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Joshua
Joshua, Lawyer
Category: Law
Satisfied Customers: 26069
Experience:  LL.B (Hons), Higher Prof. Dip. Law & Practice
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My issue is complex. Briefly: My parents had a bedroom

Resolved Question:

My issue is complex.
Briefly:
My parents had a bedroom fire in 2013 due to electrical fault, they were in their 80s, their house is full of antiques and quality furniture.
Lloyds insurance notified by my father first thing the following morning.
Day later a mandate form was sent which my father signed, he thought it was from Lloyds having never claimed for anything before.
Day after this 2 men turned up at house, my parents thought both were LA from Lloyds. One of the men he later found out was from AMPM (now Public Loss Adjusting Company Ltd).
My parents had unknowingly assigned AMPM to handle the claim by signing the mandate form.
Both LA stood in the dark burnt out room with my elderly parents and ‘jotted’ down items that they could see. Neither LA showed my parents this so called list or sat down and went through it with them.
My mother repeatedly referred to her Indian rug, bought for £200 in 1965, insurance policy was new for old, current value of replacement rug in excess of £3000.
LA from AMPM did not communicate with parents, no inventory was given or offered either verbally or written at any time.
At the time (from emails I obtained) the LA from Lloyds reduced all values of items considerably, parents never shown itemised inventory.
5 months later when my deaf mother was on her own, LA from AMPM phoned and offered her settlement figure, my mother did not know this was a final sum and accepted it, she couldn’t understand what was being said.
She phoned me to say insurance had paid them something, under £2000 for items worth in excess of £8000.
I called AMPM was told that LA was not around, spoke to someone else, got evidence of items including indian rug, was told it would be sorted.
Lloyds would not increase amount.
I asked for photos of items allegedly taken by both LA at first visit (parents witnessed photos being taken), none were shown to me. I took photos a week after fire when I went to see my parents, these were the only photos I have seen to this day, I would have been more thorough in my photos if I had known these would serve as the ONLY evidence for damaged/destroyed items.
I sent the photos to AMPM. An independent LA from AMPM was assigned to look at issues I had raised.
Book cabinet in bedroom was supposed to have been cleaned, my father had over 300 books and needed to store them whilst cabinet was cleaned, paid £200 for boxes, never got this back. Lloyds paid AMPM for full restoration – this did not happen. Through my pursuing this for over 1 year since the fire, my father was eventually reimbursed with amount paid to restoration company who failed to do work, I believe that if I had not pursed this, restoration company would have pocketed money.
It was agreed by Lloyds that carpets should also have been replaced in hall, stairs and landing due to smoke damage, AMPM were given money from Lloyds for new carpets, to date carpets have never been replaced.
Original LA from AMPM was sacked according to independent LA for the way he handled my parents claim.
Lloyds insurance contacted by me again, they paid my father an extra £500 approx for items they had ‘missed’ in the original inventory. I obtained a copy of AMPM inventory, strippers inventory (who stripped the room) and Lloyds inventory, none of them matched. The indian rug was listed as indian carpet (describing as cheap bargain basement carpet) a genuine Lloyd Loom ottoman was listed as Fabric/wicker chest.
Over the past year the replacement window which my father paid extra for to be double glazed has broken, the panes have blown so it impossible to see through the window, over the winter the wind howled through the window as it was not fitted properly and it does not lock or close making it a security risk. My 87 year old father sleeps next to this window.
I have written and emailed AMPM regarding all of the above issues but get fobbed off each time saying Martin Block, legal director only works 2 days a week and he is always in a meeting on the day I call .
I have all emails and other correspondence since I got involved in July 2013.
The main issues are:
How did AMPM get details of the fire in the first place when the only people who know were Lloyds insurance and the fire brigade?
Why did they not take adequate photos and details of my parent’s antiques and lost items including expensive rug & Lloyd Loom, they had to reply on my crude phone photos to get evidence of items?
Why have they failed to chase up the window company to organise replacement under conditions of guarantee?
I have sent an LBA from Debt Guard but thus far had no response. I am considering going to small claims court to get value of carpets and replacement window for my father( total estimated value £2400).
AMPM have changed their name since my parents signed the mandate, I also requested a copy of this mandate but have not yet been shown a copy.
Please contact me for further information.
Katie MacLellan
Submitted: 2 years ago.
Category: Law
Expert:  Joshua replied 2 years ago.
Hello and thank you for your question. I will be very pleased to assist you. I'm a practising lawyer in England with over 10 years experience. For the avoidance of any doubt from what you say above you are satisfied that your parents appointed the loss adjusters to act on their behalf as opposed to the loss adjusters acting on the insurers behalf please?I note you have sent them a letter before action. Have your parents actually made a formal complaint to date (as opposed to informal complaints)?
Customer: replied 2 years ago.

