Fire destroys factory but claim destroys business

A Loss Assessor is a professional who is engaged in the preparation, negotiation and settlement of insurance and other claims on behalf of commercial and private policy holders. However, the general public may not always understand the benefits of availing of a loss assessor. They may feel that they can go it alone and that the insurance company will honour their policy. Some insurance companies prey on the ignorance and trust of their clients, leaving them fighting tooth and nail before settling their claim. The insurance company will aim to pay out as little as they can, within reason. The Loss assessor’s job is to work with the client to establish what exactly they can claim for and to prepare and manage the claim in a professional way with the insurance company, generally ensuring a speedier and higher value payout.

I would like to take you through a case study to demonstrate the importance of having a loss assessor working for you. At the end you will find out how Cleary Loss Assessors helped the policy holder secure an additional €100,000 settlement on their claim. At the outset they were faced with a fire damaged building and an insurance company who were seeking to find a way to reduce the compensation. This story begins on Tuesday August 19th 2008 when a fire damaged the business of a high end kitchen manufacturer. The premises comprised of 10,000 square feet which contained a workshop, offices and showroom.

On Thursday 21st of August, two days after the fire, Sean Cleary (a loss assessor) contacted the owner to discuss working with him on the fire damage claim. The owner was adamant that he did not wish to hire a loss assessor. He expressed clearly that he was completely satisfied that his insurance company, Quinn Direct who he felt were working effectively on his claim.

During the next six months the policy holder provided his insurance company with unlimited access to his staff, his accounts and his business. The insurance company took a statement from each staff member, studied all the accounts and made a thorough assessment of the damaged property. Following this extensive investigation they continued to delay making an offer to the client. The policy holder finally realised that his insurance company was not working in his best interest. He contacted Séan Cleary and hired him to work on his claim.

On visiting the premises Mr. Cleary was shocked to note that no repairs had been carried out on the property during the six months since his last visit. The showroom was out of commission and the owner could only service existing customers. There was no place to showcase the kitchens or meet with new customers. The workshop was working to limited capacity. The building was smoke damaged, the roof was leaking and only half of the machines were working.

Further investigation by Clearys highlighted the fact that the insurance policy did not cover business interruption and thus the insurance company had no incentive to fast track the claim. Once the loss assessor was hired a team of professionals began working on behalf of the policy holder.  Clearys team of Quantity Surveyors assessed the value of the loss and help to get full entitlement from the insurance company.  Our machine expert was brought in to assess the damage to the machines in the workshop and a stock analysis calculated the loss of stock.

Quinn Direct had involved 4-6 people in the case.  So far nobody had the authority to settle the claim.

Clearys quickly began to turn things around. They analysed all aspects of the policy cover and demanded to meet with a Senior Claims Handler in order to discuss the damage to the building and negotiate compensation. They negotiated and mediated with the insurance company. Initially Quinn Direct continued with their delay tactics but soon realised that this treatment of the policy holder would not be tolerated.


Quinn Direct wrote to the policy holder stating that the building had been under insured. Although the building had been under insured the insurance company took this opportunity to undermine the claim. An offer was made of €280,000 on (date). Clearys rejected this offer as being too low a figure to restore the building to its former condition. Clearys continued to work tirelessly on the claim, dealing with one issue after another. Following 10 months of staff working in cold, damp conditions with limited machinery Quinn Direct finally agreed a negotiated settlement with Clearys as opposed to ending up in Arbitration or Litigation.  On 18th February 2009, a settlement of €380,000 was accepted by our client.

If the policy holder had not hired a loss assessor his claim would have been more drawn out and he would not have received the additional €100,000 in compensation. The fact is that when you make a claim you are dealing with an insurance company who has dealt with thousands of claims. Whereas, you may only make one claim in your lifetime. Clearys loss assessors are here to make sure that is a fair fight. They can advocate on your behalf ensuring a better outcome.


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