Sunday, 17 January 2010

Independent Inspections - they are not Independent!

The brochure which lists Independent Inspections' approved network of retailers.
Approved retailers have to pay Independent Inspections 15% commission on the value of your claim.


I have discovered some sinister goings on in the insurance industry which I want to share with the online world, the Financial Ombudsman who regulates the insurance industry and the Office of Fair Trading.

Recently a building contractor spilled paint on the communal hall and stair carpet of the large converted Victorian house where my partner lives. I have been helping her and the other co-owners get the carpet replaced under the contractor's Public Liability insurance.

The contractor and their insurance company admit they are responsible for replacing the carpet, but so far they have only offered half the cost.

Why should the co-owners of the property have to meet the other half of the cost for the contractor's accident? The contractor has insurance with Zurich Insurance for £5,000,000 public liability insurance but so far the insurers seem reluctant to pay up.

Fortunately our claim isn't with the contractor's insurers, we are not the policy holders. Our claim is with them, and we can of course simply take them to court and insist they make good our loss. But I have discovered some sinister goings on in the insurance industry which I want to share with the online world, the Financial Ombudsman who regulates insurers and the Office of Fair Trading.

If you have home contents insurance with many of the major insurers, inlcuding Direct Line, Zurich and Churchill, and you make a claim for damage to flooring or soft furnishings there is a good chance you will find yourself dealing with a company called Independent Inspections.

The Preston based company has built a big business working for insurance companies - coming out to your home and assessing the value of your insurance claim.

The Independent Inspections assessor will tell you that they act independently of the insurance company and they make a realistic assessment of the cost of putting right your damage.

What you need to know is the one thing Independent Inspections are not is independent.

They are appointed by the insurance company, and their responsibility lies with the insurance company. The insurance company is their client, not you.

If Independent Inspections agree you have a valid claim for replacement carpet they do not award you cash. No, they issue you with a mandate, a kind of gift voucher, which you must spend at one of their appointed network of suppliers. What they won't tell you - unless you ask directly - is that the approved retailer has to make a commission payment to Independent Inspections of 15% of the value of the gift voucher.

Independent Inspections told me that this 15% commission needn't concern the customer 'it goes on behind the scenes and doesn't cost the customer anything'. The customer services operator 'Peter' (they don't give out second names) said the 15% is given to the insurance company. Mmm.

But when I asked a branch of the UK's biggest carpet retailer Carpet Right to quote to replace a damaged carpet they told me they charge £2.50 a square metre for fitting, unless it is an insurance claim when they charge £3.50. That's where the commission comes from, so it does affect the customer because you'll get less value for your gift voucher than if you paid cash.

Independent Inspections were appointed by Zurich to assess the paint damage to our hall and stair carpet. They advised Zurich that it could not be cleaned and must be replaced. Independent Inspections then issued one of their mandates for £2,225.68 based on replacing an 80/20 mix wool carpet at 40 oz weight at £16.74 a square metre with £3.50 fitting, but allowing zero for lifting and disposing of the damaged carpet or delivery of the new. They also included VAT at 15% even though it has just returned to 17.5%. They won't give you any of these figures unless you ask, they say it would be too time consuming to tell policy holders how they work out the value of the loss. Or to look at it another way policy holders might be furious to discover how much they are not being awarded to cover the costs of their loss.

I also asked Zurich about the 15% commission the retailer has to pay to Independent Inspections. the claims handler I spoke to said it was the first time she had heard about it.

I quickly discovered £16.74 wouldn't buy a similar quality replacement carpet. Not only that but the Independent Inspections assessor appeared to have got the measurements wrong. I also found that the other costs - like carpet uplift and disposal are considerable.

The 3 estimators who I appointed to assess the job all shook their heads when I mentioned Independent Inspections. Apparently it's not unknown for their inspectors to get the measurements wrong, and one even told me of little old ladies turning up at his store with a gift voucher for £200 when the real cost is £600.

Zurich has since reduced its offer of settlement to £1530, to allow for 25% wear and tear, even though they agree that the carpet has 17 years wear left in it.

The lawyer I consulted said it would be impossible to buy a previously used fitted stair carpet so our claim with the building contractor should be for the full cost of replacement.

Independent Inspections told me their £16.74 figure already allowed for wear and tear. Insurance companies love collecting premiums, their zeal for settlement is somewhat less enthusiastic.

So my strategy has been to obtain 3 quotes for replacement from 3 separate respected carpet retailers. I will present these quotes to the building contractor, with the promise to sue if they do not meet their liability. How the contractor proceeds with Zurich Insurance is up to them. I hope they get their money back - as they must have hoped when they paid their Public Liability Insurance premiums.

I'll keep you posted...

94 comments:

Anonymous said...

As I'm in the process of trying to get an identical flooring supplied and fitted via II and finding the cost of fitting jumped from £10/sq m to £15/sq m I'm curious as to how this panned out?

The Chief Executive said...

After getting 3 specialist quotes the real cost of the replacement was 3500. Independent Inspections allowed 2250.

As the builder caused the damage I managed to persuade them to pay this.

I would get your own ndependent quotes and submit them to your insuerer.

Remember you can also refer your claim to the insurance ombudsman.

Anonymous said...

Thanks for the response - your article spurred me on to contact II in regard to their costings.

They named a company, I've been over to a local outlet today and their fitting charges are less than that allowed for...leaving me to choose a better floor for only £20 over, far better outcome than I was expecting yesterday!

Anonymous said...

If the OFT choose to inspect all flooring claims through Independent Inspections or Cavalier Insurance, They would be forced to close them down.

Anonymous said...

I have a dispute ongoing regarding a laminate floor in a fitted kitchen. Floor from a major DIY store with a 12 year guarantee, in 4 months some damage showed up. Independent Inspections ltd, eventually showed up on behalf of the manufacturer and did an incomplete inspection and came to a conclusion based on information they did not gather. I have subsequently challenged their poor report with a thorough report of my own. The DIY store have said (not in writing) that they'll give me the floor tiles to replace the damaged ones. Nobody will cover the labour and the floor tile manufacturer still says they'll go with the independent inspections report, which is laughable. What do you think Chief Executive?

The Chief Executive said...

I expect the 12 year guarantee was a big factor in your decision to purchase the flooring. If you are confident the materials are defective write again to the chief exec at the manufacturer copied to the chief exec at the DIY chain. You can also contact Consumer Direct for advice and you have the right to take the manufacturer to the small claims court for failing to honour the guarantee - remember to calculate the value of you claim to include professional fitting. You are not obliged to accept the verdict of Independent Inspections - unless you agreed to abide by their report (which is unlikely).I ignored their report to win my claim, suggest you do too.

Andy said...

Hi,

We've just had our first encounter with Independent Inspections.

They've given us a mandate for a replacement carpet in our home which we've taken to a carpet store. The store's told us they won't honour the full value of the mandate and will only give us the value of the mandate minus 15% to cover their costs!

This is apparently the norm with these mandates according to the sales staff.

I've written to my insurer and II Ltd to complain and see what comes back, but if this is the case then I don't want a mandate that's worth considerably less than what I'm meant to be covered for with my insurance!

The Chief Executive said...

