Fire started by policyholder’s partner caused extensive damage to caravan
Following a lengthy and detailed interview, our investigator determined that the fire was started deliberately
Insurer was able to decline claim, saving a potential cost of £59,199
“I would like to thank the investigator personally for their efforts in this situation”
A static caravan was extensively damaged and written off after a fire. Shortly after claims registration, the policyholder advised that his partner had bought and owned the caravan and had started the fire. This was flagged to Davies Special Investigations (DSI), but as there was limited information available on the circumstances and extent of the damage, it was agreed that a property adjuster should attend to record details of the loss from the policyholder in the first instance and examine the damage.
Thankfully, the policyholder was open and honest with our loss adjuster, confirming that it was his partner who had started the fire. The matter was then referred to the insurer as the fire was started deliberately by the owner of the caravan, and as the policy did not cover deliberate damage, the insurer had to validate the claim before issuing their decision.
Due to the sensitive nature of the matter, the insurer consulted our investigator for an opinion on policy liability. Our investigator contacted the Financial Ombudsman Service (FOS) technical helpline, they advised that the claim and reasons for why the fire was started should be further explored. Our investigator had a lengthy and detailed interview with the policyholder regarding his relationship with his partner and why she would purposely set fire to their caravan. They were also able to contact the policyholder’s partner, who admitted to starting the fire.
Our investigator obtained a fire report for the incident which confirmed the fire was the result of a ‘heat source and combustibles brought together deliberately’ and identified rapid fire growth due to petrol/oil products. The policyholder’s dealings with the Police and Fire Service had revealed that his partner had deliberately ignited the fire by using lighter fluid on his clothing. She was arrested and charged with arson and subsequently sentenced to 12 months in prison, which had been suspended for six months. It is thought that his partner had not intended to cause that much damage, but the fire quickly escalated.
The matter was referred to the insurer, who whilst sympathised with the policyholder, declined his claim. They were satisfied that we had obtained sufficient and compelling evidence to show that the fire was started deliberately and by someone who lawfully had access to the caravan. Although the policyholder was disappointed with the decision, he did personally thank our investigator for his efforts on the claim and was very complimentary with the way he handled the matter. Thanks to efforts of our investigator, the claim was resolved within seven weeks and the client saved a potential cost of £59,199.
To find out more about our special investigation capabilities, please get in touch with Associate Director, Ahmed Esat on Ahmed.Esat@davies-group.com.
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