At the end of November 2021 we were appointed on, what appeared to be, a simple escape of water (EOW) claim in Buckinghamshire. The pre-scope we received suggested the works value would be around £4,000 for a utility room and downstairs WC and there was no indication of any issues or vulnerabilities. The incident took place on 20th October but the drying hadn’t started!
We spoke to the customer who advised us that the damp had spread throughout the open plan downstairs and all of the flooring was ruined and needed replacing. The customer also informed us that her husband was going through cancer treatment and the whole drying and reinstatement process would be too much for him. In addition, a lack of communication meant that she was unaware whether they would get alternative accommodation (AA) and help with the electricity bills from the client.
It is not unusual for customers to be confused about the process and for claims to drag on, but this case was clearly being badly handled and needed urgent attention from us.
We appointed our supplier and their Contract Manager attended site. He reported back that the damp was extensive throughout the ground floor and the customer was distressed with the lack of communication and progress on the claim. He submitted costs and we got them all approved ready to go.
Delays and costs
By the end of January drying was still not complete even though our client had appointed a large, well-known drying company back in November, who had advised the customer that drying would take 21 days. Dehumidifiers had been in place for many weeks with no focussed drying regime to target the drying in the most efficient way.
By the time we were able to start work on site the reinstatement costs had almost trebled from the original pre-scope value. Not only was this due to a poor pre-scope but also the damage had extended to the whole of the ground floor due to delays in getting the property dry. During this time the customers had been in AA and more AA would be needed for the works, adding additional costs to the overall claim.
Tragically, by the time we got started on the reinstatement works the customer had been told that her husband only had two months left to live.
Once they got started with the reinstatement works our supplier didn’t hang about – the customer wanted to come home as quickly as possible so she and her husband could spend his final weeks in their home together.
We organised a team, including a flooring specialist subcontractor, to start work as soon as the customers were in AA.
Our supplier updated the customer with the plan of action and promised that all of the works would be completed within the four week timescale provided by the client.
As the works progressed, we updated the customer regularly to confirm what had happened, what would be happening next, who was going to do it and when it would be done. The quality of our supplier’s updates clearly gave the customer and the client confidence. The client said:
“I have spoken to the customer and she has confirmed that Bill is keeping in touch with her as well to give regular updates. The customer seems very happy at this stage with everything, big thank you to Bill and his team for the hard work on this one, it is massively appreciated.”
Our team in Aylesbury were also heavily involved in the progressing this claim and making sure that all parties were kept up to date.
As Dostoevsky once said “Much unhappiness has come into the world because of bewilderment and things left unsaid.”
The validation company and the restoration company on this claim certainly created much unhappiness and bewilderment. This claim is a perfect example of how multiple, uncoordinated supply chains do not create the best outcomes for customers and clients.
MA Group and its supplier managed to turn this claim around with exemplary communication, project management and empathy.
The customer scored us all 10/10 and emailed our supplier:
“Bill I can’t thank you enough, you have been so kind, please thank your team. 😊🌟🌻”