Hi Andy. Is this one of Independent Inspection's approved suppliers? They do require their suppliers to pay them 15% commission. They are not supposed to deduct it from your settlement. However in my experience approved suppliers may quote a higher fitting cost for Independent Inspections customers to cover thier commission - i.e. £3.50 per metre fitting not £2.50 per metre they would charge if you didn't have a mandate. I am amazed no one has complained to the Office of Fair Trading or the Insurance Ombudsman about Independent Inspections and the insurance industry. I couldn't complain because I managed to get the building contractor to pay for the work themselves so that they could protect their no claims bonus. You can only complain if it hurts you. Why not write to the OFT and Insurance Ombudsman - they exist to protect consumers. Good luck, let us know how you get on. Thanks for sharing your experience - it is the only way to shame this shady business.

Andy said...

Hi,

Yes it was an approved dealer. It was United Carpets.

I wrote to II Ltd and the head office of United Carpets. I now have a reply from both sides saying I shouldn't be charged the 15%.

What's worrying me is that the branch I visited claims they do it with all these mandates, so they sound like they've made a lot of money in the past on customers of II Ltd without II Ltd being aware and at the customers expense. If that were me I would be calling the police right about now.

The Chief Executive said...

A truly independent adjudicator should not be allowed to take 15% commission for their expert opinion. Your insurance company should pay them in an open and transparent way for their expert service.

The Independent Inspections representative who called at our property measured the area incorrectly - possibly because he spent more time using the toilet than measuring up. He made no allowance for the cost of uplift and disposal of the damaged carpet either, so his opinion was far from expert.

If the total cost of your replacement carpet is going to cost more than the warrant make an appeal to your insurer. If they reject your appeal, ask the Insurance Ombudsman to adjudicate whether Independent Inspections' valuation is accurate.

Anonymous said...

Hi, I too have a mandate from independant inspections to cover the cost of laminate, I have been to floors to go, and was told that as it is a mandate instead of paying £10 a sq/m fitting costs, its going to be £15. So it is going to over run by £100, the man suggested I fit it myself, and get better under lay! Fabulous, Im a 23 year old girl.. hhhmmm dont think I fancy that with a small child running about, and the fact I dont drive, so how am I going to get it home?. They havent factored in the cost of taking up the flooring, which my insurance company suggested I do myself, but are now agreeing to pay, if I produce an invoice. It doesnt cover the cost at all! They are liars!

Anonymous said...

Hi, I too have a mandate from independant inspections to cover the cost of laminate, I have been to floors to go, and was told that as it is a mandate instead of paying £10 a sq/m fitting costs, its going to be £15. So it is going to over run by £100, the man suggested I fit it myself, and get better under lay! Fabulous, Im a 23 year old girl.. hhhmmm dont think I fancy that with a small child running about, and the fact I dont drive, so how am I going to get it home?. They havent factored in the cost of taking up the flooring, which my insurance company suggested I do myself, but are now agreeing to pay, if I produce an invoice. It doesnt cover the cost at all! They are liars!

The Chief Executive said...

Hi, make an official complaint to your insurers. Tell them that you will take your case to the Insurance Ombudsman if they do not amend their offer to cover your actual loss. Mention that you have been doing some research about Independent Inspections and you think the Insurance Ombudsman and the Office of Fair Trading may want to investigate why insured customers are charged a higher price than other customers when they are issued with these mandates. Let us all know how they respond.

Anonymous said...

Hi there,

I can confirm as the owner of an independent flooring retailer and an approved II retailer, that it is not II that receive the 15%. This is something the insurance companies themselvres ask for when awarding contracts. II recently lost a contract because the insurance company was asking for 20%, II refused. The reason insurance companies ask for this is to help keep the claims as low as possible, which in turnn keeps there policyholders premiums lower. The reason carpetright charge more for fitting with a mandate is because the fitter does not get paid straight away. On a normal sale you pay the fitter direct for the fitting, this is a way carpetright can avoid accepting liability for the quality of the fitting. So carpetrights reasoning is that they have pay someone at h/o to deal with the paperwork. I have dealt with II for year and have been very happy. Sure mistakes are made but II also do their best to rectify them.
Sam

Anonymous said...

I have an insurance claim currently using II where my radiator leaked through the ceiling and onto the wool carpet and sofa. The carpet is stained a copper colour and it has that horrible radiator stuff that rots carpets. When the inspector called he did an inspection with his techy gadget and struggled to get proper measurements and took his time doing it, when i asked what would happen he said we would clean it, and would only replace if the carpet was delaminated or damaged on the pile, however I am not too sure this will clean, so he took 1 picture and never even inspected the underneath, after he had gone after fighting to get some info on cost, which apparently he cannot release due to data protection!!!!!, I found the backing starting to delaminate so I avoided the carpet cleaning appointment and chased the claim via my insurance company. Another assessor was sent to my property and after this time looking at the backing, I was informed that this would be put in their report. Some several weeks later i am still waiting to hear from them. The whole episode stinks to me, trying to save the insurers from putting their hands in their pockets.... thank you for your comments on this blog..

The Chief Executive said...

To the flooring retailer - thank you for your insight.

Zurich denied they took the 15% commission when I asked them.

What percentage of your customers coming in with an II mandate would you estimate find that it will cover the entire cost of their replacement flooring - 100%, 80%, 50%?

The answer should give us an indication of how expert II are at estimating the cost of replacement.

Anonymous said...

The thing to remember is that carpets unlike many items do not have serial numbers on them. Lets take an average carpet say a 50 ounce 80/20 twist. In my shop these can vary from £18m2 - over £40m2. It is very difficult to identify where in this price bracket the carpet comes. There are basic tests you can do for example what ply the yarn is, and the quality of the backing. For the most part though inspectors from any of the insurance assesment companies and retailers such as myself can only take a good guess. The best bet is to always keep your receipt. I would say that 80% of the mandates that come in are acurate. The most queries come when a policyholder does not like the colour selection from the price range given.

Anonymous said...

it costs a carpet retailer shop form £350 + vat up to £850 per year to be a member of independent inspections If all the shops told them to stick it they would soon be out of business.
platinum £850
gold £650
silver 500
bronze 350
then they also have to pay 15% on every job given to them by Independent inspections

Anonymous said...

You do indeed. I am a bronze retailer and last year took over £200,000 worth of mandate's. That is quite a cheap form of advertising. Far far cheaper than advertising on tv or radio year round!!!

Anonymous said...

I have also had dealings with II due to a flooring claim through my insurance. I was concerned when I was informed by the II inspector that the retailers in the magazine gave a 15% discount. However the inspector gave me a full breakdown of his costings and explained everything in detail. This put all my concerns to rest.

My carpet was valued at 19 99 sqm and I was allowed 3 50 sqm for fitting. I took a sample of my carpet to a couple of the retailers and they all quoted a similar price. An uplift and disposal price was not included in my evaluation but the inspector explained all insurance companies asked him not to include this. He told me to speak to them and if they authorise it he will include an uplift cost. Unfortunately my insurance company refused to budge on this, which i am not fully satisfied with.

I made sure I spent the full value on the mandate, the retailer explained he will get paid this full amount minus 15%. He did not seem to happy doing this but he did explain he deals with alot of mandates so the 15% discount he gives to the insurnace companies was worth it.

