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F E Smith
F E Smith, Advocate
Category: Law
Satisfied Customers: 9792
Experience:  I have been practising for 30 years.
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I have 2 questions about my claim of stolen motorcycle to my

Resolved Question:

Hi, I have 2 questions about my claim of stolen motorcycle to my insurer
Assistant: Where are you located? It matters because laws vary by location.
Customer: London, England
Assistant: Has anything been filed or reported?
Customer: Everything has been filed properly, it is more like a settlement dispute questions
Assistant: Anything else you want the solicitor to know before I connect you?
Customer: can I proceed?
Submitted: 3 months ago.
Category: Law
Expert:  F E Smith replied 3 months ago.

Hello - please go ahead and explain your questions - thanks

Customer: replied 3 months ago.
My motorcycle has stolen 10 miles away from my home address, in an afternoon. The value of the bike was £8,219.
However, when I purchased the insurance I stated I keep the vehicle overnight at a garage, but I actually keep it in a van located in a private driveway at my home address. Based on that, the insurer said they will apply proportionality of %20.31. I have made a complain that the proportionality is just not fair, but they insist. In reality, could they actually do that?
Customer: replied 3 months ago.
Here is the communication from the insurer:Mr Katoglou,
I am sorry that you have found it necessary to complain. We aim to provide a high level of customer satisfaction, and we take complaints very seriously. Please accept my sincere apologies for any inconvenience caused.
I note your complaint in relation to the decision and amount of proportionality applied to your claim following the theft of your motorbike.
I can see that you have reported the theft of your bike on the above date, we have instructed our agents 4th Dimension to investigate and validate your claim.
During the investigation 4th Dimension have requested information to clarify where the bike is normally kept, you have advised that the bike was kept in a garage however upon checking and requesting evidence you have been unable to verify the garage and at a later point accepted you did not have a garage and the bike was actually kept in a van.
Due to the discrepancy the information was referred to the Underwriter to consider the risk as the disclosed policy information was incorrect, they have returned to advise they would still accept the risk however it would have resulted in additional terms and a higher premium.
At this stage I should refer you to the Consumer Insurance Act:
· It is the duty of the consumer to take reasonable care not to make a misrepresentation to the insurer….
· If the insurer would have entered into the consumer insurance contract (whether the terms relating to matters other than the premium would have been the same or different), but would have charged a higher premium, the insurer may reduce proportionately the amount to be paid on a claim.
· Reduce proportionality means that the insured need pay on the claim only x% of what it would otherwise have been under an obligation to pay under the terms of the contract, where – X = Premium actually charged / Higher premium x 100.
I should also point out the policy terms and conditions:
Misrepresentation
Where we identify misrepresentation or fraud, or any attempt to gain an advantage under this insurance to which you are not entitled, we may apply one or more of the remedies listed below:
· Reject or pay only a proportion of your claim.
I have considered the evidence presented and you have originally disclosed the bike would be kept in a garage yet upon review you have since accepted this is not the case and actually keep the bike in a van, I feel the question in respect of where a bike is kept is clear and therefore consider a misrepresentation has taken place.
Furthermore the Underwriters have clearly evidenced that if they were aware of the actual bike location they would have accepted the risk albeit at a higher premium.
After further consideration I consider the decision to apply proportionality in this instance is fair and also the amount is reasonable as per the calculations under the Consumer Insurance Act, I therefore regret I am unable to accept your complaint on this occasion.
I await your further advices so I can arrange settlement of your claim.
I hope the foregoing will assist in resolving matters, although should you require any further assistance, please do not hesitate to contact me.
Alternatively, should you remain dissatisfied you may be entitled to pursue your complaint further with the Complaints Department at Lloyds. They can be contacted at Fidentia House, Walter Burke Way, Chatham Maritime, Chatham, Kent. ME4 4RN. Email:***@******.***
Details of Lloyd’s complaints procedures are set out in a leaflet “Your Complaint - How We Can Help” available at www.lloyds.com/complaints and are also available from the above address. If you remain dissatisfied after Lloyd’s has considered your complaint, you may have the right to refer your complaint to the Financial Ombudsman Service.
The Financial Ombudsman Service is an independent service in the UK for settling disputes between consumers and businesses providing financial services. You can find more information on the Financial Ombudsman Service at www.financial-ombudsman.org.uk. Alternatively, they can be contacted at Financial Ombudsman Service, Exchange Tower, Harbour Exchange Square, London. E14 9GE. Email: ***@******.***
Kind regards
Justin Rees
Customer Relations Consultant
Customer Relations
ERS
http://www.ashawebsite.co.uk/clients/ers/img-red/ers-pin-stripes-red.gif
T 0344(###) ###-####X 1816
www.ers.com
Customer: replied 3 months ago.
Is it normal to pick up on home address storage situation when it is irrelevant because the bike was stolen broad daylight miles away from home address?
Customer: replied 3 months ago.
Just a note, this is my storage situation:- The motorcycle had been stored in a locked van at my home address.
- The owner of the van is myself (number plate: MT02LFZ).
- I had always used a large Oxford BOSS Alarm Lock with a heavy duty chain to lock my motorcycle when in the van.
- The motorcycle spent 8-10 hours of every working day in a secure underground gated garage at the place of my work (50-52 Wharf Road, N1 7EU).
- The van at my home address has a GPS/GSM tracker that detects movement.
- There is a CCTV Camera watching over the van at all times.
- The camera is connected to my Internet router, and I have access to it 24/7 from anywhere on my mobile phone app.
- When GPS tracker detects movement, I receive an SMS and I check the camera footage.Please let me know if you require any more information. You will find photographs and a sample video footage from the CCTV camera on this link (please let me know if it doesn't work).https://drive.google.com/open?id=0B4EqdgzXmdGFUkl1MzEzV1Y4MUk
Expert:  F E Smith replied 3 months ago.

