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More Than’s refusal of our flooding insurance claim doesn’t hold water

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One Sunday at the end of July our home, along with most of our neighbours’, was flooded after torrential rain. There was a foot of water in our kitchen. We were about three weeks from finishing the renovation of our house.

Our home insurer, More Than, initially said that we were covered. It sent a company to install a dryer and confirmed that the extra electricity bills would be included in our claim.

For the next couple of weeks we struggled to get any response. We had a team of builders waiting to finish the job but they couldn’t do anything until we knew exactly what was covered.

Eventually, the claim was approved by the underwriters, but, after the loss adjusters Sedgwick got involved, it was decided that we were not covered for any claim, leaving us with significant bills to repair the damage.

When we told the insurer at the beginning of the renovation a number of “endorsements” were included. It is seemingly citing these endorsements to decline the claim, but we can’t get a definitive response.

Absurdly, the loss adjusters are saying More Than declined the claim, while the insurer says it was nothing to do with it, and we should take it up with Sedgwick.

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TP, Hackney

The longer I do this job, the more convinced I become that the way the insurance industry is set up is completely mad. How can an insurer disown a decision by a company it employs?

It seems that when you started the works, and correctly informed More Than, the company, not unreasonably, excluded flood claims until the house was made watertight again. These clauses are designed to cover problems that might arise if builders remove the roof or a wall. However, this wasn’t relevant in your case, as, when the rains hit, the house’s exterior was just as watertight as it was prior to the renovation.

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Happily, More Than has stepped in, and quickly put things right. It says: “We’re very sorry for the mistakes we made in the handling of TP’s claim. We are contacting them to settle the claim for the fixed items damaged by the flood, and will be offering compensation for the distress and inconvenience caused.

“While the damage to the unfixed materials undergoing renovation is not covered, we have suggested they speak with their builder to see if these are covered by insurance the builder may have in place.”

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