I was hit from behind at a roundabout by another biker who failed to see me. I didn’t bring a personal injury claim, and my bike was repaired under my fully comprehensive policy. So far, so easy. Then my renewal came in with my no claims bonus gone and a loading for a ‘fault accident’.
I tried to get my own insurers to give me an explanation, but after the umpteenth time I heard ‘I’ll have to refer that to my supervisor’ I gave up and spoke to the insurers for the other rider who confirmed that my insurers had paid them for the other guy’s damage – despite his own insurers confirming that the other rider had told them that the accident was wholly his fault!
They had not heard from my own insurers about my own insurer’s outlay, and the other guy’s insurers said that they were ready to pay out upon notification of a claim for all of my outlay.
So in an accident which was absolutely not my fault, the other guy says was not my fault, the other guy’s insurers say was not my fault and no claim has ever been made against me I am somehow stuck on for a lost no claims bonus and insurance loading. How do I unpick this mess?
This is not a particularly easy situation, I’m afraid. Your insurers are allowed to conclude an action without any reference to you, but they are not allowed to do it in such a way that they end up loading your insurance policy, because they are acting against your interests.
There are legal remedies you could go to court for, but I am afraid these are genuinely too complex for anyone who is not an experienced litigation lawyer. As your losses are less than £10,000 you are going to have to do this yourself, and what you should do is the following;
1. Formally complain to your own insurers setting out exactly the same as what you set out to me and requiring that they reinstate your no claims bonus, and recover your outlay from the other rider, and thereafter correct their records.
Your insurers, who are well-known and generally reputable insurers, have done this to you, but I also know for a fact that they have done it to two clients of my firm as well, despite being directly told by us that they were not to concede liability, but they nevertheless went ahead and did it anyway.
2. If the internal complaints procedure does not result in your no claims bonus being restored, then you will have to make exactly the same complaint to the Financial Ombudsman Service. There is a form which is available from the Financial Ombudsman Service which is headed up the complaint form, which you will be able to find easily enough on Google. I expect the Financial Ombudsman Service will up hold your complaint, because what your insurers have done is just plain stupid and wrong.
3. Beyond the Financial Ombudsman Service you could bring an action for what is called ‘declaratory relief’ against your own insurers, but honestly, unless you are lawyer that knows what you are doing this is not a route I would advise. Truthfully, I would have to go to my law books to work out how to do this, and I have been practicing the law for well over 20 years.
I am cynical about insurers. When insurers consistently do something which is utterly irrational you need to look at who is benefiting from this, and it seems to me that insurers are remarkably quick to concede liability in cases which they should not, and especially In a case like yours when no claim has ever been made against you, simply because it so increases your insurance premium that they will be making profit out of this for the next five years in a completely unjustified way.
If this was a one off I would say cock up rather than conspiracy, but your case is the third one I have seen in the last six months from this particular insurer and when cock ups keep happening which benefit an insurer I become cynical.
Fast Bikes Magazine