Household Buildings Decision Reference 2023-0020

Case OutcomeRejected
Subject MatterHousehold Buildings
Date31 January 2023
Finantial SectorInsurance
Conducts Complained OfClaim handling delays or issues,Dissatisfaction with customer service , Failure to consider vulnerability of customer, Failure to process instructions in a timely manner
Decision Ref:
Product / Service:
Household Buildings
Conduct(s) complained of:
Claim handling delays or issues
Dissatisfaction with customer service
Failure to process instructions in a timely manner
Failure to consider vulnerability of customer
The Complainant held a Home Insurance Policy with the Provider, which she had purchased
through an Intermediary (hereinafter ‘the Broker’). The policy term in which this complaint
falls, is from 20 March 2019 to 18 January 2020. This complaint concerns the amount of
time it took for the Provider to assess and admit the Complainant’s home insurance claim
made in July 2019, and the customer service it provided throughout. The Complainant has
appointed a third party to deal with this complaint, referred to below as ‘the Complainant’s
The Complainant’s Case
The Complainant’s Representative says the Complainant moved into a nursing home in
March 2019 and, in her letter to this Office dated 18 November 2020, she submits that:
“At the time, [the Complainant’s son] rang [the Broker] … and informed them that
[the Complainant] had gone into a nursing home. When asked if the house was
empty, he responded that it wasn't as our brother, visiting from Germany, was
staying there at the time. [The Complainant’s son] explained that this was a
temporary situation, that he would be staying there periodically when in Ireland, but
that it was not a permanent arrangement as my brother resided in Germany and my
mother’s affairs were in a state of flux. The person he dealt with at [the Broker] said
that the house would then be classed as “tenanted” despite [our] insistence that my
brother was not paying rent, nor was it a permanent or full-time arrangement”.
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The Complainant’s Representative notes that the Complainant then received an amended
Household Schedule from the Provider detailing that Clause HH126 now applied, permitting
her to let the property to a tenant.
The Complainant’s Representative says that on 9 July 2019, the Complainant’s son
discovered that the water storage tank in the attic of the Complainant’s property had leaked,
causing a large amount of water damage to ceilings, floors, carpets and walls in a number of
rooms throughout the house, and he notified the Complainant’s Broker of the loss.
The Complainant’s Broker notified the Provider of the claim on the following day, 10 July
The Complainant’s Representative sets out the Complainant’s complaint in her letter to this
Office dated 30 April 2020, as follows:
“A water leak occurred in [the Complainant’s] house in early July 2019 and the
manner in which the resulting claim was handled by [the Provider] is the subject of
our complaint …
Despite reporting the claim to [the Broker] in early July 2019 we did not receive the
final claims settlement cheque until February 2020”.
Similarly, in her letter to this Office dated 13 July 2021, the Complainant’s Representative
submits, among other things, that:
“The claim was first advised to [the Broker] on 8 (sic) July 2019. We received verbal
confirmation from [the Broker] that [the Provider] confirmed cover only on 10
September 2019 and then only received the settlement cheques in January / February
2020. This was a simple water leak claim, the only issue was occupancy, and we were
timely, forthcoming and straightforward in the information we provided in relation
to this”.
The Complainant’s Representative says that the Loss Adjuster first inspected the
Complainant’s property on 11 July 2019, and despite the Provider having being informed of
the occupancy arrangements in March 2019, issues regarding the occupancy of the property
delayed the claim, in that the Provider only instructed the Loss Adjuster to proceed with the
claim on 10 September 2019, two months after the claim notification.
The Complainant’s Representative says that it was not until the Loss Adjuster inspected the
property for a second time on 13 September 2019 that he advised them that a second claim
would need to be made, because some of the water damage in the kitchen had occurred
from an earlier leak at the property, and that this delayed matters further.

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