I hope this information helps because when i looked into the 15% discount it all seemed pretty straight forward

John said...

Independent Inspections Ltd are amazingly inefficient. After being asked by AXA Insurance to get in touch with me to assess our ruined carpet they took five weeks to do it. They claimed that AXA gave them our wrong number which they kept phoning for five weeks until the call was answered and they learned that this was the wrong number. Only then did they ring AXA for the right one.

john said...

Further to my last comment, I was 'phoned by someone from Independent Inspections Ltd who asked me to ring them back which I did on the number which they provided. I was surprised to hear a recorded voice say "The number you have called is not assigned to any of our customers". It then offered me the opportunity to purchase the number!

John said...

Oh, but this gets better and better. This morning I received a call from Independent Inspections Ltd asking me why I hadn't replied to their previous call. I told them that the number I had been told to reply to had mysteriously vanished. They then said that they had been asked by my insurance company to arrange and insepection of the carpet. I told them that the boat had sailed and that the carpet had been removed and anyway they had already inspected it last month. This was denied as was the story about the 'phone number that never was. Luckily I still had a recording of the original call! They said that they had never had any other request to inspect the carpet and woulkd take this back to the insurer. This one is going to run and run. More news as it happens!

Anonymous said...

Hi, I am a flooring retailer and have had dealings in the past with i.i. ,and I found that they always always under estimated values of floor coverings ,It would be very rare for a claim to be replaced with a like for like product/quality without the policy holder having to pay extra towards their new item for the same quality as they had damaged.I am led to believe the estimators are told to under estimate all claims,

John said...

Thanks for that. I now wonder just what is the point of having a policy which replaces like for like. In fact I'm beginning to wonder just what is the point of having an insurance policy at all. AXA have now just informed me that it will take another ten days to answer my complaint yet this whole sorry mess has been going for nearly three months.

John said...

AXA have now made an improved offer. They say that Inedpendent Inspections Limited forgot to include the cost of delivery and double-sided tape. They've also offered £50 as a good will gesture. AXA claim that we claimed for 8 metres of vinyl flooring when IIL claimed we only needed 4. Could this be because they failed to measure the bathroom? What IIL also failed to point out if that the room is an irregular and therefore had a join which meant that more carpet had to be ordered. It's also odd that Carpetright calculated the figures and they are prefered vendors for IIL. I rejected the offer and we're off to the FOS which will cost AXA £350.

Anonymous said...

I've just been texted by I.I. to say they have been appointed to me by my ins. company and will be in touch shortly to make an appointment. Firstly I don't think a text is a very professional way to contacting a customer. I've asked a local carpet supplier to come around this afternoon to give me a quote, just so I have something to compare I.I.'s quote with. Also, as I have to leave the house to be dried out for 2 weeks, which is 2 weeks after my flooding event, it's not convenient to pop back when the hotel I'm going to be staying at is miles away and I don't have my own transport. Am I being paranoid or cautious concerning this company?

Helen S said...

My Insurance company has this year started using II, and so I was very dubious when I saw everyting on the 'net regarding them when I found out they would be coming to assess my flood damage. Bearing in mind that this is now the 3rd year running that my carpet has had to be replaced due to no drainage for the road I live on, and my insurance company have had all previous invoices, quotes, and reports from their own loss adjustors, I found out yesterday that II have allowed just over £500 to replace 45sq metres of high quality saxony carpet - which is including fitting, underlay and uplift and removal of old carpet! - when this cost over £2240 last year. I tried to complain to my insurers, but just keep being stalled with 'all the managers are in a meeting'. And this is after I explicity told the insurance company I did not want them to have anything to do with costing/quoting for replacing anything before I would agree to them visiting! Does anyone know what I can do to challenge this?

The Chief Executive said...

Hi Helen S

To challenge your insurance company's offer of settlement you should fast-track through their dispute procedure (ask the customer service rep to tell you how to do this) and then contact the Insurance Ombudsman who will arbitrate. If you have receipts for previous successful claims you should be successful. If all customers who have this problem with II take their complaint to the Insurance Ombudsman they will be forced to change the way they operate.

John said...

IIL should be avoided like the plague. I have just spoken to an insurance company employee who tells me that her company just wouldn't touch them. My claim has now be ongoing for three months. I recieved a letter from my insurance company stating that IIL had told them that we ordered twice the vinyl that was necessary. That's because IIL only measured one room! Ask for a copy of IIL's report.

Russell said...

We've recently had a visit from II with respect to flood damage. We were shocked when we saw the low value of our mandate. Our fears were only confirmed when two II suppliers told us that the mandate was totally unrealistic. Among the things wrong with it are:

- No allowance for wastage, so each measurement is well under what is actually required in terms of materials
- A derisory allocation for underlay, basically under 2 pounds per square metre - two approved II suppliers have told us this is totally unrealistic
- An utterly unrealistic estimate of £17.99 per sq/m to replace a 50oz 80/20 carpet - prices start at around £23.99 for similar quality and go higher if we want the same colour that was fitted 14 years ago
- A valuation of £9.99/sq m for lino - cheapest we can find is 11.99
- No allocation of costs for uplift/disposal (seems to be II policy!)
- No inclusion of costs for removal of mouldy hardboard under the lino

In addition, the II man was dismissive and peremptory when talking to us - he couldn't wait to leave and didn't want to explain much. We only got a cost breakdown because my pregnant wife told them it was impossible to dispute their calculations because they had only given us one blanket figure.

II were appointed by UK Assistance on behalf of Direct Line. We can't currently reach our UKA advisor as she's on holiday. We're going to try and complain to UKA first, then to Direct Line. Should I be thinking about Ombudsmen at this stage?

John said...

Prepare to go to the FOS. That's what I'm doing. I asked AXA insurance for a copy of their report on the damage to our carpet. A week later IIL sent a copy. It was badly written and missing some important information. There are two obvious errors in it and I am amazed that nobody noticed them. I am shocked that any insurance company should make a decision based on such badly written and presented rubbish. There was also a complaint that when the inspector arrived the carpet layer was at work and the carpet had been lifted. The inspector was supposed to arrive in the morning and eventually showed up mid-afternoon. The carpet fitter said he just couldn't wait any longer! We agreed with him. It had taken IIL no fewer than 8 weeks to carry out this inspection. It would be laughable if it wasn't so pathetic. I'll say one thing for IIL they are consistant...consistantly inefficient!

Anonymous said...

I have a mandate from IIP but have been told by the shop who i wanted to order the replacement carpet through that they unable to accept the mandate unless they pay over three grand to appear in IIP's magazine. That is on top of giving IIP a discount.
Not surprisingly they are not keen to take my order!
The suppliers who are in the magazine are either very small outlets with little choice or cheap and rubish suppliers who I would not let fit a carpet in my house.

Anonymous said...

I'm insured with the AA for contents, but they use NIG as their authorised insurer, who use II. They are a nightmare. I am making a caim for water damage after a burst pipe. They have sent a mandate for the furnishings, but a) I don't want to buy everything in one place, and the only suitable supplier on their list has nothing in the required price range! b) It is completely inadequate and c) I have been looking for the Terms & Condiditions for the mandate, they have been torn out of the magazine and cannot be found on the website. I would like to see if I have to accept the mandate, or if I can ask for cash or vouchers. Can't wait to call them next week. :(

The Chief Executive said...

