Devastated family whose house burned down on New Year’s Day dealt second blow as insurers say policy is void

August 13, 2018 10:56 am Published by

The Andrews family woke up on New Year’s Day to find their Somerset home engulfed in flames

A family whose home was ravaged by fire on New Year’s Day have been dealt a second devastating blow after their insurance company declared their policy void.

Carey Andrews lives at Syles Farm in Henstridge Marsh, Somerset with her mother Gaynor Pearson and her brother Theodore.

So far 2018 has not been an easy year for the family. They woke up on January 1 to find their precious home – where they have lived since 1993 – engulfed in flames.

Although fire crews extinguished the blaze the family’s home was ruined and they are trying to rebuild their lives.

But now their insurers have declared their home insurance policy void.

Ms Andrews has had to put off her return to university so that she can support her family. She said: “We’ve had no working boiler, and so no heating or hot water, for more than a month. We stayed with friends for the first two nights, and then stayed for four nights in a nearby pub. We knew that we couldn’t impose on relatives for weeks at a time. Theo is distraught, and that’s upset things at school. It’s been absolutely horrendous.”

The family held home insurance with Quoteline, which was underwritten by Pen Underwriters, based in London.

The family made a claim, and the company sent out a loss adjuster to examine the property to assess how much it would cost to fix the damage and rebuild the property.

The family and the insurance company have since been in dispute over the cost of rebuilding the property and its market value.

Pen Underwriters wrote to the family on February 1, stating: “Had we been aware of the true rebuilding cost of your property when we completed your quotation, we would have advised that we were unable to offer insurance cover as you did not meet the underwriting criteria for this product.”

The firm has subsequently declared the Andrews’ policy void and offered to reimburse them their premiums but not pay for the rebuilding of their home.

The family is now seeking legal advice and has requested further information from the insurance company with a view to taking formal action.

In their most recent letter to Pen Underwriting, dated February 12, they stated: “We consider repayment of (any or all) monthly premiums paid will not absolve your company of your legal obligations with respect to this matter.

“Such repayments are entirely unsolicited, unrequested and are not welcome.”

A spokesperson for Pen Underwriting said: “We had not formally received the family’s most recent letter, dated February 12.However, this correspondence has now been brought to the attention of our complaints department and will be handled in line with our official complaints procedure. Pen Underwriting will always offer to refund the premium paid on a voided policy, except in cases of fraud. We are unable to comment further on individual cases.”

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