Genuine Mistakes or Downright Dishonesty?,  The NFU Mutual

The Conspiracy NFU Mutual Allowed to Happen

Yes. You did read that right! A conspiracy. But surely this is the stuff of the tabloid press and fictional TV dramas. Not a little thatched cottage in a Suffolk village? I couldn’t believe it either, but after discovering the truth, it all makes complete sense. I knew something was very wrong with this insurance claim, and I was determined to get to the bottom of it. Yesterday morning at 10.52am, I found out the truth.

The awful treatment we have received from NFU Mutual now all makes sense. We know why they have been so heartless and awkward about everything. Now it’s clear why the second complaint has been handled so differently to the first one. It’s why they’re not giving us a decent and fair cash settlement. And also why they are threatening to throw us out of the rental accomodation. Why they’ve refused to believe our claims about the cottage even though we’ve given them so much evidence. And why they’ve allowed our cottage to be damaged by their builders, then to stand derelict for more than three years.

The Complaints

I’m not exactly sure when it all started, but I have a pretty good idea. Looking back at the beginning of the claim, it all seemed to be going okay. Well, apart from the builders and the delays, so, a year into our claim, I made a complaint. NFU Mutual were so polite and couldn’t do enough for us. We were asked questions such as: What would you like us to do to make this right? We were told that the Loss Adjusting Company were extremely upset by what had happened. So much so, that their regional manager was on the case. The deputy to the Customer Services Director was corresponding with us directly and regularly. Everyone was treating us with respect and helpfulness. We received apologies and promises to do better.

With our second complaint, things were very different. No-one was helpful, no-one was nice. The deputy to the Customer Service Director didn’t want to know and told us we should deal with the Claims Handler. Instead of being treated with respect we were threatened and bullied. It was so strange that I even asked them why we had been treated so differently this time. Especially considering that things were much worse than the earlier complaint. Their response was:

‘Unfortunately I cannot comment on the previous complaint as it was not handled by myself. However, all complaints are unique as they are subject to their individual circumstances and subject matter, this can then influence what the NFU Mutual need to do in order to need to fully investigate matters before we are in a position to provide a response.’

Yes, and it took well over a year to respond to our complaint with no explanantions, a half-hearted apology and the offer of an insulting £2,000 to recompense us for all the trouble and upset they’ve caused us!

Birth of the Conspiracy

We all hear the words conspiracy and think it’s something inflated and unreal. But ‘conspiracy theories’ and a conspiracy aren’t the same thing. So what’s the definition of a conspiracy?

A Conspiracy is:

  • the activity of secretly planning with other people to do something bad or illegal,
  • a secret plan by a group to do something unlawful or harmful
  • the action of plotting or conspiring

So, with that straightened out, here’s how NFU Mutual allowed the Loss Adjuster, Richard and the Surveyor, Gary to carry out their own conspiracy involving our little cottage and us:

The Motive

After making my first complaint in November 2018, it was sent to the FOS (Financial Ombudsman Service). They responded by holding the Loss Adjuster (from here on in I’ll call him Richard, since he is named in the video) and the Surveyor (from here on in I’ll call him Gary ‘cos that’s his name and he doesn’t deserve the title of Surveyor!) responsible. Obviously, NFU relayed the results of the complaint to the two who were none too pleased (as the video shows). Instead of replacing these two individuals, NFU decided to keep them on and allowed them full control in supervising our claim. This was a huge mistake on NFU’s part. Why weren’t they replaced?

Video Evidence

These two, were: ‘shocked’ and ‘miffed’. I’ve posted a video from a meeting in June 2019 to my Facebook page here where the surveyor states:

  • ‘There had been some criticism of delay. Some of it probably reasonable, some of it, you know, unfounded given what we’ve had to do.’
  • ‘I know the NFU were quite critical of us Richard, and it came as a bit of a shock to me… (Richard: Mmmm – in agreement)’
  • ‘We were pretty miffed of the things that were said. For all the reasons we discussed at our office three or four weeks ago… (Richard: Mmmm – in agreement)

Why even bring this up at the meeting? They clearly wanted us to know how unhappy they were. These two people, now in complete control of our claim, then had the perfect opportunity to restore their damaged relationship with NFU Mutual. Don’t forget that, as the NFU website states, they were supposed to be acting in our interests! Not only could they repair their reputations with NFU, but the surveyor was free to exact revenge on us – the ‘insignificant’ (according to Gary) client/customer who had caused them both so much trouble and inconvenience. And he was clever and powerful enough to do it!

Carrying out the Conspiracy

Part One: Damage the Client’s Reputation

I remember, years ago, reading about respect, reputation and integrity (it was probably when I joined the Parish Council and realised how corrupt some politicians are!). Respect is something you automatically have until you behave in an unpopular way or do something ‘bad’. Reputation is something you build up through your life. Integrity is something inside you that no-one else can touch.

