Flaxmans in Fishlake: The Yorkshire Floods
Two of Flaxmans Directors have recently made a number of trips to the flood affected areas in Yorkshire to offer flood victims support and advice in specially arranged Claims Clinics.
The initial trip led them to Bentley where they spent the day in informal discussions with flood victims at the neighbourhood drop-in centre, as well as more formal meetings with other affected residents. This was followed up with a further visit a few weeks later.
The most recent trip was to Fishlake, a village that received a lot of media coverage last November when the Yorkshire floods first hit. However, what Flaxmans realised was that, although the eye of the media has moved on, Fishlake is still struggling to recover from the devastation that the floods left in its wake. Again, they both met with many flood victims whose homes or businesses had been destroyed by the floods and that were still struggling to recover.
It was clear in both Bentley and Fishlake that flood victims appreciated the free support and advice that Flaxmans was offering them.
What impression did the Yorkshire Floods leave on Flaxmans?
The Human Touch:
“In meeting residents personally, it brought home the sheer awfulness of having experienced a flood. It heightened our appreciation of the human fall-out from such experiences and lifts the story way beyond a simple analysis of what is written in an insurance policy.”
(Wilson, M. Flaxmans)
These are tight-knit communities and it was clear to the two Flaxman directors how self-less the support workers were in their attempts to make a difference and help the flood victims who are suffering with great uncertainty.
Although many insurance companies are doing their best to respond to the Yorkshire flood crisis, the handling of such a high volume of claims all submitted around the same time is clearly stretching them to the limit. Even where the insurer has the capacity to deal with the high demands on their administration, there are occasions where the companies to which some of the work is outsourced, such as adjusters and nominated contractors, are simply unable to cope. In some cases, this has led to several weeks’ inactivity, while the Insured sees their property continuing to deteriorate.
Regrettably, we saw evidence of a lack of professionalism and two instances stand out:
- A home policy that had been sold to an occupier who had experienced a previous flood at the same address, and yet the intermediary had failed to spot incorrect information on the Statement of Fact about previous claims, leading to the policy being voided – see update below
- A loss adjuster who provided misleading information to a young family as to how they should evaluate the value of their contents, leading to a serious reduction in the claim
In the case of the incorrect Statement of Fact, at first sight it seemed the intermediary might have to accept some responsibility. But Flaxmans assisted the resident in writing to the Insurer to explain how the problem had arisen to see if they would agree to reinstate the policy and settle the claim. Flaxmans re-visited this resident during their second trip to Bentley and were delighted to learn that the insurers had shown some sympathy and not only had agreed to reinstate the policy but to pay the claim.
Our lasting impression of the people of Bentley is positive. They displayed impressive levels of honesty, stoicism and dignity. We only met a small sample of flood victims and just hope the majority are being met with similar qualities of human decency from the claims officials with whom they are dealing day by day.
The same could be said for those residents of Fishlake, although it was hard to see after over three months since the floods, whole roads of empty houses as the efforts to agree claims, and commence work continued. Lives on hold and uncertainty and distress for some a daily occurrence.