My parents were not aware of appointing the LA (AMPM) until they arrived at their house with the LA from Lloyds, my father had completed the mandate form sent in the post thinking it was from Lloyds and he thought Lloyds had appointed AMPM. No one explained the process and AMPM refuse to respond when my father asked to have a copy of the mandate sent to him.

Yes a formal letter of complaint was sent to AMPM in 2014.

Expert:  Joshua replied 2 years ago.
Many thanks. Did they respond to the letter? If they did what further steps were taken following their response?
Customer: replied 2 years ago.

No they did not respond, I emailed and phoned them and I had a short conversation with Martin Block followed by en email. I referred the matter to the FOS but they said they had no regulatory power or enforcement authority over this company. They said I could refer Lloyds insurance to them but the issue was really with AMPM although Lloyds did fail to take adequate photos, details etc of lost items in the initial visit.

Expert:  Joshua replied 2 years ago.
Katie. Thank you very much for that. with your permission, I will try to address all the questions you raised in your first post and then make some general observations. many insurers have a relationship with loss adjusters and will pass on details of claims to loss adjusters in the event that the loss adjuster is able to act for the client in circumstances the insurer feels this is appropriate. When they do, insurance policies should provide that the insurer will cover the loss adjusters fees and there must be a provision in the policy documentation whereby your parents agree for the details to be passed on in this way stop this is obviously in small print and is unlikely to necessarily have been known to your parents. Loss adjusters when they do their job properly can play a very important role but of course here, they appear on the face of what you say to a fallen very short of a competent service. Neither of us can say why they did not take adequate photographs. Clearly part of the role is to record evidence to support the claim and failure to do so would appear on the face of it to amount to negligence and no doubt this is one of the many questions you have put to them and which requires an answer. a similar position exists in respect of their failure to chase window fitting-again on the face of it this would appear to amount to negligence. I have checked the company's credentials may do appear to be authorised and regulated by the financial conduct authority (authorisation no. 515147 - Public Loss Adjusting Group Ltd) and as such, they do fall within the jurisdiction of the financial ombudsman by virtue of the Financial Services and Markets Act 2000. I'm therefore confused in respect of the financial ombudsman's advice to you which is incorrect. Of course, this advice related to the previous company and I cannot see whether they were authorised at the time by the financial conduct authority or FSA as it was then, and if they were not, I cannot see how they can undertake their work without being authorised, this may account for the ombudsman's earlier advice. However, whatever the case then, they are regulated now and the Financial Ombudsman has authority to determine a complaint. For the avoidance of doubt I have just contacted the loss adjuster's regulator CILA who has confirmed the firm is regulated by CILA and that the Financial Ombudsman has authority and there is no obscure exemption just to ensure there was nothing I was unaware of which I did not think was the case. accordingly, based upon what you say you would appear or more to the point, it would appeal parents would have the basis of the complaint the negligence against the loss adjuster. There are therefore two approaches that can be taken. A complaint which is then referred to the financial ombudsman or a claim in the County Court for negligence. because the financial ombudsman service is free and non-binding upon your parents, most individuals prefer to avail themselves of this opportunity before considering action in the County Court. As I'm sure you are aware, the process that must be followed is a letter of formal complaint must be sent in the name of your parents, that there is nothing stopping you from writing it for them, to the company making it clear it is a formal complaint. The company must respond to the letter in accordance with a complaints procedure a copy of which they must provide to you. If they failed to respond to all your parents are not satisfied with the response, you can at that stage refer the matter to the financial ombudsman who has authority to determine the complaints. If in the unlikely event the ombudsman advises you again that they do not have authority, you may refer them to the above authorisation number and the above legislation as authority for their competence to determine the complaint. As you will know, the decision of the ombudsman is binding upon the company though not upon your parents. If you remain unsatisfied with the ombudsman's decision, the matter can be referred to the County Court by way of issuing a claim. The simplest way to do so is by using the courts online issuing service:https://www.moneyclaim.gov.uk/web/mcol/welcome be wary limitation periods which apply which of three years from the date of discovering the negligence. Based on the dates you provide, you are well within time at present but take care not to allow the three year anniversary to creep up on you. I hope the above is of assistance? If you have no further questions for now I should be very grateful if you would kindly take a moment to click to rate my service to you today or just reply back to let me know if the above is helpful. Your feedback is important to me. If there is anything else I can help with please reply back to me I'd be very grateful
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