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Ash
Ash, Solicitor
Category: Law
Satisfied Customers: 10916
Experience:  Solicitor with 5+ years experience
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I am a contractor carrying out water damage repair work

Resolved Question:

I am a contractor carrying out water damage repair work for a three separate homeowners in a block of flats. They are all insured by the same company who are covering the cost of the works. The insurance company's loss adjusters are aproving the quotes and appointing us as contractors and essential specify what is to be carried out.
The homeowners are shared leaseholders and the property is owned by a management company.
They state our contracts are with the homeowners.
Do we have a contract with the home owner or the insurance company/adjuster?
Submitted: 1 year ago.
Category: Law
Expert:  Ben Jones replied 1 year ago.

Hello, my name is***** am a qualified lawyer and it is my pleasure to assist you with your question today.

Expert:  Ben Jones replied 1 year ago.

Which party instructed the work to be carried out?

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
The homeowners sourced us, made the orignal call and arranged the viewing to discuss the work. The loss adjusters were sent the quotes, approved and appointed us as chosen contractors.
Expert:  Ben Jones replied 1 year ago.

OK, thank you for your response. I will review the relevant information and laws and will get back to you in a short while. There is no need to wait here as you will receive an email when I have responded. Also, please do not responded to this message as it will just push your questions to the back of the queue and you may experience unnecessary delays. Thank you.

Expert:  Ben Jones replied 1 year ago.

I have looked into your query in more detail but unfortunately it is not something I can assist with as I think there may be ancillary issues under property law. I will therefore ‘opt out’ and a colleague better placed to deal with the nature of your query should hopefully pick this up soon. Please do not reply in the meantime as that will just assign the question back to me and you will experience a delay. Thank you

Expert:  Ash replied 1 year ago.

Hello my name is ***** ***** I will help you with this.

Who instructed you, was it the homeowners?

Alex

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
As I stated before the homeowner made the first call to us and we arranged a site visit. We wrre aske dto qiuote and sent to the loss adjusters to be approved. They then approved it and said we can now arrange a start date.
This is what we received from them: "We are the loss adjusters dealing with claims water damage at xxxx house. Your quotation of 31 January 2016 in the sum of £x,xxx for Lxxx Wixxxx of Flat 1 has been approved and I have asked her to contact you to make arrangements to proceed.Arrangements can be made for payment by insurers direct to you upon receipt of your invoice once the work is complete."This followed for three properties in the same block in total. Once completed the insurer made payment to us.
Expert:  Ash replied 1 year ago.

Who accepted the quote - the loss adjuster acting for the insurer?

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
The loss adjuster acting on behalf of the insurer accepted the quote.Also, after the first flat (of three) was completed and paid, the loss adjuster unilaterally requested us to alter the 2nd and 3rd flat to include new work, issue a quote for that and then form one contract. We did this and the loss adjuster accepted the new quote. We completed the work on all three flats.
Expert:  Ash replied 1 year ago.

Ok - then its down to the insurer, they are acting as agent.

The homeowner didnt instruct you, they just got a quote.

The contracts are NOT with the homeowners, as they didnt ask you to do the work.

Your contract is with the insurer, as the loss adjusters were acting as their agents.
Can I clarify anything for you about this today please?
Alex

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
Thank you for this. Can you just clarify then that is the case from the outset rather than, but considering, the additional I added here on 20th July that the loss adjusters altered the job scope and ask for a new quotation directly? To my mind the original contract is with insurers and the alteration and request for new work further compounds that.
As our contract is with the Insurance company, as we had always understood, then Can we also assume then that any debt incurred by them is covered under Late Payment of Commercial Debt legislation?
Expert:  Ash replied 1 year ago.

Correct, I would agree. There was a new quote and therefore confirms the contract with the insurers.

