Following some the worst civil unrest for many years with disturbing scenes of rioting, looting and malicious damage to business and homes, Black Country Solicitiors Addison O’Hare, have looked at the urgent implications of submitting a claim to your insures and your position where you carry a large excess, are underinsured or insured.
Anne Ward, Head of the Litigation Department advises those who have been affected by these recent events and recommends these following useful steps: -
• Immediately notify the Police and obtain a crime reference number is respect of any incident relating to the theft and/or damage caused by malicious persons or arson
• As soon as you become aware of any potential loss or damage, contact your insurer/broker immediately with as much detail as possible. Most policies today are ‘all risks’ so you should be covered. However, everything depends on your policy wording so look at this carefully. Do not just look at ‘riot’ consider all relevant perils
• Civil Commotion
• Damage Caused by Malicious Persons.
Do not assume that damage has been caused by riot just because your business has been looted or destroyed by fire/arson during recent events. The Home Officer has not yet declared this a ‘riot’.
Your own policy will need to be reviewed for the specific timescale. However a requirement to notify insurers within 7 days is common in relation to this type of event. Non-compliance could cause issues with the acceptance of your claim so by ensuring that you notify your insurer immediately, and certainly well within 7 days, you will be minimising potential obstacles.
• Under the Riot (Damages) Act 1886 householders and businesses who were not insured could claim against the English police authorities for the costs of loss or damage. Insurers might also seek to recoup losses that they suffer as a result of the riots. Effectively, the Act makes police authorities liable for damage to buildings and their contents if the riot occurs under the Public Order Act, even if there has been no negligence on the part of the Police.
Please note that the Riot (Damages) Act 1886 provides a 14 day period for a claim to be lodged with the relevant police authorities, who have a responsibility, under the Act, for damage and losses caused by riot.
• You could well find there is some debate with the authorities as to whether all of the recent issues are deemed to be defined as events of ‘riot’. The important action is to ensure that your insurers have been notified, (as well as the Police), as your claim should be handled by your Insurers in the usual manner.
• Vehicles should be covered if damage is caused by riot unless you self insure, carry a large excess or only carry third party cover.
• If you have Business Interruption Cover, there may be an extension to the cover for losses arising where there is no damage to the insured premises but trade is affected due to prevention or hindrance of access as a consequence of accidental damage in the vicinity or disruption. If in doubt, contact your broker immediately.
• If a claim is successfully made against the insurance policy, it will be the insurers/loss adjusters who will lodge a claim against the police authorities for the recovery of the outlay, albeit that supporting information and documentation will be required from you.
If you need further guidance or advice, please contact Mrs Anne Ward at Addison O’Hare Solicitors in Walsall: 01922 725515
Member since: 10th July 2012
My name is Alex Murray. I am passionate about what goes on in and around Walsall. I hope you find my blog to be interesting and thought provoking. Please feel free to give me your feedback.