Hello Anon - insured via AA. Your contract is not with II. It is with your insurer. You are not obliged to accept II's mandate or their valuation. If you believe it is wrong get some alternative quotes from well known reputable suppliers - eg John Lewis and present them to your insurer as the real cost of replacing your insured loss. Go through your insurer's complaints procedure if necessary. If this fails appeal to the insurance ombudsman at the FSA. Refer the ombudsman to the comments here, I'm sure they will be interested to read more about II and the way they operate their business. The good news is you don't have to use them, you have no contract with them. Their recommendation is not binding on you.

Anonymous said...

We had a burst pipe over Christmas and are in the process of going through an insurance claim. We have today received a telephone call from II to arrange an inspection. As we did not know of this company we Googled them and came across your Website. Many thanks for the information, I will be contacting my insurance company Allianz tomorrow to inform them we will not be dealing with II.

Anonymous said...

The problem is that the amount of claims you are talking about is a small quantity of the 4500 claims they handle every week.
Or do all of you NEVER MAKE MISTAKES I very much doubt it !!
UNLESS YOUR PERFECT ha ha

ndh said...

I have a claim with direct line for a burnt carpet, II came out and inspected i showed them a quote for a like foe like replacement which was for £775, i have received a mandate for £675 which includes £200 excess, initially i did not think was to bad £100 to find + excess = £300. But been to supplier today and they state mandate is worth £475,they said my excess of £200 is not part of the claim it is seperate so £775 minus £475 = £300 plus £200 excess leaves me with £500 to find for a £775 claim, is this right? been emailing II keeps bouncing back wrong address

ndh said...

anybody had similar experience

The Chief Executive said...

ndh - if your insured loss is £775, less your excess of £200 your insurer should compensate you £575.

You can appeal to your insurer (Direct Line) via their complaints procedure.

If they deny your claim as reasonable take your case to the Insurance Ombudsman at the Financial Services Authority. Direct Line will rather settle than go through this appeal.

Don't be fobbed off with 'wear and tear' if you have a new for old policy. You cannot buy a fitted carpet any other way than brand new.

Be patient, be firm. Your contract / claim is with your insurer - Direct Line, not II. It is Direct Line you have paid your premiums to, they are responsible for compensating you for your insured loss. You do not have to negotiate with II. Make contact with Direct Line. Good luck.

ndh said...

Thats what i thought was to go back to direct line not II. If the supplier is right (cant see he is because you have put it like i see it) even if i got £575 they say i would have to find the £200 shortfall plus £200 excess on top. I think they maybe trying it on, the guy who measured up did not no how it worked, gave me a price then got back to shop & the manager phoned me to say i have to make the shortfall and the excess on top. One supplier told me they make around 25% on a carpet once II take there 15% ,premium rate phone calls, 60 days for there money, they have to make it up from somewhere which looks like the customer

Lawyers Online said...

I am currently locked in battle with Independent Inspections Ltd in an attempt to find out how my client's Mandate for £5,300 got cashed by United Carpets before the job was completed and a satisfaction note signed. The workmanship in the lounge and hallway was appalling. Three bedrooms and the stairs and landing remain "Undone." A Norrie Mackie of United Carpets, who is their Brand Manager (whatever that is) for the Midlands, has confirmed the work has to be done. He confirmed this in August 2010. We still await the day. My advice is refuse to have anything whatever to do with United Carpets or Independent Inspections Ltd. Whatever else they are, they certainly are NOT Independent.

The Chief Executive said...

Lawyers Online - The Association of British Insurers boast that their members guarantee all work paid for for 12 months. I would suggest you go back to your insurer (not Independent Inspections) and ask them to assess the quality of the work. The more complaints insurers receive about the II opertaion the better.

Anonymous said...

To the Chief Executive,

I must say that I find the comments on this site very surprissing. I have had dealings with II as have a friend and a member of my family. The valuation given in all three cases was fine and we were able to replace the carpets on a like for like basis with no need to pay any money apart from my excess.
The comments you have made make out that II are out to con people. I can assure you that the service I and my family and friend received was top class. II made a very stressful situation for me a lot easier to handle.

Anonymous said...

TSB and II have been giving me the run around for over 4 weeks after a joint building and contents claim after an oil filled radiator burst and damaged my lounge and furniture. Munters were sent initially and advised nothing could be repaired however TSB then sent II who were trying to say the sofa could be cleaned???? Oil in fabric surly this was a fire risk!
I got onto LLoyds AGAIN and after threats of IO this was a "misunderstanding" (3weeks after the event) Mandate was more value than cash however nobody at II seemed to be able to tell me where the mandate could be used and after 3 calls of around 20mins each and a hisy fit I got directed to home comforts website. Argos and homebase only retailer in my postcode for furniture so pretty much having to order without sitting on furniture not ideal. The paper mandate is not accepted in either so you then have to call back for "vouchers" I am still waiting 3 days later and they have issued them for the wrong store I was advised today so I assume that will be another lenghthy delay.
They have till Friday at which point I wil expect cash and for the full mandate cost or I will be taking this further.
II are a joke and I strongly recommend avoid this company if possible.

Lawyers Online said...

From Lawyers Online. Further to our input of the 21st March 2011, our client has now made alternative arrangements for her replacement floor coverings. Part of her replacement lounge floor covering was fitted by United Carpets of Aylestone Road, Leicester - a franchise allegedly owned by a Mrs Khan.The workmanship was appalling. Mrs Khan refused to put the matter right. She also claimed to have fitted grippers and door bars in other rooms, ready for more carpet. This was untrue. She also refused to return our client's £5,300.00, which somehow got released to her without our client's signature. All of these facts were reported to Independent Inspections Ltd and United Carpets during last summer. Enter Norrie Mackie for United Carpets, who knows more about procrastination than any man I know. United Carpets belatedly arranged for an inspector to visit and assess the work. His decision was that the flooring had to be removed and replaced. It all then came to a Stop. The initial claim was made over 2 yrs ago! We became involved in July of 2010. The battle has been constant. Still our client has not had her £5,300 returned to her. Independent Inspections now refuse to deal with us, as does Norrie Mackie of United Carpets. Both companies deny receiving our client's written Authority to allow us to act on her behalf. Our fax and email records show differently and of course they were quite happy to deal with us until we refused to give any more ground. We have now written to Andrew W Palmer, director of Churchill Insurance Company Ltd, setting out the issues. We do not hold out much hope! We have previously written to Andy Shields (Director of Sales and Service) of Churchill Insurance Ltd. All he did was pass our letters to Stephanie Dick (Customer Relations Case Handler) who wrote three times asking for more time to investigate but in fact produced no information whatever. We have written to Ray Tricker of United Carpets, a diector, who allegedly has responsibility for customer complaints (God help his company's customers). All he does is either ignore communications or pass them to the infamous Norrie Mackie - who continues to procrastinate. We have also written to Stuart Lees, a director of Independent Inspections Ltd. He too does not respond. If Churchill Insurance don't sort out this mess and put our client back into the position she was before the claim, our instructions are to issue proceedings against Churchill Insurance, United Carpets Ltd and Independent Inspections Ltd (Which is of course Not Independent but merely an agent of the insurer. Our advice - If insuring with Churchill Insurance means you have to suffer the consequence of Independent Inspections Ltd and United Carpets Ltd - Insure with another company.

