that the deduction was not in the policy wording and fair wear and tear would be 20 percent. New bikes were ordered and a long argument avoided

The bicycle suppliers were instructed to send the new bikes directly to the client who was happy that he didn’t have to fork out an unreasonable amount to put himself back to where he was before the theft occurred.

Making sure that people are not financially affected by the unexpected is the main priority for us. Keeping inconvenience to a minimum is an important part of our service.

Deductions are plain wrong as they mean claimants do not get the return they were promised when they were prudent and invested in insurance. Avoiding reduced settlements is not easy, as it seems that staff in insurance claims departments are trained to make claimants feel uneasy.

Free Insurance Healthcheck

Cynics might say that insurance companies purposely make it uncomfortable for people trying to get their valid claims settled. By making them stick to the letter of their own contract these hurdles can be overcome.

An amicable discussion about fact and contract is the way forward.


I personally have 20+ years of experience in dealing with claims department and actually help them stick to their procedures whilst getting claims settled. I also agree with the use of new technology, including lie detecting to sniff out fraudulent claims. If you have nothing to hide, it’s fine.

Wrap up: Thousands of business owners are still waiting for their damage and lost profit claims to be settled following the London riots last year. It is prudent to assess if there are risks to your way of working because of the actions of others.

Top Tip: If you have already been given a bike by your employer or company under the bike to work scheme make sure adequate cover is in place. When it comes to finding a replacement the bike should have been insured by the company or the rider. If a road accident is caused by a cyclist’s wobble who pays for the resultant damage and injuries?

Who to share this with: Business owners or bicycle users.


Categories : All Risks Insurance,Business Insurance,Company Insurance,Customer Service,Liability Insurance,Litigation expenses insurance,Personal Insurance Tags : , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Professional Indemnity Insurance – Discover how to avoid losses

Posted by 25 January, 2010 (0) Comment

Professional advisers are not always protected by their insurance


Want to know why some indemnity insurance claims are declined? I have two examples of claims being declined, one more extreme than the other, yet both prove small errors can prove costly. And I’m going to tell you why they were declined and how to avoid it happening.

The first is the most recent, only a few months ago an insurance company refused to cover a claim for a company that was being sued for £47,000. The claim related to an incident that occurred in July 2005 when they had translated a document (allegedly incorrectly) yet it would have been covered if the insurance company had been made aware of it earlier. Read the rest of this entry

Categories : Accountants Insurance,Business Insurance,Company Insurance,Customer Service,General Requirements Tags : , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Want to secure cashflow despite bad luck?

Posted by 5 October, 2009 (0) Comment


Fire risk assessments are not exactly high on the list of priorities for everyone. Some small businesses might think fire evacuation procedures are not important. So spare a thought for the business owner in Scotland who didn’t think a fire would ever affect his organisation.

The business was unlucky enough to suffer a fire and they didn’t have an evacuation procedure, they probably couldn’t find the time to do it – especially as there 101 other things to do every week to keep the business afloat.


The fire brigade arrived yet the absence of an evacuation procedure (which should be tried and tested) meant that no-one at the premises could tell the brigade if anyone was left in the building. Read the rest of this entry

Categories : All Risks Insurance,Business Insurance,Company Insurance,Contractors Insurance,General Requirements,Health & Safety Tags : , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Customer Service – Where did it all go wrong?

Posted by 1 September, 2009 (0) Comment


I recently read an article in a newsletter from marketing expert Dave Croydon, Hilltop Consultancy. David was voicing his concern that automated telephone systems were of little benefit to customers, going as far as to call them a “customer disservice”.

The article mentioned that we wouldn’t accept it from the emergency services yet we’re already having to. My Mum broke her ankle last year and called me. Being made of stronger stuff than some of the celebrity icons of today, Mum didn’t want to bother the Ambulance service until she was sure it was broken. It was and I dialed the famous three digits, something we all dread.

How annoying to be put on hold by an automated system that informed me I was in a queue, at 9am on a Thursday morning.  I was very, very Read the rest of this entry

Categories : Customer Service Tags : , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,