Following a theft, Ellis claimed on his business protection insurance

SME Insurance

Electrical equipment disappeared from a construction site, although it seemed too heavy to move. But had Ellis done enough to reduce the risk of loss?

What happened

Ellis was an electrical contractor working on a highway project where several large lighting columns were delivered to site. These were left for several weeks over the Christmas period when no-one was working on site.

Ellis returned in January to find the columns missing and contacted his insurers to claim for their loss. The insurers declined the claim. They said it wasn’t clear when the columns went missing and that Ellis hadn’t taken reasonable precautions to prevent their theft.

Ellis thought that because the lighting columns were so large, they would be too difficult for a thief to transport. Unhappy with the insurer’s decision, he brought his complaint to us.

What did we do?

We looked at the terms and conditions of Ellis’ business protection insurance policy to weigh up whether it was fair for the insurer to decline the claim.

Ellis admitted he’d left them on the building site without any security in place to protect them against theft or damage.

We considered what Ellis had said about the size of the columns and how they would be difficult to transport. However, we thought that because they’d been left on site so long, he shouldn’t have relied on this as adequate protection.

We didn’t think Ellis had done everything he reasonably could to keep the property safe and reduce the risk of its loss. Because of that, we didn’t think the insurer had acted unfairly and we didn’t uphold the complaint.