Sometimes, despite a business’s minimal risk and shallow claims history, one freak event can throw it all asunder. One unforeseen incident can cause the simplest insurance programme to come unstuck if not handled correctly.
This case study demonstrates the importance of working with a dedicated insurance broker with technical claims expertise. This client was very low-risk with a track record of very few claims, and yet, their previous broker was unable to successfully handle a major incident. This demonstrates the importance of working with a broker with technical claims expertise, regardless of the business’s size of perceived risk.
This case study involves a picturesque Cornish harbour. The harbour was founded in the 18th century and is noted as a UNESCO world heritage site. The port has evolved, now a bustling tourist destination, hosting TV shows such as Poldark, Taboo and BAIT, as well as home to a number of historic vessels.
In February 2021, Storm Darcy hit the south coast of the UK, causing incalculable damage to seafront property along the coast. During the storms, the outer harbour wall was completely destroyed, and the inner harbour gate sustained significant damage, preventing the harbour from holding its water.
This meant that the inner harbour was at the full mercy of the elements, as well as seeing it’s water slowly draining out into the see, putting the vessels harboured there at risk of grounding on the harbour floor. All of this posed a huge potential threat to the boats harboured there, as well as the future of the harbour itself.
Upon registering the claim, it turns out the client’s previous broker (who was still in control at this point) hadn’t properly assessed the risk, and the outer harbour wall was not insured. This meant the bill for repairs fell at the feet of the harbour’s owners.
With repair costs reaching over £500,000, the funds required to undertake repairs to the wall all but wiped out the harbours cash reserves, leaving them in a perilous position.
Furthermore, whilst the client’s insurer had accepted a claim of around £300,000 to repair the harbour gate, they were refusing to release the funds until a full repair plan had been submitted. Unfortunately, because of the complexities of the repairs, there would need to be significant up-front payment for exploratory and planning work to get a final repair plan. Yet, there was no money left after repairing the outer harbour wall.
In addition, the harbour were also racking up pumping costs required to constantly pump water back into the harbour to prevent the historic vessels running aground on the harbour flooring and causing even more damage.
This put the client at an impasse. They couldn’t afford to finalise plans for the repairs, and the insurer wouldn’t pay out until the plans were complete. It was a stalemate that threatened the survival of the harbour.
This is the stage at which Romero stepped in.
The client reached out to Romero seeking help with the claim whilst it was in progress. They transferred their agency to us after recognising the technical expertise we had in our arsenal. This allowed us to pick up the handling of their claim so we could represent on their behalf.
Our claims director and technical claims manager swiftly stepped in and started reviewing the claim, pinpointing where we could help, and picking up the gauntlet to the client’s insurer, and the loss adjustor appointed to manage the claim.
Our technical expertise allowed us to mount persistent, well based challenges to the insurer, which meant things started moving again in a positive direction for the client.
After our hard work, our claims experts were able to alter the insurers decision, securing a full £300,000 payout up front, allowing the harbour to invest in repair planning and subsequently carry out the repairs. In addition, we also secured an additional £100,000 payment to cover the costs of pumping water into the harbour whilst repairs were carried out.
The impact for our client can’t be overstated. Without Romero Insurance Brokers stepping in and battling the insurer on their behalf, the impasse would have continued until the harbour became financially unsavable.
Our hard work has meant the client is now, once again, the thriving harbour town it was before the damage, with a bright future ahead.
Despite this big business being relatively low risk with a good claims track record, it shows the unexpected can still happen, and things can turn bad very quickly.
Having an expert broker with in-house technical claims knowledge is essential at every stage of the process. We will work to ensure your business is fully covered before disaster strikes, and we will effectively negotiate complex claims on your behalf. Doing what other brokers can’t is our specialty, and we pride ourselves on our technical ability and our client satisfaction.