Thank you for the extra information. I’m going to be brutally honest with you and tell you that I’m surprised the insurer is agreeing to pay out at all. I am not saying that I cannot guarantee that you would not have a valid claim with the ombudsman however.

This term whereby the vehicle must be garaged is not at all uncommon on motorcycle policies in particular.

Assuming that you did have a garage and it was kept there at night and the motorcycle was stolen during the day, 10 miles away and the theft therefore was nothing whatsoever to do with whether the motorcycle was garaged or not then your claim has nothing to do with your nondisclosure.

Your nondisclosure was however deliberate. It was not accidental. I can tell you now that if your vehicle had been stolen from home, even in the locked van, I would be very surprised if it paid out and I would be very surprised if an ombudsman upheld your claim.

However, it wasn’t stolen from the drive or from the van, it was stolen 10 miles away.

If the insurer simply refuses to pay out the full value, then you have no alternative than to either sue the insurer or refer the matter to the Financial Ombudsman Service.

Although the insurer has said that they would take this insurance on, even if you didn’t have a garage, they would have wanted a much higher premium. However in your circumstances, the claim has nothing to do with the garaging. Exaggerating to prove the point, it would almost be like refusing to pay out your theft claim because you failed to disclose three penalty points was breathing! (Yes, that has cropped up).

The CCTV, the van, the tracker, the type of alarm lock, et cetera et cetera is not relevant. You said it was parked in the garage and it wasn’t.

I’m afraid that you have no alternative here to complain to the Financial Ombudsman. I think it’s 50-50 that the ombudsman will uphold your complaint because whilst the substance of the claim has nothing to do with the nondisclosure, it was blatant nondisclosure.

.Can I clarify anything else for you?

Please take a moment to look at the top right hand corner of the page and rate my service by clicking one of the stars at the top of the screen. It’s important you use the rating service because that gives me credit. It doesn’t just give me a pat on the head! All you need to do is press Submit. Thank you. If you still need any point clarifying, I will still reply because the thread does not close.

Best wishes.

FES.

F E Smith and 3 other Law Specialists are ready to help you
Customer: replied 3 months ago.
Thank you for the comprehensive answer. Much appreciated.