RegulationNov 11 2015

Theft victim slams Fos over insurance bungle

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Theft victim slams Fos over insurance bungle

A man has accused Fos of consistently thwarting his attempt to achieve justice over a seven-year period in relation to an insurance policy.

Hampshire resident Kevin Arrowsmith first became involved in his protracted battle in February 2007 after an alleged theft from his property by contractors he had employed to carry out building work meant he had to seek alternative accommodation for a fortnight.

But after attemping to claim on his insurance for the alleged theft he was told by his provider that he had no insurance.

In 2008 he took the issue to Fos. However, this prompted years of confusion between his insurers, the ombudsman and its adjudicators about whether Mr Arrowsmith’s policy had been cancelled and whether the policy was his or his father’s.

Mr Arrowsmith even accused Fos of fraud, lodging a complaint to the Hampshire Constabulary in 2009 and was given a crime reference number.

In 2010, Fos then blamed Mr Arrowsmith himself, accusing him in a letter of supplying “contradictory” information which “hampered” the consideration of his case.

He was also told by a Fos adjudicator in 2012 that despite his having provided evidence from his bank account showing regular insurance payments, this did not prove the provider was wrong when it claimed he was not insured.

Eight years and more than 100 A4 pages of documentation later, a Fos decision note from 19 October 2015 admitted that Mr Arrowsmith was indeed insured but said the provider, Lloyds Bank, was unaware of the policy as it was held with subsidiary Cheltenham & Gloucester.

Fos claimed another policy had been set up in branch in 2002 “without Mr Arrowsmith’s knowledge” but was cancelled shortly after.

In his letter, Craig Hart, lead adjudicator at Fos, acknow-ledged: “This incident as a whole has left him with significant and long-lasting health problems.”

It also accepted that Lloyds had been “confused” between Mr Arrowsmith and his father. Fos told Lloyds to compensate Mr Arrowsmith £1,000, reimburse him for the cost of two weeks’ accommodation and add 8 per cent interest a year from the date he paid for it until such time as Lloyds pays his settlement.

It is understood that Lloyds has not yet responded to the ombudsman’s decision.

However, Mr Arrowsmith has said that, based on Fos’s technical notes, which state that compensation of £10 an hour can take into account the time a consumer has spent to put things right, he is owed a six-figure sum.

He said: “Even though Fos eventually found in my favour, it refuses to follow its published ‘putting things right’ procedures, so I have not received my actual receipted losses or all my insured peril.