Ask an Expert

QUESTION:

Our client has a shared fence with a neighbour. The fence blew down during some of the big storms.

Our client provided a quote to their insurer that stated repairs costs and replacement costs.

Their Insurer (Insurer A) settled the claim based on repair. However, the neighbour’s insurer (Insurer B) settled the claim has full replacement.

Our client felt that they were not compensated fairly. So we obtained a second quote that stated replace.

We also got our client’s Insurer (Insurer A) to make contact with Insurer B to confirm that that replacement was paid out, which it was. Neither insurer could do a site visit due to level 4.

We believe the benefit of doubt should go to the client and should be paid out for replacement, considering that all three quotes state replacement, and only the first quote included repair as well.

Your thoughts?

Also, the neighbour would not accept a repair with our client as they were paid out for full replacement and insisted the fence be replaced.


Crossley Gates replies:

As the fence is situated 50% on each property, each owner is entitled to receive from its insurer for its 50% of the fence is governed by the basis of settlement under each owner's property. It is conceivable that different policies will lead to a different outcomes for each.

Assuming that each insurer has paid out correctly in relation to each policy, the insurers' obligations have been satisfied and there is no insurance issue anymore.

If one insurer has not paid out correctly, that is a claim dispute one owner has with his or her insurer, but as you will see below, this doesn't need to impact the final repair/replacement decision.

The remaining issue is a practical one between the two neighbours about what they do about repairing/replacing the fence. They must agree as half of the fence sitting on each side of the boundary belongs to each of them.

This decision is separate to the insurance entitlement and is not driven by it. They simply have to reach an agreement, which may involve an element of compromise by one or both.

The amount each received from his or her insurer is not directly relevant to the decision as I assume the claims were cash settled.



December 2021

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