Sara said...

Hi,

I read this blog with great interest. Having just been notified of a £370 mandate by Indpendent Inspections, it became apparent that my preferred supplier was NOT in their catalogue.

Please note - you are NOT obliged to use their preferred suppliers.

I contacts II to inform them that I wouldn't be using a supplier from their magazine - I was told therefore that my settlement would be reduced by 15%.

I queried the reason for this and was told the insurance company received it.

I have spoken with the insurance company who kindly explained via an example:
"If i got £300 mandate, insurance company would pay less 15% to the supplier because they get a discount price."

Wow. From the horses mouth so to speak! i.e. insurance company would effectively be making £45"

I queried the legality of this - as a customer my contract is with the insurance company, i don't give two hoots if they choose to use II.

Surprisingly enough (ahem), i was told that "in this instance and as a one-off, the insurance company would honour the full amount"

I told the insurance company that before accepting that I would seek my own independent valuations for comparison and that would be carried out without predujice to the aforementioned offer.

Incredible. And possibly illegal.

Anonymous said...

II are renowned within the trade for poor valuation and under estimating but unfortunately nearly all insurance companies won't pay for uplift and disposal and with regard to the 15% reduction for taking a cash settlement, this is correct but deduction varies between insurance companies and legally they only have to settle at their lowest liability.(providing the valuation is correct of course)

Lawyers Online said...

Sara, it gets worse. I sent two Recorded Delivery Letters to Andrew Palmer, who is, according to Companies House, a director of Churchill Insurance Ltd. He has failed to respond to both. We are now filing a complaint with the Insurance Ombudsman. My advice - Do not touch Churchill Insurance Ltd. Do not touch Independent Inspections Ltd and Do not touch United Carpets Ltd. On the evidence we have these companies have no integrity whatever.

keith said...

I am having a problem with II and have read all comments here with horror. Churchill insurance is this the Churchill insurance advertised with cartoon dog on the tele?

Geoff said...

I am an in the process of making a claim on my Buildings Insurance supplied by TSB for replacement of Kitchen Laminate Floor due to water damage from Dishwasher flood.
Independent Inspections came in and carried out his survey and mentioned mandates, I explained I would probably replace Laminate with Ceramic floor to eliminate any future problems and would be looking for a cash settlement to put towards cost of Ceramic tiled floor, explained all I was looking for was the replacement cost of laminate, and that should cover everything involved for instalation of new Laminate floor.
Once he completed the survey I went through it in some detail and asked why he had not included a cost on the estimate for beading around the edge to skirting, the reply was you do not have beading at present, I explained the reason for that was the floor was proffesionaly fitted and the skirting board fitted to eliminate visual sight of expansion gaps, only reponse I got well if you should go for laminate you will have expansion gaps and how you cover them is up to you and at your cost, though TSB provide the policy, Zurich is the insurer. Independent Inspections also suggested they will not make any allowance for removal and re-instalation of kitchen appliances, and to not take into account lifting and dispoal of damaged floor, welcome any advice on how to proceed.

The Chief Executive said...

Geoff - Insurers are only required to compensate you for your actual loss. So as you realise opting to have ceramic tiles laid will complicate your claim. Your insurer may agree to a cash settlement, they may not - it will depend on your policy terms. It is unlikely an installer of laminate or tiles will remove the kitchen units, they will fit up to and just beyond the plinth boards under the units. When II send you your mandate you will be able to negotiate with your insurer. Good luck.

The Chief Executive said...

Geoff - Insurers are only required to compensate you for your actual loss. So as you realise opting to have ceramic tiles laid will complicate your claim. Your insurer may agree to a cash settlement, they may not - it will depend on your policy terms. It is unlikely an installer of laminate or tiles will remove the kitchen units, they will fit up to and just beyond the plinth boards under the units. When II send you your mandate you will be able to negotiate with your insurer. Good luck.

Anonymous said...

I'm a claims handler (who works for the policy holder rather than the Insurance company)and have been Handling a claim for a customer of ours who happens to be my business partners Mum. She has given us written authorisation to act/settle on her behalf which was sent to the Insurance company and they appointed II to 'inspect' the floor. They inspected the floor and have now pressured her into accepting £750 for the claim. When she told the caller that she would have to check with her son before she accepted any offer she was told 'no you don't, you can accept this now and it'll be in your bank in a few days'

Once an offer has been accepted it can be reversed, but patience is the key and I will let you know how I get on

Feel free to visit www.aspray.com if you would like for us to fight your case for you

The Chief Executive said...

For the information of readers and in response to 'Anonymous' who represents 'aspray.com' the claims management company.

Please be aware that I do not endorse or recommend the use of claims management companies to handle domestic insurance claims.

Your insurance company will not award any extra payment to cover their fees.

Claims management companies may increase the settlement you receive, but they may not. Many will deduct a significant percentage of your claim to cover their commission. Any extra payment from your insurer may easily be outweighed by their fees.

You should always let your insurance company appoint contractors and pay for major building repair work as they will guarantee it for at least 12 months.

If you are unhappy with the settlemnt your insurance company proposes to settle a claim you can approach the FSA Insurance Ombudsman service to arbitrate.

They can instruct your insurance company to increase the settlement if they believe you have not been compensated correctly.

In the UK householders are well protected by legislation when it comes to the sale of insurance products.

However the FSA (Financial Services Authority) will not investigate claims for negligence against claims handling companies.

Make sure you understand the pros and cons before appointing any claims handler to negotiate with your insurer.

Anonymous said...

Hi

Update on the above ref my partners mum

The Insurance company have agreed to pay an extra £660 to cover the cost of items not included in II's scope of the work.

Apart from the policy excess our service is free (on the proviso that we use our appointed contractors to undertake the work) The extra costs were for rubbish removal, dehumidifier hire, and increasing the amount of floor to be replaced.

I would mirror the comments from the CE above and if you are appointing a claims handler double check that they will not bill you for their time as this is not recoverable from the Insurance company. We're regulated by the FSA but there are dodgy company's out there so just do your research before appointing anyone

Mike aka anon :-)

Anonymous said...

as someone who has worked for both retailers using independent inspections mandates, and also as an inspector for independent inspections, i can say categorically that the 15 % discount is the insurance companies cut, independent inspections gets a set fee for every inspection, and no part of the 15% discount.
you, "chief executive", seem to think that just because you say something is true that everyone will believe you.
here's a thing, why not try to find out the truth, before spouting off?
there are a lot of things wrong with both the insutance industry and independent inspections, however, your lies help nobody to get the real picture.

bruce said...

bruce,
hi i bought a carpet from united carpets in leicester, this carpet was personally recommended by the manageress for our stairs and landing, after 5 weeks it was showing signs of flattening and shading after many conversations they said it was down to local causes( not sure what that means) they have now offered to send out a independent inspector from independent inspections who they say, i quote who are exactly that, and would not be know either to us or themselves after reading this page do you think i would better to get my own inspector out and if the carpet is found to be faulty claim the cost of this through a small claims court ?????

The Chief Executive said...

Bruce,

Thank you for commenting.

