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The following article appeared in The Financial Mail on Sunday 12th December 2010:

Bring in the big hitters for an insurance clash

Frustrated insurance claimants are facing more obstacles and delays in getting their money out of insurers. Two-thirds of brokers say they have had to get tough with insurers on behalf of customers to get claims paid, according to a survey by the British Insurance Brokers' Association.
... 'Insurers are tightening their belts, with stricter interpretations of policy wordings.' Claims assessors, who are paid to fight on the side of policyholders, also say they are having to work harder.
... The climate has got tougher over the past couple of years. 'On claims of £50,000 or more, insurers are taking longer to decide on liability and are more intrusive in their investigations. Now, when a claim arises, we routinely see the insurer go back to the original policy proposal form and scan through it line by line.'
House of horror: Mellissa Djogo's buildings insurance claim was settled for an extra £30,000 after she hired an assessor.
Assessors say they can also speed up settlements. ... 'Your broker can do some of the work in helping you to present your claim, but for the bigger more complex problems, hiring an assessor can be a big help.'
Mellissa Djogo, 33, turned to [a firm of independent loss assessors] after her subsidence claim had dragged on for more than six years. Mellissa had taken on responsibility for the family home after her mother, Vivienne, emigrated to Sydney.
The four-bedroom house in Calcot, near Reading, Berkshire, was built in the early Eighties, but Mellissa started to notice severe cracks in 2003. 'They were growing month by month and I can fit my fingers into some of them,' says Mellissa, a trainee accountant. She contacted her mother's insurer, RSA, which appointed specialist Crawford to monitor the situation. But after three years there was still no action. Then Mellissa was told that the house was underinsured and the payout would not cover the cost of underpinning.
This led to more disputes and delays. Meanwhile, the house was deteriorating. Mellissa, who lives with partner Paul Mengell, says: 'The conservatory is so unstable that it is too dangerous to use in case more glass comes down on you.' Vivienne, who still owned the property, was taken ill with cancer. 'It was horrible having to phone up my mum with the latest news on the claim, knowing that she was so poorly,' says Mellissa. Vivienne died last year, leaving the house to Mellissa and her sister, Caroline, 36, who lives near Sydney. Eventually, solicitors suggested that the sisters should contact [a firm of independent loss assessors]. Within just four months the company was able to negotiate a settlement that was almost £30,000 more than RSA had originally offered.
The deal gives the sisters enough cash to demolish the house and rebuild it. Mellissa says: 'We can move on now. I only wish we'd known sooner that there are experts who can help you.'
Financial Mail on Sunday 12th December 2010

Types Of Insurance Claim Covered

Fire Damage
Flood & Water Damage
Storm Damage
Burst Pipes & Drains

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Scott & Associates are specialist loss assessors in all aspects of insurance claims management and can assist in the preparation and presentation of all domestic and commercial insurance claims resulting from fire, flood, storm, water damage, burglary, impact damage, subsidence or blocked drains. Need advice? Call our team of loss assessors to discuss your insurance claim today on:

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