Balcombes “Fire Power”

“With Balcombes ‘Fire Power’ on your side you can level the playing pitch in favour of your clients”  said Jim Flannery, Director, Balcombes Claims Management, speaking to Insurance Brokers. 

Unfortunately fires occur every day of the year.  Provided the home or business owner has adequate insurance in place, a full recovery is possible.

However, it may not be as easy as ……1,2,3.  Insurers outsource the handling of the claim to Loss Adjusters who are experts in policy wordings, and experts in negotiation.  They are “instructed” by Insurers to act on their behalf and their fees are paid by the insurer.  So no prize for guessing whose side they are on!  Yet some people naively think the loss adjuster appointed by the insurer is there to help them.

Home or business owners on the other hand are not experts in the small print of the policy and are not experts in negotiation or reinstatement. They are therefore at a huge disadvantage.

‘Regulated entities’ are obliged by the Financial Regulator, in the Consumer Protection Code 2012, to inform claimants that they may appoint a Public Loss Assessor to represent their interests.  This is generally complied with, but is often done in a way that makes it seem unnecessary or will cost the policyholder money and may not materially affect the outcome of the claim!!! Insurers and Loss Adjusters know that this untrue so how unfair and unethical is that?

Balcombes have been representing policyholders in Ireland since 1971.  Most of our business is from word-of-mouth referrals from happy clients and insurance brokers.  We are experts in the small print of the policy.  We are experts in the damage that can be sustained by fire, smoke and water (which sometimes may not be readily apparent to the inexperienced observer). We are expert in negotiating a settlement which will ensure the recovery of the full entitlement under the terms of the policy.  The level of professional service and support through the process (not to mention the outcome), will more than justify the fee charged by Balcombes.

Insurance Companies take ‘claim notification’ telephone calls from clients who are reporting a fire in their property (when you eventually get through their call answering system).  They will make all the sympathetic noises they can, but ultimately after taking all the details, they want to get the caller off the phone as soon as possible and will generally say “we’ll get a loss adjuster to contact you and we’ll send you out a claim form – just get an estimate for the repairs and the loss adjuster will deal with it”. 

This is about as useful as an ash-tray on a motorbike!

How can a home or business owner know what to do;  to document the full scope of their loss and damage, not to mind agreeing it with a Loss Adjuster, and negotiate a fair settlement within the terms of the policy?  There will be many questions regarding what can be salvaged and repaired and what should be replaced.  Policyholders need advice and support to get it right.  Otherwise they are leaving themselves wide open.

Most people have never experienced the trauma and sense of shock after a fire, and would not know how to go about claiming for the damage.  They can feel overwhelmed.  As well as  trying to keep their lives going, with all the practical issues and urgent decisions that need to be made, they don’t know where to start compiling claim details.  It is like asking someone who has never had any financial or accounting training to audit a company’s books of accounts or submit a tax return, or for someone to represent themselves in a Court of Law…or to ask the three little pigs to build a house to keep the wolf out! i.e. they may not get it right the first time!

Even with a builder’s estimate for repairs, what about the contents or all risks cover, alternative accommodation, Local Authority requirements, fire brigade charges etc?   It is easy to see how weeks and months could go by before the claim submission could be completed. Even then many items could be overlooked.

Balcombes are Ireland’s leading firm of Public Loss Assessors and have the interests of  our consumers at heart.  Our mission, once appointed, is to get the claim settled as quickly and fairly as possible for the maximum settlement to ensure the policyholder is not left out of pocket.   We know what the policy covers.  We know how to compile, submit and negotaite property claims in a professional way to ensure a sucessful outcome.  We know the way the system works.  With Balcombes ‘Fire Power’ on your side, we can ensure a level playing field, and a full recovery.



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