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September 2019
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Ballerinas, high jumpers and super-detectives

 

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Executive Hire News › Archives › September 2019 › In the Spirit of Crosshire : Ballerinas, high jumpers and super-detectives

In the Spirit of Crosshire : Ballerinas, high jumpers and super-detectives

Rental Rate Roy encounters unexpected difficulties in settling an insurance claim.

Our industry is not the easiest to ply one’s trade in, and those of us who survive must be fleet of foot and nimble enough to pirouette and bend with the dexterity and flexibility of a prima donna ballerina or Olympic high jumper to satisfy our ever-more demanding customers. We all go that extra mile to delight our clients in the hope that they will be satisfied enough to: (a) pay for our services, and (b) favour us with future business.

One way in which our company endeavours to assist our customers is in offering insurance from a well-known manufacturer for those who either hire so infrequently that it is not worth them adding it to their policy, or if they are a private individual would not normally need it. This not only helps our customers, but also gives us the peace of mind that we, as a company, are covered. In fact, we make a very small margin on the policy to cover our administration costs. We diligently, fairly and, above all, honestly record all of the transactions that we add this insurance to, informing the manufacturer providing the cover on a monthly basis, and then transferring the agreed collected funds in a timely fashion.

I labour the point ‘fairly’ because, fellow hire industry chums, I can’t help but feel that the ‘fair’ part has not been extended to us by the ultimate insurer, a major household name. We were recently victims of a fraud when an excavator was stolen. As it happens, we were one of a number of hire companies who lost equipment to the same people, all at the same time. This was a new customer to us and we obtained all the information which would be reasonably expected, such as photo ID, copies of utility bills and so on. The individual in question took out the cover on the equipment, which they paid for along with the payment for the duration of the hire, including transport and VAT. However, sadly they then disappeared into thin air taking our equipment, and that of others, with them.

We spoke with our broker - the manufacturer, who helped us process the claim and, because of the size of it, the insurer engaged a loss adjuster. The latter made an appointment and from the off I had a bad feeling about the whole process. We were asked things like: “How much finance is left on the machine?” and “Did you know if the documents provided were forged or not?” The former question I thought, frankly, neither relevant nor none of their damned business, and the second question made me think that we not only need to be ballerinas and Olympic athletes, but also super-detectives like Hercule Poirot with a nose for fraud and forgery!

We provided copies of all the documentation they requested and had to answer numerous supplementary questions. In total, the whole farrago lasted over seven weeks until we received an e-mail from the loss adjuster advising that the claim was being rejected, based on the fact that we
had not complied with clause 238 (d) which read: “to new or non-account holders you must obtain two independent references or one reference and take a point of hire photograph before any hire commences.” This is where I need to seek clarification: we did a credit check on the company in question and it appeared genuine. The photo ID matched the individual in question. What more can we do?

Additionally, this cover is ideal for the private individual who wishes to hire a rotavator for their allotment over a weekend, or someone hiring a micro excavator to dig out a shed base or clear an area of garden for a patio. Can anyone explain what kind of reference we would be able to get for the private individual? I would imagine being a good milk monitor at school 40 years ago may not quite cut it.

Sadly, despite the sterling efforts of the manufacturer, we are left licking our wounds and reflecting on the fact that the insurer has weaselled itself out of a genuine claim on a seemingly irrelevant technicality. Some shiny-suited spiv sitting in a glass-fronted tower block has earned his bonus by slithering out of paying a genuine claim for theft by fraud,
and he’s probably sitting with a smug look on his face as the ballerinas, high jumpers and super-detectives continue to slog their guts out endeavouring to keep the wolf from the door.

Be diligent and vigilant, my friends, and keep your tutus, running spikes and magnifying glasses handy. Make sure you use the latter to check the small print on your insurances to detect wiggle room, as you may well be relying on it - unwittingly leaving your businesses exposed to significant loss.

Rental Rate Roy

     
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