Successfully negotiating claims since 1867
Major and Complex Multi Occupancy Fire Loss – North London
In April 2019 a major fire took hold in a range of adjacent industrial units in Tottenham, North London. Thompson and Bryan were appointed to deal with several claims arising from severe fire damage to a 25,000 square foot brick built former factory unit which held three different freehold property owner interests and six commercial leasehold tenants.
The structure and vast majority of tenants belongings inside were damaged beyond economic repair. The roof of the building contained asbestos and the severity of the fire damage was such that the building was left structurally unsafe.
There was intense pressure in the early post fire period from the local authority who were keen to see the building made safe, secure and that the asbestos contamination was addressed.
Clearly with the number of different interested parties and their respective insurers coordinating these processes was less than straightforward. Conflicting interests also created difficulties including the tenants of certain demises within the building wanting to recover their belongings and the freehold owners of the buildings having to ensure access to the premises was controlled and restricted and that the necessary health and safety issues were managed properly.
We promoted the idea to all of the insurers and interested parties that the building was dealt with as a single project with the costs being apportioned between the various interested parties and their insurers. Competitive tenders were sought for the demolition and site clearance of the buildings across the entire site and proposals submitted to all of the insurers seeking approval to proceed and their commitment to meet their proportion of the costs.
At this point it became evident that some of the interested parties had inadequate insurance cover or had their own agendas and plans in terms of how they proposed to deal with the damage to their respective property. Notwithstanding this, after lengthy discussions we secured approval to all but one of the interested parties proceeding on this basis enabling around 80% of the site to be demolished and cleared successfully.
As we then turned to look at the reinstatement of the building a similar process ensued, however it became clear that there would be little chance of successfully coalescing all of the interested parties into embarking on a joint rebuild scheme.
As frustrations grew with the inability to progress the reinstatement we were approached by various clients to discuss their options in terms of proceeding unilaterally and or exploring an early settlement negotiation with their insurer. Calculations were prepared to indicate the notional reinstatement value of the building as a whole which, for the purposes of claim negotiations was apportioned between the various policies on a pro
Ultimately, negotiated settlements were reached on all of the interested parties claims thus enabling them to pursue their own plans and mitigate any ongoing business interruption impacts that would otherwise have arisen due to the inherent difficulties in securing all parties interests to a single scheme.
I am writing to express gratitude both personally but also behalf of the whole family for everything that you have done in relation to our insurance claim arising from the fire at our Garman Road warehouse in May 2019.
Your handling of all aspects of our claim went above and beyond our expectations, culminating in the final negotiated settlement.
I am particularly appreciative of your support for me as the nominated ‘team leader’ in terms of the family and also for your support in dealing with other related matters including liaising with our tenants, the local authority and also coordinating the numerous interested parties in terms of demolition and rebuild projects.
We were also very appreciative of the guidance you gave us in terms of information gathering in the context of evidencing our losses, especially as we had lost all of our company records in the fire.
You alleviated a great burden at a very difficult time and thus enabled us and the family as a whole to concentrate on recovering and maintaining our business.
We are delighted with the service we received from you and all at Thompson & Bryan and would happily recommend your services to anyone who may find themselves in the same unfortunate position.
Business Development Manager
Wheatland Cheese Co Ltd