Now, I’ve always found that integrity and being truthful are really high on my moral compass. My counsellor says it has something to do with being lied to when I was young. If I say I’m going to do something, I’ll do my best to do it. If I promise something, I’ll deliver. I expect the same from everyone else and I’m often disappointed, but that’s just how I am. My reputation and my integrity is something I care about very much and I believe that everyone deserves respect unless they do something negative and then it’s lost.

But what if you’d done nothing wrong because you have integrity but someone accuses you of lying and cheating? And what if that someone has power and influence? Then things would seem strange to you and you would have no idea why you were being treated so badly or different to before. Like in our second complaint, for instance.

I was distraught yesterday to learn what Richard and Gary had said about me. Not because I care about what the people at NFU think about me, but because it’s absolutely untrue and it’s affected much more than my reputation. All we’ve ever wanted was a fair conclusion, to get what we were promised when we took out our insurance policy.

But, anyway, after spending half of yesterday in tears, everything started to make sense. We now had the proof that NFU had been led to believe that I was a liar and we were trying to cheat them out of money! One email in particular, makes it all perfectly clear what had happened.

‘I was Inflating the Claim’

This email was sent to the Architect (Mr L) by Gary after Mr L had found out that he had also been lied about by Gary and had been used as a scape goat (I’ll get to that later). Here’s an extract from that email:

…However, Richard * expressly requested that you didn’t copy the Jennings in to any correspondence because of the toxic history of the project and as they would use any difference of opinion in the professional team to further inflate their claim to the NFU.

‘Further inflate their claim’. What does that mean? I just ‘googled it. Here are the first few things that popped up:

  • ‘Inflating or exaggerating the extent of an insurance claim is a crime’
  • ‘Man sentenced for making inflated insurance claim worth more than £240,000!’
  • claims fraud is where an individual or organisation makes a fictitious or intentionally inflated insurance claim
  • Inflated insurance claim occurs when an insured party states false information to an insurance company in order to obtain higher settlement’

So, we had already been accused of ‘inflating our claim’ up to this point! No wonder nobody believed the evidence I sent through; the photographs, the reports, the documents. They were telling NFU Mutual we were liars and NFU Mutual had swallowed it up! But they’re even saying we would FURTHER inflate it!

These two men should both be struck off from their professions! They are obviously corrupt! It’s clear these two didn’t give a hoot about doing their job or repairing our cottage. All they cared about was protecting themselves! And why did they need protecting? To cover up their lies!

Part Two – Sabotage the Repairs

So now we’ve got Gary and Richard working together to save themselves (and damage us!). They’ve already managed to convince NFU Mutual that we’re trying to ‘pull a fast one’ but how can they get revenge for all the trouble I’ve caused? With the claims handler being lazy and not having any technical knowledge, it was easy. These two had full control, and the claims handler just went along with everything they said. The whole point of having a surveyor and loss adjuster is so that the insurance companies can leave all the technical stuff to them!

We now have the shocking evidence to prove beyond any doubt that our repairs were set up to fail.

Five Steps to Successful Sabotage

  1. First, an inferior, or perhaps easily influenced, company were employed. No checks were put in place to ensure that experienced workers were employed nor make sure they were following guidelines. If you remember from my earlier posts, there was only one tender received. This company were endorsed by Gary as previously working with them and Richard said he had checked their reputation and they were fine. Later on perhaps, this company too could be held responsible for bad workmanship and failure to follow the guidelines.
  2. Next, this inferior company would be told to save money and keep to the tightly scheduled programme. This would put extra pressure on the workers to cut corners and get things done quickly and cheaply.
  3. Then, the Architect, who would normally be in complete control, wouldn’t be appointed properly. He would have little motivation as he wouldn’t be paid on time nor have the appropriate paperwork. He wouldn’t be assigned as contract administrator either which would make sure he wasn’t too involved. (Gary, the surveyor was always the contract administrator.) Not having the responsibility nor being paid, he wouldn’t be making inspections as much as was necessary and much of the authorisation would be carried out over the phone. Later down the line, the architect could be held responsible for the terrible result which would naturally happen.
  4. It was made very clear right at the start that a structural engineer would be absolutely vital considering the majority of the repairs were structural. But no structural engineer was appointed! It was already too late by the time the cottage started collapsing. By the time the builders got their own structural engineer (who knew nothing about listed buildings) to see what was happening, the damage had been done. They could limit any further damage, but by then, it was too late to cover up the evidence.
  5. Also, the contract wouldn’t be drawn up in time and wouldn’t be signed. I’m not exactly sure how this worked or if this had any impact, but I knew this should have been in place at the beginning of the contract.