You are well protected by the Sale of Goods Act which states the goods must be suitable for the purpose sold.

The difficulty you have is persuading the carpet retailer that the carpet is faulty or unsuitable for fitting on stairs. The retailer has offered to pay for an 'expert' to inspect their materials and provide a report. However any 'expert' they appoint and pay for will effectively become their 'expert' witness. If II's inspector reports that the carpet is okay you will still be unhappy. If the inspector agrees with you the retailer is likely to be unhappy (if they wanted to replace the carpet they wouldn't be offering to pay for the inspection instead).

Therefore the safest approach for you would be to appoint your own 'expert' and compare the two reports.

However there are a few things I would try first.
1. Try and persaude the retailer to come and inspect the carpet for themselves (if they haven't already). If they agree you have a good case they should be able to get the carpet manufacturer to help rectify the problem.
2. Contact the carpet manufacturer and ask if the carpet is suitable for use on stairs and ask if they will inspect it for wear. If they say the carpet is unsuitable for stairs the retailer has mis-sold you the carpet.
3. Ask another carpet retailer to come and quote for a new carpet and ask their advice about the existing carpet. Their advice will not be impartial, but it may be useful in your negotiation with your retailer.
4. If your enquiries support your case telephone Consumer Direct and ask their advice about writing to the retailer rejecting the carpet as unsuitable for the purpose sold.
5. Take into account any guarantees against wear provided (often shown on the back of shop carpet samples - for example light domestic, heavy domestic etc, and how many years wear - 7, 10) and which areas of the home (bedroom, stairs) the manufacturer recommends it for. These factors will all help your claim under the Sale of Goods Act.

Do let us know the outcome.

CardyVille said...

As a carpet retailer, I despise Independent Inspections, and refuse to deal with them.

Just a couple of quick points not mentioned. Firstly, you have to pay them to become a reccomended retailer, which is on a sliding scale, i.e. They more you pay, the higher you go on their list. Secondly, as a retailer you need to ring them to get an authorisation number, for which they charge the retailer £1 a minute on a premium rate number.

It gets worse, the retailer get paid by inspections themselves, not the insurance company and have a 45 day payment cycle, meaning if you time it badly, you wait 89 days for payment on a job that you've already had to give 15% discount to.

I know retailers who have the misfortune to deal with these people, and do you think they really lose 15%? No, it's always added on to the bill, meaning the customer gets 15% less product.

I had a customer recently who presented me with a mandate from them for £1900, I informed her she should ring her insurer and tell them she wanted to go to her own retailer and not to anybody on her list. She ws then told that was fine, but she could only have £1780.

How does that work? Was Inspections estimated value wrong? Or did someone just miss out on their backhander?

Their latest trick is to actual offer to take samples out directly to the customer. Which means they are actually by passing their own reccomended retailers.

I've had years of dis-liking this company, I'm just pleased that there is somewhere I could vent my anger!

Rant over!

Anonymous said...

I am an ARN member and i hate! them so so much i am sure what they do is ilegal they need exposing for the rip off merchants they are!

Anonymous said...

Independent Inspections act on behalf of the insurance companies that pay them. It is not up to II to decide the terms and conditions of settlement. These are dictatted to II by the insurance companies. The 15% discount is decided by the insurance companies, if II did not agree to this the insurance companies would son run off to one of the other similar companies who would agree.
To the retailers that are adding on 15% in order to give the discount this is in clear violation of the terms and conditions, if found out charges of fraud could levied against you. If you are a retailer and dislike II so much, leave you are not forced to be on the list. Personally my shop would be in the region of £80,000 worse of if I was not on the list.

Anonymous said...

Dear Mr Anonymous, or II representative, if you can afford to give away £12000 to insurance companies every year, then god help your margins and future of your business.

Anonymous said...

Come on. When setting prices the margins are set so that discount can be given. We all have sales, I do 2 a year giving between 20 and 30%. 15% off of the margin is certainly nothing to cry about. I look at it as a cheap form of advertising. For an outlay of £350.00 year I have processed £80,000 worth of mandates. The profit in that is about £22,000. Not a bad return.
The money saved all comes off our insurance premiums. If the insurance companies paid out retail prices for all replacment goods watch the premiums rocket!!!

Big Al said...

I've just received an invitation to renew my ii membership for another year. They've reduced it to £199 but they are going to take another 5% off the mandate value. Outrageous!! Seeing as how they have set up a network of fitting outfits and bypass the retailer in most cases, the pickings will be very slim indeed from now on. I won't be renewing this year and I've been with them for many years. I would urge all retailers to dump them this year. We must fight back and I now include in my advertising, a message to the consumer to please contact me for advice before contacting their insurers. I also have started to include a flyer with all invoices with advice on what to do if they are unfortunate enough to have an incident resulting in the need for an insurance claim and offering a service to uplift and remove damaged or wet carpets for inspection in my warehouse. Get in first, and we can win this business back. Independent Inspections are a money grabbing, dishonest organisation and trust me, will get their come uppance!!

Anonymous said...

Hi, I worked for II and recently left because I was disgusted at the immoral and illegal business practices.
We recently won the Aviva tender which is one of the UK's largest insurer, if you buy a policy from Barclays, Santander it will be underwritten by Aviva.
We have guaranteed to Aviva that the average settlement cost will be below £500, to achieve this instructions have been given to everyone to value claims or issue a mandate at a lower value than the true replacement cost.
This is unfair to the claimant who is the one who loses out!
Shame on you II and Aviva for ripping off your customers.

newsdesk@whistleblowers.co.uk said...

We have been contacted by a Whistle Blower, an employee of Independent Inspections, who on 20th November 2011, submitted an anonymous email message - we will be placing an entry on the jigsaw page of our website www.whistleblowers.uk.com but we need to speak to the whistle blower - PLEASE CONTACT US URGENTLY - your contact with us weill be completely confidential! We also need others to contact us - go to the website and use the contact page or email, newsdesk@whistleblowers.uk.com

Anonymous said...

I am an employee of Independent Inspections and feel the need to point out that as a company we have been trading since 1988, if we as a company were as 'bent' as you all feel we are we would not have grown to become the company that we are today.
We deal with around 80% of all the major insurance companies AXA, Aviva, All the RBS branding such as Nationwide, Natwest, Churchill, Prudential Etc, Zurich, Groupama and MANY more.
We are constantly pushed to drive costs down for insurance claims and ultimately are at the insurance companies employment, we do however pride ourselves on carrying out completely unbiased costings (albeit for the lowest available cost) we do however have processes in place that enable the policyholder to contest this.
The above 'whistle blower' will not have worked for our company for long as what they are saying about AVIVA is not something that we carry out and is completely wrong, they asked us to replace and deal as normal with claims but advised that they would only pay us as a company £500 per claim regardless of its total value at a loss to ourselves!
This is something that AVIVA wished us to carry out but we refused and currently deal with their claims as with any of the other insurers that we deal with.
For this current employee of independent inspections that has become a 'whistle blower' needs to take this up with the company rather than going to underhand measures.

Anonymous said...

Rhetoric!
I work for II and 5 years ago we were honest and today we are not!

Anonymous said...

Anonymous, I thought you were crooks 5 years ago. How bad must it have got?

