When we started our claim way back in November 2017, I didn’t know how things worked. I believed that the NFU Mutual was the insurance company, the loss adjuster was the loss adjuster, the surveyor was the surveyor, and so on.
So, when I approached the NFU Mutual about the actions of their surveyor and expected them to undertake an investigation into his conduct, it was a huge surprise that nothing happened. When I asked for the umpteenth time for him to be removed, they did nothing.
It wasn’t until much later that I realised I was trying to separate something which was whole, it was inseparable. Everyone appointed by the NFU Mutual work for the NFU Mutual. They ARE the NFU Mutual.
An Honest Company?
The trouble is, at the beginning I believed that the NFU Mutual were an honest company. I believed their promises and propaganda (such as in the image above) and we paid the high premiums because we knew that our home was in safe hands. It was a small price to pay for peace of mind and worth every penny. If anything bad happened to our lovely home, my dream home – we’d be alright. How wrong I was!
Things aren’t going well with the ‘three and quarter’ year claim. Yesterday, I found some rather compelling information on the Financial Ombudsman’s webpage and a shock of realisation came over me – We have been lied to from the very start. Why? At first it was for the simple reason of cost cutting but later there were far more darker reasons and we still don’t know the whole truth.
Here are ten lies we’ve been told by the NFU Mutual (which includes their employees and representatives). If you’re insured with them or are thinking of taking up their insurance, read the following before you make your decision:
1. The ‘Who’s Who’ on their Website
I didn’t find this page until months after we submitted our claim and hours of trawling the internet for justice. But the claims made on this page just aren’t right!
It backs up previous understanding that some of the people working on repairing our home were supposed to be working in our interests. They weren’t.
I look into the Who’s Who on two posts starting with The ‘Who’s Who’ on the NFU Mutual’s Website – Page 1
2. You are Under-Insured
In a meeting in June 2019, just after our complaint to the Financial Ombudsman had been lodged, the loss adjuster informed us that there wasn’t enough money within the sum insured to indemnify us.
3. We Can’t Remove your Kitchen Units
There’s no money under the policy to remove your kitchen units we were told. So the builders went ahead and plastered our kitchen units into the wall!
4. The Builder’s Who Damaged Your Home Must be Allowed Back to Repair their Damage
Why? Because they were paid under the contract and they were obliged under the contract to do it for free.
This building company said that sole plate repairs had been carried out but they had not. They used wrong materials and methods which would compromise the structural integrity of the building at a later date. They had no qualifications or expertise with wood framed buildings. They had no knowledge of how to work with listed buildings.
NFU’s own structural engineer said that their work was so poor, that it needed to be started again from scratch!
Luckily this was one lie I didn’t believe. No way was I ever going to allow these ‘cowboys’ back into my home! In this post I show some photos of their work so you can see for yourself.
5. You Must Sign a Contract with the Builders
We were asked to sign a contract by the surveyor which would have been between ourselves and the builders. As luck would have it, the surveyor was so incompetent that it wasn’t even drawn up until the time I started to raise issues about the workmanship at the end of the contract. And of course we weren’t going to sign it then!
The wording of the contract made it so that we had zero power but would be responsible for paying the builder’s fees should any issues arise.
6. The Work has Been Carried Out to the Specification
After I queried the standard of the work I was assured, in December 2019, that the ‘work has been carried out in accordance with the specification’.
In a letter from the claims department in January 2020, we were told that ‘the Listed Building Consent, whilst being required, would not pose a problem’. However, just a few days later, a caution was issued to the claims handler under section 9 of the Planning Act 1990 by the local Enforcement Officer.
7. The Architect Attended a Meeting where he Admitted Blame
Gosh! This one was very dark indeed. The surveyor blatantly lied about the whereabouts of the architect. Why? To make him appear guilty.
When your reputation is at risk, you’ll shove anyone under the bus! Or so it seems for this RICS accredited surveyor.
Later he retracted his lie and it was all covered up. This man gets away with anything and everything! Even the RICS absolved him! And he’s still in control of our claim!
8. The Sole Plate Repairs are Adequate
Some lies beggar belief and this was one of them! Whilst two walls of the house had had no repairs whatsoever, the one wall which was ripped out (against listed building consent) had been rebuilt incorrectly putting the whole building at risk!
9. The Repairs Have Been Completed to a Satisfactory Standard
Hmm. A satisfactory standard. There’s an outstanding case lodged with the local Enforcement Officer and The Conservation Officer may have something to say about that!
10. Your Home is Safe to Return To
Whilst this carries on from the previous two lies, this one is slightly more worrying as, if we had have believed this lie and returned home unaware of what had occurred, it stands to reason that our lives could have been in danger!
Is the NFU Mutual’s policy ‘Money above lives’?
All we want is to go home. For more than three years that’s all we’ve asked our insurance company for.
What if I hadn’t been monitoring the work which was going on at the cottage?
What if I hadn’t have argued with the builders and the surveyor and had just believed the lies they told me?
It doesn’t bear thinking about.
Yesterday, I informed the NFU Mutual about my intention to use social media as our only means for justice. We’ve already spent almost £1,000 on legal fees and the Financial Ombudsman has told us that we can never get this money back!
I hope this blog will make a difference and they finally take notice and meet their obligations by doing the right thing. For ours and everyone’s sake!