18 November, 2011
After heavy rain and gale-force winds caused
flooding and massive disruption in parts of Cornwall, a St
Austell-based insurance Inspector has been to see the work Cornish
Mutual has done to get victims back on their feet.
Cornish Mutual Inspector Joan Ball was involved in the aftermath
of the severe flooding* in St Austell, St Blazey, Lostwithiel,
Fowey and Mevagissey in November last year. The company helped
people affected and organised a team of loss adjusters and flood
damage restoration specialists to visit Members.
Jim and Vina Lobb from St Ewe (pictured with Joan Ball) suffered
significant damage to their two let properties in Pentewan. Mr and
Mrs Lobb contacted Cornish Mutual who organised for a loss adjuster
to visit the properties the same day.
Vina said: "We saw the flooding on the news and I went down to
the properties in Pentewan straight away. We called Cornish Mutual
in the morning and the loss adjuster was there by the early
afternoon. I spent the whole day helping the tenants however I
could - it was really upsetting.
"Around a foot of water had swept through the ground floors,
underneath the doors and into the properties. It was filthy dirty,
muddy, smelly and the scene was chaotic - completely unexpected.
The tenants were brushing out and they'd lost a lot of their
possessions, everything downstairs and the water had flooded the
lower parts of the staircases," she said.
Both properties were uninhabitable after the flooding. Luckily,
Vina and Jim, who have been Cornish Mutual Members for more than 60
years, had buildings insurance and their policy also included cover
for loss of rental income.
Cornish Mutual paid £31,000 to restore the properties and the
company spent £103,500 in total to settle 19 claims relating to the
It took around three months to get everything back to normal -
plaster had to be stripped off the walls, skirting boards and
floors needed to be ripped up and the kitchens required complete
rebuilds. Both properties needed to be cleaned and dried out and
then rewired, recarpeted and redecorated.
Vina brought in builder Chris Lobb from Gorran Haven and plumber
Dean Hancock from Trewoon, who following discussion and agreement
with Spectrum Loss Adjusters, completed the remedial works required
following the flooding.
Vina Lobb, who met Prime Minister David Cameron during the
floods, added: "Cornish Mutual, Spectrum and Richfords provided an
absolutely fabulous service - it couldn't have been better.
Whenever there were any problems or queries, we just called and
they always had time for us. Cornish Mutual took a lot of the
pressure off; they just took care of everything."
Cornish Mutual Inspector, Joan Ball said: "It's always great to
hear really positive comments about the service we provide and the
team did an absolutely fantastic job of helping those affected by
the flooding. Something like this is extremely distressing, it
takes a long time to deal with and we wanted to make sure we did
all we could to provide Members with the help, advice and
reassurance that we would get it sorted out for them."
Adam Smith from Spectrum Loss Adjusters added: "Whenever a major
event of this scale occurs, a prompt response is required and we
contact all policyholders to establish the position, reassure them
of the claims process and assess the situation. We always endeavour
to visit claimants on the same day, as we did with Mr and Mrs Lobb.
We were able to liaise with them and their tenants, to explain our
involvement and agree an immediate plan of action.
"It's vital that services are checked to ensure safety at an
early stage and we make arrangements for the properties to be
cleaned and dried at the earliest opportunity, as these initial
prompt measures will mitigate the final claim. We worked closely
with the Cornish Mutual team to make sure Members got a prompt
efficient service and, wherever possible we used local contractors
to expedite the process."
Mike Cooper from flood restoration specialists Richfords
commented: "At Richfords we're in the business of giving people
their lives back after fires and flooding. As the November flooding
in St Austell, St Blazey, Lostwithiel, Fowey and Mevagissey was so
local to us we were involved in drying and restoring over 100
properties. We were very pleased to have been able to help so many
families within our community and to work closely with Cornish
Mutual and Spectrum loss adjusters to deliver great service."
*BBC News Online - In some areas flood waters rose up to 6ft
(2m) causing widespread damage. Millions of pounds worth of damage
was done to more than 600 homes and businesses. More than 100
houses had to be evacuated and search and rescue helicopters were
used to help people trapped in their cars and homes. Main roads
were closed, landslides stopped train services and schools were