First Wennington fire policyholder returns home

25th June 2024

When a major incident was declared in the small village of Wennington on 19 July 2022, our Major & Complex Loss team were on site within 24 hours of instructions being received. In the first major milestone as we approach the second anniversary of these devastating fires, the first of our policyholders moved back into their home in April this year.

After a long dry spell, around 19 homes suffered fire damage when the temperature reached 95 deg on the hottest day since British records began. At the peak of the blaze over 100 firefighters were working to get it under control. Very fortunately, no one was injured but several properties in the village were completely destroyed and others severely damaged.

Two forensic experts from our engineering team attended the site to evaluate the area and determine the cause of the fire. They surveyed six properties, interviewed key witnesses, examined the debris, and produced a precise report on their findings. Our loss adjusters attended with insurers to determine how we could evaluate the damage and provide emergency assistance to policyholders. The immediate priority was, of course, to ensure residents who had lost their homes and most of their belongings had safe and suitable accommodation. Speed of attendance was also essential in reducing indemnity spend for the insurer.

When policyholders experience the devastating effect of a fire, the loss adjuster will be heavily involved in offering positive support and reassurance and being as realistic about time frames and expectations as possible. In this incident, the team provided preliminary reports within two working days and three out of six claims were concluded within 30 days.

Our commitment to our policyholders meant we provided regular site visits with all parties in attendance and were available by phone when a policyholder had a query or simply wanted to chat – this played a critical role in our involvement. The affected policyholders were delighted with our service and regular updates meant they were confident their property was in safe hands.

Our ethos of effective communication is considered a key critical factor in making a major loss claim run smoothly so our loss communicating adjusters work as a team with insurers, surveyors and building contractors. They worked efficiently within tight timescales to carry out the demolition and reinstatement of a property, with surveyors working proactively with the local authority to approve plans and a reliable contractor who carried out the works to an very high standard. Our team were in attendance to witness the contractors sign off the property and watch as the delighted family returned to their home.

Dealing with this incident drew on our expertise and knowledge to satisfactorily fulfil our commitment to our policyholders and conclude this major loss claim. Beyond establishing the cause of the incident, supporting distressed policyholders and ensuring that claims were handled with all due expedience, we noted that this wildfire was rare in the UK and perhaps an indication of the threat of global warming – certainly a consideration for underwriters going forward.

To find out more on how our Major & Complex Loss experts can help insurers and policyholders, get in touch.

Clare Quick
Senior Manager Major Complex Loss

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