Consumer complains about insurer after they cause issue with policy renewal

Distress and inconvenience Up to £300 Insurance

Emma got in touch about the issues she faced with her insurer and renewing her policy, and wanted us to see if their response was fair.

What happened

Emma cancelled her home insurance policy renewal after she found cheaper quotes elsewhere. But after a few days she changed her mind and asked the insurer to go ahead with the renewal on the due date. The insurer was happy to allow the policy to renew and took her payment over the phone, but it failed to process the renewal on its system which left Emma uninsured for several months before she noticed the mistake and complained.

The insurer initially refused to accept any wrongdoing but after several calls and emails from Emma over a couple of weeks, it agreed it was at fault. It then made things worse after promising to call Emma back to fix the problem, and never doing so. Emma said she rearranged her daughter’s hospital appointment so she could stay in to take the call that didn't come. Emma said this situation had caused her stress as she worried about the validity of her mortgage – because having buildings insurance was a condition of her mortgage.

Following this the insurer agreed to reinstate Emma’s home insurance policy and backdated it from the correct renewal date. It also said it would give her a letter explaining its responsibility for the error, so she could show this to her mortgage provider. It offered to pay her compensation of £250.

What we said

We said the insurer’s reinstatement of the policy and actions around this were fair. But we thought that the insurer’s handling of the situation had been upsetting for Emma. Even though she hadn’t had insurance for several months, we said that her worry started when she first noticed the mistake. But she still had several weeks of worry before everything was sorted. 

She also had to put in a reasonable amount of effort to sort things out. This included spending a long time on the phone, across several calls, to chase the business to fix the problem – and had to go through the inconvenience of having to re-arrange her daughter’s hospital appointment.

We agreed that the offer to pay Emma £250 compensation for the distress and inconvenience was fair in the circumstances.