The Late Payments of Commercial Debts (Interest) Act 1998 does apply

Does that clarify? Alex

Ash, Solicitor
Category: Law
Satisfied Customers: 10916
Experience: Solicitor with 5+ years experience
Ash and 3 other Law Specialists are ready to help you
Customer: replied 1 year ago.
Further to the responses above, that confirmed our understanding, we informed the loss adjutser that we maintain our conract is with the insurance and the adjusters are an agent of theirs.They responded stating that is not the case:
Loss adjuster: "Your contract for each of the properties is with the owner. Your quotes are correctly addressed to the owners as are your invoices.Our function as adjusters is to agree the extent of Insurers’ liability under the policy for the damage sustained. This may involve adding or excluding items to reflect the policy terms. Payments can be made to contractors directly only with the agreement of the Insured parties......"I would like to get some clarification before we either instruct a solictor (or a debt collections agency) to resolve this matter as the account remains unpaid.
Expert:  Ash replied 1 year ago.

That makes no difference, if they accepted it on behalf of the insurers.

Alex

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
They seem to belive that as we addressed invoices & quotes to the homeowners that fact makes a difference. We do not however, nor ever believed that.In that case they have no legal right to withold payment under their claim: "Payments can be made to contractors directly only with the agreement of the Insured parties......" Is that correct?I just want to be certain at this point as were are about to appoint addtional parties to act.
Expert:  Ash replied 1 year ago.

They were not instructed by the homeowners. The quote and invoice may be by the homeowner but who asked them to do the work?

Thats what it comes down to.

Alex

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
to confirm you say; "IF they accepted it on behalf of the insurers"Have I not established that they did?In their own wording they state that the quote has been 'approved' and asked "the homeowner to make arrangements to procceed.." with us.
Expert:  Ash replied 1 year ago.

I think you have. Alex

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
If possible I would like to clarify a further point if I may, The loss adjuster now claim that as all our invoices are addressed to the homeowner they can not be due by loss adjuster/insurance? We issued these addressed to the homeowners (as we did the quotes) to expect payment from the insurance for and on behalf of the homeowner they have insurance policies with.
Expert:  Ash replied 1 year ago.

They were instructed on behalf of the insurance company.

If in doubt sue the insurance company and name the homeowners as second defendant.

A Judge will find one way or another

Alex

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
Thank you. your advice and swiftness thus far as been an incredible help.
Expert:  Ash replied 1 year ago.

Happy to help. Alex

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
With respect to filing a claim against the insurance company - we have only had communication with the loss adjusters throughout (a global loss adjustment firm) and payments to us have been made a by an insurance broker. We do not have any detail or contact for the insurance company as they use so many agents, Can we claim against the loss adjuster or Do we simply request the insurance company details to file legal claim against?
Expert:  Ash replied 1 year ago.

Thats ok - they act on behalf of. You simply request those details yes. ALex

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
The loss adjusters have added that they are withholding payment (not recommending that the insurer pay) based upon so far no customer satisfacttion has been obtained from the homeowner.
They say they can not recommend payment until the homeowner has confirmed satisfaction and that we need to resolve that with the homeowner.
I am only concerned as our next step is to file a case, that being that this is a very large adjustment firm who surely must believe what they are putting in print to us but seems so obviously not correct to us;
"The contracts for the repairs at the three flats are between the flat owners/leaseholders and the contractor Bxxxxx xxxx. The quotations provided by the latter are all addressed accordingly as are the invoices
The function of the adjuster is to ascertain the extent of the liability of the Insurer for damage that has arisen. In order to assist the insured parties the adjuster will confirm to a contractor that costings are accepted or otherwise under the insurance.
Payment may be made directly to the contractor by Insurers but only with the agreement of the Insured parties. That has been the case for Flats 1 and 2. The payment for Flat 12 has not been made as yet because the owners have raised issues as to the quality of the works undertaken "
The section where they write "the function of the adjuster...." contradicts completely what they did. The request we received asking to entirely change the scope of work and request a new quotaiton, that I mentioned in this thread on 20th. Please advise if the above alters anyhting thus far, apologies this is a concern.