In the world of commercial vehicle insurance, our client is one of the few firms with a good reputation for customer service. The ability to conveniently update policies as vehicle fleets change is key to our client’s high number of retentions year after year. From their Gloucestershire roots, our client has a nationwide customer base. One of their customers and our debtor in this case is a holiday park situated on Scotland’s stunning west coast. They operate a fleet of cars, light commercial vehicles, and agricultural machines. The policy came up for renewal whilst Covid restrictions had mothballed the tourism industry. Despite the policy being on autorenewal, our client established contact to explain the discount being applied in light of the global economic downturn. The previous year’s premiums had been paid a couple of months after the policy renewal, and our client expected the same again.
False Fault Code
Promises of payment came and went with copious amounts of grace and good faith afforded because of the pandemic. In the weeks prior to Advocate’s instruction and much to our client’s disbelief, the holiday park’s office manager sought to convince our client the policy had not been required, agreed to or even amended! They denied all suggestions of incurring premiums. There were no reasonable grounds to withhold payment of the £20K. With the debt now 18 months overdue, our client reached the limit of discretion and instructed Advocate.
Having been notoriously unavailable for the previous few weeks, the holiday park owner responded to Advocate on receipt of the notice of insolvency proceedings. They instructed solicitors to issue a defence of what was clearly indefensible. In a relatively short period of time, a number of letters were exchanged between their solicitors and Advocate. With the client’s paper trail, we proved the policy had been renewed with the debtor’s consent. We proved the vehicles were not insured with a different provider during the policy period. We established the debtor was aware of the policy and had even amended it to reflect disposals and additions. We proved a discount had already been applied to reflect reduced operating. We confirmed an interim payment had been deducted prior to Advocate’s instruction.
With nowhere else to go, the debtor instructed their solicitors to make full payment. After 18 months of client chasing and a coordinated series of responses from Advocate, the client received payment for a policy that had well and truly expired. Should the client be approached by the same holiday park in the future, the policy commencement date will undoubtedly be conditional on having received full payment first! Despite a regrettable encounter with this debtor, our client remains true to their core values of working with policyholders until good faith stops being reciprocated.