Anonymous said...

I find it hilarious that retailers who are members of the reccomended retailer network via II, are posting negative comments on a site like this, instead of just terminating their membership with the company if that is how they really feel.
I have, unfortunately, had to make two claims with my insurance company (Direct Line), within the last four years. On both occasions, Direct Line appointed II to deal with my flooring/furniture, and I have had nothing but positive experiences. Both claims were settled quickly and the value's of each claim to my satisfaction. The inspectors who attended my property were both professional and pleasant, and the office staff were polite and helpful. One young lady went above and beyond to help me book an appointment for the inspection to suit my busy working schedule.
The retailers we were recommended to use were a mixture of small, local businesses, and much bigger, nationwide type stores. I got the items I wanted within the valuation given, had no problems with the retailers and nothing was mentioned about discounts and such.
Overall, nothing to complain about.

The Chief Executive said...

Anon - 31 January - I'm glad your claims were handled so expertly. Why were you looking up Independent Inspections online? Was it just idle curiosity or do you work for them?

mags, Suffolk said...

Having lodged a claim for flood damage with my insurance company last week (claim not yet accepted)I have alreay been contacted by Indepdent Inspections who want to visit my home. Already they are suggesting I choose carpets from the samples the inspector will bring with him on his visit and I will be required to pay him the policy excess either cash or debit card. This is the first time I have ever put in a claim for this type of damage and I already feel very intimidated. My carpet value was £53 sq mt and I want to make sure, as a pensioner, that I get the exact carpet that I paid for 2 years ago. They are also not acknowledging the bathroom area and my lounge carpet which was soaked and is still wet after two weeks. I am so glad to have read the comments posted as forewarned is forearmed. I will keep you posted.

cheap public liability insurance said...

hello!! Very interesting discussion glad that I came across such informative post. Keep up the good work friend. Glad to be part of your net community.

Anonymous said...

Great to find such a blog. I only wish Watchdog would take the II issue up. If i remember correctly they were found out years ago along with the No1 carpet retailer for collusion. There is a fiddle at every point. The consumer suffers, the independant retailer is conned and II staff must me brain washed plonk weeds to think they operate above board in a fair and reasonable manner. I was on site when an II inspector turned up and he told the customer her carpet was discontinued (was not) and she could have a vics one instead, and that she could not go to the retailer that sold her the original carpet (they are on the list). You had to be there. Total and utter scum. A true reflection of the insurance companies they represent. I wont tell you how i get my revenge but i pay my Bronze membership and lie in wait........

public liability insurance quote said...

These kind of post are always inspiring and I prefer to read quality content so I happy to find many good point here in the post, writing is simply great, thank you for the post

Claudine said...

Hello All,

I spilled paint on my sofa a couple of weeks ago. I am insured through Santander (Aviva) with the additional accidental cover. I have had II visit today to look at the original receipt and confirm the damage etc.

Once the report is received by the Insurer I apparently receive a mandate to purchase a replacement less the excess.

Do I really have to use the II Approved Retailer Network? I cannot find anything online that I like or is similar enough to replace my corner suite. The brochure left with me differs to the Home and Comfort website. I am wary of the ARN as it all seems to be sponsored by SCS.

I believe my insurance is to "put me back in the position I was in before the damage occured".

If this is the case is "liking" my sofa enough to go elsewhere i.e. IKEA? rather than SCS or Furniture VIllage (which are overpriced and unattractive HUGE sofas that will not fit in my living room. The original was from MFI, so I cannot get a like for like on that count either....


Any advice gratefully received.

Thank you in advance...

Hibat Sheikh said...

Hi Andy Shield/ Churchill,

After accepting 'no fault accident' and arranging pick-up, repair and deliver that car, your staff forced mr to pay access. simply they could not bother to communicate with other insurer.
After various requests your Customer Relation staff Sam Mubsher called me today, refused to reimburse the access while accepting the fault of claim staff Mr Sukh.
please look into it and advise at hibat@hibat.co.uk.
Thank you. Hibat Sheikh.

Anonymous said...

I have II coming out on tues to inspect my sofa. Basically my 2 yr old decided to paint his legs with my nail varnish then left the bottle sitting with top off on my sofa. I'm quite worried after reading all of these posts. Not sure how much I will be offered and really don't fancy having to purchase a new one from scs

Jay Lambchop said...

Re: flooring replacements, sofa's etc. Unless specifically written into your agreement, you have the legal right to choose your replacements from any retailer. Some insurers pay less due to this choice being taken, which is wrong, but if you have a claim for say £2000, and you request the cheque to yourself, you may get 15% less, so £1700, in the grand scheme of things, most independant retailers, would probably do you a better deal. I wont post my web address, but i do loads of insurance repairs/ replacements, and 9 out 10 times the customer has requested payment so they can shop in their chosen stores, and everyones a winner.

Anonymous said...

I work for a flooring retailer and can tell you that:-

1, Independent Inspections knowingly under value all qualities/values, is this not fraud?

2, They try to talk policyholders into letting them use their own fitters for installations. These fitters are not proper trained carpet fitters!

3, On top of the 15% that we retailers are charged we are also charged 5.5% for them to pay withing 60 days of completion. If we need to speak to them it is only via a premium telephone number which is charged at.95p per min

4, All retailers will pass on any charges/discounts that are made to Independent Inspections.

The only way to bring a end to this is for policyholders to move their business away from companies who use Independent Inspections.

Anonymous said...

I used to work for a company doing a similar job to II.I know a few of the II inspectors and have been told of the tremendous pressures that they are under to keep the value of the claims as low as possible. Couple this with the totally unrealistic number of daily calls,around 10 per inspector, requiring driving up to 200 miles per day,and the added pressure of pushing II samples as replacements. Having done the job myself,I don't see that they have the time to carry out a thorough investigation and do right by the insured. I have to say that I feel sorry for the inspectors who very often have to take the flack for a greedy and ruthless company. Insurance companies who use II must look to themselves for using the cheapest inspection service rather that the best.

dreamcathcher said...

I have not got so far as allowing Independant Inspections Ltd into my home. I made a claim over the last two weeks and a representative from my Insurance Company arrived took photographs and stateed that I would need a complete new wooden floor.She left a form stating that due to the fact her lap top was not working a written advice note. I was advised that I would be contacted by the above . Their name leads one to believe that they are a further inspection only company .... Yesterday I recieved an call from an unknow/with held number asking me if I was Mrs M . I confirmed and said oh you need to make an appointment to see me Thursday being good. NO! not unless I answered and confirmed who I was! Please, a stupid bored cold caller with no contact number expects me to give details !!! I think not staing I do not know who you are and this information is data protected. Without this information no appointment would be made she stated ? why because we do not know if you are you ??? You rang me ? Yes but I may not be the person I have stated to be ? why ? I advised the young caller that I would be placing the phone down until they could give me a return number and FULL name OF A PERSON WHO CONTACTED ME. The voice continued to bleat on stating that is how they opperated, I reminded her that is not the way I a customer does not opperate and said goodbye and placed the phone down. Contacting the claims number of my insurers I am giving some more cock and bull that I have to allow these people to assess the damage etc. No says me I have had a representative here taking pics and inspecting the floor. Now I am getting realy angry, so basicaly I am being told that I have to allow their company IIL to assess the damage and advise me of suppliers. Strangley enough I am able to this for myself and tell the voice that this is a con and I would rather have a small local family business do the work. I asked if his company operated or accepted back handers from these "Independent " companies? Having been told that I was to use this firm, I again refused and was advised that if I insisted I could but I would need 2Quotes and that is a problem why ? they can have three !!! I checked out my rights with the FSA and the Ombudsman site and believe I am correct ? Please advise me . Thank you

The Chief Executive said...

