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Consumer - Tina Tackles! - Insurance

Tuesday, 9 February 2010

All year we've been getting so many emails, calls, facebook messages and texts with questions for Tina about all things consumer. Until now Tina has answered them to the best of her ability and allowed the viewer to try to remedy their issue with Tina's advice.

Now we are taking it a step further. Every Tuesday Tina will be taking on one viewer's consumer query. The viewer's will be chosen on the basis that they have tried everything except the small claims court and still haven't received a satisfactory conclusion to their consumer dilemma.

Tina will step in on behalf of the viewer and make contact with the company/business to try to resolve the dispute.


This week
Stephen Gleeson tried to change the rebuild cost of his home for his home insurance based on information Tina had given viewers on The Afternoon Show. Stephen's bank refused to accept that his rebuild costs had come down and he was getting nowhere with them. Tina then intervened.

Appeal
In the New Year every Tuesday Tina will be taking on one viewer's consumer issue in the hope that she can investigate further and get some answers.

So if you would like Tina to take on a consumer query, complaint or puzzling question please contact us.

You can send your letters to:

TINA TACKLES
The Afternoon Show

RTE
Donnybrook
Dublin 4

Or

Send an email to emails@theafternoonshow.ie


. Tina Leonard, our consumer expert
. Stephen Gleeson, Savvy Consumer

Insurance Query One

Stephen Gleeson, Savvy Consumer

The Query:

Hi Tina,

I saw your recent item on reducing Insurance costs as featured on RTE's The
Afternoon Show.

As per one of your recommendations, I reduced my Building Sums Insured
costs down to €154,000. This was the figure calculated as per the Irish
Architects website you mentioned and it also tallied with the figure given
when I used the rebuild cost calculator on the Quinn Insurance website.
For the calculation, I used the official Valuation price on my house as per
the banks own initial valuation which was €230,000.

I moved my home insurance from FBD to Quinn in October.

I sent the bank(BOI) my new insurance schedule from Quinn, and they have
now wrote to me noting that the building sum insured is less than the value
obtained at the inception of the loan which they claim should be €190,000.
They have asked me to contact Quinn and request them to forward a revised
schedule noting the increase in cover to a min of €190,000.
They will not update their files with the new cover until then.

Are BOI within their rights to do this? A rebuild of €190,000 seems rather
excessive.
I have already paid for my insurance policy in full and want to avoid
having to pay additional cash for Quinn to revise my policy.
I would really appreciate your advice on this as I don't know if I should be
asking the bank or the Insurance company what my entitlements are.

Advice:

The Irish Insurance Federation confirmed that home insurance is based on the re-build cost of your property and not the market cost.

They also advise to revalue your home insurance policy as per the exact re-build costs and suggest visiting the website of the Society of Chartered Surveyors for help with the calculations (www.scs.ie) .
+ Note: the SCS says the calculation information on their site has not been updated since March 09 and will be updated again in March this year.

Stephen did nothing wrong and assuming his re-build costs were adequate his policy should not have been refused by BoI.


The Response:

"Bank of Ireland is happy to accept a revised reinstatement value, once this figure can be verified. To date, we have sought independent validation of the proposed reinsurance value put forward by the customer. We recognise that rebuilding costs have recently reduced. In light of this, we are currently reviewing our internal procedures to support customer requests in this regard."

The bank says they will be in contact with Stephen to resolve this.


Insurance Query Two

Nicola emailed the show

The Query:

I have just changed car insurance companies. My old insurance company sent me out the necessary details along with my No Claims Discount form. I accidentally tore up the form and was told it would cost 30 euro to send me out a copy. I thought this was a ridiculous amount to charge and refused to pay it but I need the form.
I don't know what to do now and I would greatly appreciate some advice.

The Response:

I'm afraid Nicola will have to pay.

The only legal obligation on insurance companies in relation to no claims forms, is that when requested, they must be sent to the consumer within 15 days.

In general companies do not charge for this but the company in question is a broker and so there is nothing stopping them from charging an administration fee.

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