“The benefits of conciliation – a rapid resolution to a watery problem.”

SB Limited is a small business. After a water problem developed in their business premises in July, the business began to lose money. SB Limited first told its insurance company about the issue the following February after a protracted dispute with the landlord, who finally agreed to carry out and pay for the repairs. SB Limited submitted a business interruption claim.

The insurance company said it had been prejudiced by the delay in SB Limited informing it of the problem. The insurer said that if it had known about the problem in July, it would have fixed the problem much sooner than February. The insurer was of the view the quantum of the claim was much less than what SB Limited said it was.

SB Limited said it had mitigated its loss and could not see how the insurance company could have fixed the problem any sooner. SB Limited was disappointed that the insurance company appeared to ‘not be on their side’ in helping them deal with the issue, which had caused significant stress. The parties were about $32,500 apart in their calculations of the quantum of the claim.

SB Limited complained to FSCL.

Conciliation

Our case manager thought the complaint would be suitable for conciliation; there were strong arguments put forward by both parties. In addition, SB Limited had suffered significant financial loss which had caused stress to its owners, Ben and Jane. The business was continuing to suffer, and time was of the essence in trying to get the matter resolved. Both parties agreed conciliation would be a good idea.

The conciliation conference was held in mid April, in person, in Auckland. Within about three hours the parties were able to explain their views on the complaint to each other, and a settlement was reached which both parties could live with.