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UKSolicitorJA
UKSolicitorJA, Solicitor
Category: Property Law
Satisfied Customers: 4312
Experience:  English solicitor with over 12 years experience
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I am the executor of my mothers estate. On her death, we

Customer Question

I am the executor of my mother's estate.

On her death, we noticed her jewellery had been stolen, much given to her by our late father, and of sentimental value to my mother.

The insurers have accepted the claim, but offered replacement jewellery in the form of vouchers.

As this voucher replacements won't have the same sentimental value, as executors, we have requested a cash settlement in order to wind up the estate.

The insurers have said this:

"For your information, the settlement we normally offer is as follows:

Personal Jewellery Service – We arrange for our sales representative to visit you in the UK to offer jewellery up to the value of the claim.
Signet card – This is a store can that is accepted at Ernest jones, Leslie Davies and H Samuels and can be used in store and online.
Aurum card - This is a store can that is accepted at Goldsmiths, Mappin & Webb and Watches of Switzerland and can be used in store and online.
Gemcard – This is a store card accepted by over 1800 jewellers across the UK but can only be used in store.
A full list of the jewellers that accept it can be found at www.lossmanagement.co.uk/shops.

The replacement value of the jewellery items is £xxxx, but if you prefer the cash settlement, then you would receive a discounted amount."

Do we have to settle for a lesser amount in cash, if they have agreed the value of the claim?

Regards,
Submitted: 3 years ago.
Category: Property Law
Expert:  UKSolicitorJA replied 3 years ago.
Hello,

You need to check the policy wording to see if the insurers have discretion over such matters and whether they are allowed to offer store vouchers in lieu of cash.

I suspect that the insurers have discretion here and that they receive discounted vouchers from the stores which is why the cash value being offered is less than the vouchers.

Can I help further?

UKSolicitorJA and other Property Law Specialists are ready to help you
Customer: replied 3 years ago.
Thanks for that.
I am looking at notes from the ombudsman, and note as the insured can't be replaced, then cash should be offered as an alternative ... Or do I wrongly? I can't see that there should be any deduction for not accepting vouchers?

repair, replace or cash-

Most household policies now provide "new-for-old" cover but leave it to the insurer (not the policyholder) to decide whether the claim should be settled by repair, replacement, reinstatement or cash settlement. We take the view that the insurer must exercise this power reasonably, in the circumstances of the individual case. This has a number of implications for both parties.

Where insurers opt for repair, we consider they have a duty to explain the implications of any choices made by either party. If the repairer is chosen by the insurer - or its agents (such as loss adjusters) - then it is normally the insurer who will be liable to make good any deficiencies in the repair.

Where a policyholder insists on a particular repairer carrying out the work, then it is the policyholder who will generally be responsible for the quality of the work. This does not mean that every repairer who has provided a claimant with an estimate will be regarded as the claimant's chosen contractor. We have considered complaints where the insurer told the policyholder to obtain estimates and the policyholder sought the loss adjuster's assistance in doing so. In these circumstances, we have concluded that the insurer, rather than the policyholder, was liable for the repairer's shortcomings.

Even if the policyholder chose the repairer entirely independently, the insurer will be responsible for rectifying deficiencies in the work if it or its agents "controlled" the repairer, for example by requiring the repairer to cut his costs or to use certain materials or parts. In those circumstances, the repairer can no longer be regarded as the policyholder's agent.

Opting for "replacement" is only a reasonable option on the insurer's part if the object claimed for can be replaced. If the object is antique jewellery, for example, then it is not open to the insurer to insist the claimant buys a modern replacement from a chain shop. Similar issues arise whenever the replacement options are limited. It may, for example, be unreasonable to limit a policyholder's choice of replacement to a particular retailer.

Policyholders should be allowed to choose where they purchase a replacement and they are entitled to a cash settlement if they cannot find an acceptable alternative. In such circumstances, we would not regard it as reasonable for the insurer to make a deduction from the cash settlement to represent any discount it would have got if the policyholder had bought a replacement from one of the insurer's nominated suppliers. Nor would it necessarily be appropriate for the insurer to offer vouchers to the policyholder. If the option of replacement is not available, then the only way in which the insurer can indemnify a claimant is by a cash settlement.

In some cases, policyholders may not wish to purchase a replacement for the damaged or stolen goods. This may be, for example, because their circumstances have changed, or the object had sentimental value. Where this is the case, we will normally ask the insurer to agree a cash settlement.
Expert:  UKSolicitorJA replied 3 years ago.
Thank you Keith,

I would suggest that you send the Financial Ombudsman's notes to the insurers and point out that the jewellery cannot be replaced and as such they should offer full cash settlement in lieu of the vouchers.

If they refuse to do so, you will have to complain to the insurer following its complaints procedure and if they still do not agree to give full cash settlement, you may then take the matter further to the Finnacial Ombudsman.

Hope this clarifies
Customer: replied 3 years ago.
Thank you for that.
As you will know, as executor, I am obliged to get the best settlement I can for the beneficiaries?

Regards,

Customer: replied 3 years ago.

Claim now sorted, thank you!