Dreamcatcher - Welcome to the world of Independent Inspections. Insurers seem to like them, because they help keep their costs low. By keeping costs low they can offer lower premiums and make bigger profits. However claimants here don't much seem to like II because they give unrealistic asessments and earn themselves commission into the bargain.

You have all the rights laid out under the T&C of your policy, backed by the might of the FSA Insurance Ombudsman service.

Your insurer is required to make good your loss, less any excess specified in your policy. If they refuse to do this you can ask the Insurance Ombudsman to arbitrate.

I suggest you get your 3 quotes - but you also need to comply with your insurer's request to let II assess the damage. Then I suggest you tell your insurer you are using the most reasonable of the 3 quotes and if they resist tell them you will go to the Ombudsman.

The Insurance company's contract with you is to make good your loss.

Anonymous said...

I have a question - for the first time I've had to make a claim due to a leaking radiator. about half of My lounge carpet was soaked. The II came out this week ( over a week after I put in claim) I was told he would have samples for me & it would all be sorted out. However he arrived - no samples but told me that he would issue a voucher to take to carpet right. I questioned this & said I had got carpet from a local independent retailer & would prefer this. He dismissed me & said this was only way. He then measured room - took a small cut of the carpet & told me that they would replace carpet/ underlay & fitting like for like on the crept. However the mandate has arrived & it is for only £300 of which we have to pay £ 100 excess to carpet right. Having looked on website this does not cover like for like / underlay & fitting. I have phoned insurance co who told me they would only cover 1/2 of underlay as the rest is still ok. It will then mean we have to find a match of underlay & there will be a line down the centre of our room where the two meet. No one seems to be budging & although I have raised a complaint they said there was nothing they could do. My question is can they only pay for 1/2 underlay but what happens if I now have to pay more to get a like for like carpet. I also have to arrange removal of damp carpet & underlay .

The Chief Executive said...

Anon (with the radiator leak claim)

Your insurer has already agreed the incident is covered by your policy. Your insurance is designed to make good your loss, not part of your loss. Do check your policy is 'new for old' and does not make a deduction for wear and tear.

If you do not agree with your insurer's offer of £300 you should get 3 independent quotes for the work - for example Carpet Right, John Lewis and your local independent retailer.

Ask them to quote to replace the carpet with a like for like type (same materials, same weight)all the underlay and removal and disposal of the old materials. The quote should also include delivery of the new carpet (some retailers make a charge for this).

Send your insurer copies of the quotes. If they still refuse to budge file a complaint with the Insurance Ombudsman Service at the Financial Services Authority. The service is free, and the Ombudsman will rule whether the insurer's offer is reasonable.

If your policy has a £100 excess you will have to pay this.

Let us know what happens. Good luck.

Anonymous said...

I am a carpet retailer and find the process of a replacing a carpet via II very frustrating. I will not be renewing my membership due to - 15% deduction from any mandate to be paid to the customers insurance company, a 0.5% deduction from the payment cheque for a handling charge (why? when we already pay membership) having to wait 45 days from the time of fitting to be paid? (why?) oh and not to mention the premium rate phone line which we HAVE to use.
So both the customer and retailer constantly lose out!

Anonymous said...

I have recently made a claim for my lounge carpet, II have valued the cost of replacement at £731 less £100 excess which I can use at their approved retailers, or if I take the cash settlement from the insurance co I will only receive £375!!! How can this be? I am very confused and when I asked the insurance co was told it is to do with them receiving a discount. But it is nearly a shortfall of double!!! I don't get it.

Anonymous said...

A representative from II has just been to assess flood damage to my carpet, he said they would clean it and if this is unssuccessful, they would replace it.
Apart from an extremely low valuation which I doubt will even cover the labour, what annoyed me was he said he wasn't allowed to tell me the dimensions of MY carpet and that it was a secret!! I questioned the reason for this and he wouldn't tell me. Makes me question anything he said and now don't trust them.
Of course, I can get my tape measure out but that's not the point!
Why wouldn't he give me the measurments he made?

Anonymous said...

Independent inspections dont give measurements as if there is any error and they give the sizes that you then take to a store leaves them liable for any errors in these measurements, they always suggest you get the retailer to measure so any errors in the sizes are picked up before any carpet is cut. If you ask them they will be able to provide you with square meterage to which they have based the cost on.

I feel this website is not the correct medium in which to vent these fustrations, if there is a problem with the company or there are any concerns on what is going on speak to them and they can explain what is what.

They are held under strict guidlines from all the insurers that they inspect on behalf of them put forward. They remain unbias and independent and work not in the favour of the insurer whilst still keeping costs down without comprimising the policyholders claim, as you can respect this puts them in a tight position in which they do their best to help and guide and allow enough to yourselves.

Anonymous said...

Independent inspections are unable to over ride the processes put in place by the insurers any processes and discounts on cash settlements etc are put in place by YOUR INRANCE COMPANY! All the settlements and processes are put in place by the insurance companies when they contract independent inspections to validate your claim.

Cthonus said...

Independent Inspections aren't fit for the purpose.

We had a water leak from the attic tank in July and we're still without a carpet.

First order - problem with colour. Didn't get back to us

Second order - sent out another inspector who remeasured the room then ensured carpet was available to order.

Fitters arrived a week later and confirmed carpet was too small for room.

Phoned insurance company who chased them up. Phoned back by a lady from II who assured me remeasured carpet would be with fitter on Tues 8th Oct.

Phoned instance company today - II have told them carpet has only just been sent out from the warehouse today.

I really really cannot impress upon anyone strongly enough not to trust these charlatans.

Anonymous said...

I'm an independent flooring retailer about to withdraw from II.
For 2014, the 'new deal' they are offering to me, after paying to advertise with them, is now the Mandate value less 25% (that's 10% management fee and 15% discount) then less 0.5% processing charge and then of course there is an enforced 92p minute phone call to obtain authorisation and a further call after fitting. These calls are not quick either!
So, a £1000 mandate ends up at around £700 after all deductions which would be our entire profit and then wait up to 60 days for payment..the final insult!
Not so many years back a deduction of 5% directly to an insurance company would be the norm. Greed has taken over even to the point where they try and cut their own members out of a job by supplying direct! This will do the consumer no favours as the retailer will be forced into jacking up their prices in order to make any margin at all.

Anonymous said...

We also are a small independent retailer and have now been forced to 'walk away' from getting involved in any insurance work involving independent inspections. We do not advertise with them, however, recently a client (we fitted the original carpet)had made an insurance claim and wanted us to do the work. They were told by independent inspections that they would have £5000 to spend if they went to Carpet Right as they were 'in the club' or £4,200 if the came to us - their local independent retailer. What chance do small independents have against a giant like II? It's abhorrent practice and should be unlawful.