Could They Get Away with the Conspiracy?

Too far fetched you think? As I said before, these two men had complete control over our claim. So what happened when I complained? Surely, if there was anything untoward going on, it would all come to light?

That’s what I believed too! Surely, the evidence would speak for itself. But, remember, the NFU have been told that I’m a liar and that I’m making a fuss about nothing. They believe Gary and Richard and everything they tell them.

The Investigation

So what happened when I made my complaint and asked NFU to investigate? They got their best man on the job! Gary! This man was put in charge of the investigation and NFU believed every lie he told them.

Are NFU Mutual so stupid not to see the conflict of interests here?

They were so trusting of Gary, that he could do anything! When he pulled out of the meeting (arranged to get to the bottom of everything) just hours before it was due to start in December 2019, they didn’t mind. They weren’t even slightly suspicious when Gary made Mr L. take both that meeting and all the responsibility that went with it! They believed Gary so much that they fired Mr L.! Just as Gary had planned. Gary was so clever, that even we believed that Mr L. was at least partly to blame, although we now know the truth.

NFU Mutual put Gary in charge of that terrible meeting in March 2020 when I was harrassed and bullied by all the workers and builders. They didn’t mind when he failed to produce the agenda on time. The people from NFU didn’t mind when he failed to arrange the meeting properly. NFU weren’t suspicious when when, Mr L., who could put a different light on the story, was no-where to be seen. Like clockwork, everything was blamed on to Mr L. – and me! When I asked Gary directly in that meeting why he had lied about giving us the report which could have set everything straight, he just calmly replied that he hadn’t. Of course he was calm. Now I know that every other person in that room was under the impression that I was the liar! It’s why I’ve been treated with such contempt!

The conspiracy seemed to be going very well. And just like in Scooby Doo, they would have got away with it too, if it hadn’t have been for those pesky kids (okay, middle aged woman)!

The Surveyor is Still Getting Away With It!

After asking NFU to remove Gary so many times I’ve lost count, just recently they insulted us again by telling us that they could employ whoever they like! But don’t forget, according to NFU’s website, he was supposed to be working for us!

As far as I know, even now, he’s still there in the background advising, consulting and making decisions on our claim. It’s why we’re getting nowhere and have been getting nowehere for more than a year! He’s the reason no investigations have been carried out. Not one! That’s why it took fourteen months to get an answer to our complaint, instead of the usual eight weeks! It’s why we had to make a new complaint about the cash settlement. Do you remember that Gary contacted our new structural engineer behind our back a few months ago? Fully endorsed by NFU Mutual when I asked them why. Were they still allowing him to try to cover his tracks and manipulate our new structural engineers?

One thing NFU Mutual did do was remove Richard (or rather not make us speak to him). Although we haven’t had to speak to any loss adjuster for ages, they’re still there too and pop up from time to time!

The Surveyor’s Reputation and Power

You must believe there was a conspiracy now! These men are despicable and NFU allowed them to do it all. Gary , the surveyor throughout our claim, has been given full authority to do whatever he wants. This includes:

  • Damaging a listed building
  • Giving false information about us, the client
  • Making a simple claim last for more than three years
  • Wasting the sum insured
  • Causing avoidable bills for accomodation and costs
  • Being responsible for the reduction in the value of our beautiful home due to the irreversible damage that has occurred, the enforcement action taken by the council, and now, serious structural problems

NFU Mutual allowed this conspiracy to happen and have protected him all the way though. Look at this email below (from Gary to Mr L.) and you’ll see just exactly what this man is like:

I’m fuming!

Do you have no professional discretion?

Your last flurry of emails have not put you in a good light with either the NFU or [The Loss Adjusters] whom, I may remind you provide us both with a considerable amount of work.

The flurry of emails directly related to our claim and our cottage and us. These emails contained information to inform us of the terrible work that was being done and potential risks involved should anything go wrong. Mr L. has been the only person who has been completely honest with us and has protected us and our home throughout this claim.

Gary was conspiring, plotting, lying and protecting himself and using the words ‘professional discretion’ to justify it. Notice that no consideration is given at all to us, his client – just NFU and the loss adjusters. Where is his integrity?

NFU Mutual’s Integrity and Reputation

Gary would have been quite happy for us to move back into that house in full knowledge that it could fall down around our heads. This man is truly contemptible. NFU Mutual did nothing to ensure our safety.

NFU need to acknowledge who the ‘baddie’ is here! Their actions deserve no respect at all. If they refuse to address this very serious situation, surely they will damage their own reputation. We will find out how much integrity they have by watching their next actions!

The question now is this – now the NFU Mutual know the truth and have all the evidence, what are they going to do about it?

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