FSCL Case Study

A client engaged a tiler, to assist with a bathroom renovation. The tiler engaged a subcontractor to complete one aspect of the renovation. Unfortunately, the clients were not happy with the standard of the subcontractor’s work, and they wanted the entire job to be redone at the tiler’s expense, at a cost of $15,000.

She contacted her insurance broker and made a claim with her insurer. However, the insurer declined the claim because her policy excluded claims for faulty workmanship. Her broker tried to negotiate a settlement between the tiler and the clients, but the tiler’s clients refused to settle and brought a claim against her in the Disputes Tribunal.

She asked her broker to be a witness at the Disputes Tribunal hearing. The broker turned up to the hearing, but had to wait outside and eventually left. The Disputes Tribunal ordered the tiler to pay the full amount her clients were seeking.

She complained to FSCL.

She said her broker should have had insurance in place for faulty workmanship. She also felt very let down by the broker at the Disputes Tribunal hearing.

The broker provided evidence that it was not at that time possible to obtain insurance for faulty workmanship. The broker had advocated on behalf of the tiler with the insurer. The broker also explained that, while she was waiting outside the hearing room, Disputes Tribunal staff had told her she could not attend the hearing.

Review

FSCL considered the evidence about insurance for faulty workmanship. The scheme noted that if it was not possible at that time to obtain insurance for poor workmanship, then the broker could not be faulted for not having done so.

It also considered the level of support provided by the broker. The Disputes Tribunal incident was unfortunate, but likely a result of miscommunication rather than lack of support. It noted that a broker’s legal obligations tend to be focussed on the financial aspects of a broker’s work, rather than what is expected of a broker when it comes to providing support during a claim (or a hearing).

Resolution

FSCL negotiated a settlement between the tiler and the broker. The broker agreed to pay the tiler the sum of $1000 in recognition of any inconvenience caused by any of the broker’s actions after she made
her claim.

 



June 2019

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