Consumer complains about legal insurance following claim for loss of light

Legal Expenses Insurance

Bill got in touch with us when a claim about loss of light took an unexpected turn when his insurer said he needed to get a second report but wouldn't pay for it.

What happened

Bill’s neighbour was proposing to build an extension to his house. But this would block light to Bill’s home, so he decided to make a claim to take action against this. 

Panel solicitors were appointed to assess the case’s prospects of success by Bill’s insurer. 

Bill got hold of a surveyor’s report which indicated he could claim for loss of light. The panel solicitors told Bill that he would need to get another surveyor’s report to show an actual measurement of the reduction of light. Then they would be able to assess the case’s prospect of success. 

The insurer refused to pay for the second report. They said it was needed so they could confirm prospects of success. Bill complained to his insurer. He said he’d incurred legal costs in dealing with the dispute – successfully resolved through litigation – without needing another report. Unhappy with the outcome of his complaint, he came to us to investigate. 

What we said

We found that Bill provided enough evidence to establish that his claim was covered when he first made his claim. He provided a report which confirmed that the extension would interfere with his right to light. The report said it was to an actionable extent, and that the claim had reasonable prospects of success. 

The further expert evidence the insurer wanted should have been treated as a necessary litigation expense. So it wasn’t fair to ask Bill to pay for another report. 

We decided the insurer should reimburse the legal costs Bill incurred in pursuing the right to light claim himself. This was around £6,000 plus interest. We also asked the insurer to pay £500 in compensation for the distress and inconvenience they caused in handling his claim.