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High street broker hits headlines in add-on row

High street broker hits headlines in add-on row

High street broker hits headlines in add-on row
Swinton Insurance has reimbursed a customer’s £200 excess after becoming embroiled in a policy add-on row over damage caused to his car when it was struck during a police chase.

The company made the gesture after 52-year-old Ian Pearce’s Suzuki, which was parked, was hit by a car which was being pursued by police in Swindon. Mr Pearce went to his local newspaper, the Swindon Advertiser, after it emerged he would be £200 out of pocket, blaming an ‘incredible loophole’ in his policy.

Pearce had legal protection cover on top of his regular policy, which he assumed would pay his excess in the event of a no-fault claim. But as the driver of the other car was uninsured, Swinton initially declined his claim leaving the policyholder angry and generating negative press coverage.

“It’s an incredible loophole,” Pearce told the newspaper. “Why have I for all these years been paying to protect myself against uninsured losses when this happens and they refuse to pay because the driver didn’t have insurance. Am I missing something? This additional policy they have been happily selling me for all these years to reclaim ‘uninsured losses’ is actually worthless unless the other party is insured. If they were insured, I would not need a legal protection policy for uninsured loss. Why the hell sell an extra policy for uninsured losses if you can only claim if the other party has insurance?”

Swinton confirmed to Insurance Business they had subsequently reviewed their decision and offered to reimburse Pearce’s excess. A spokesman for the broker said: “The repair costs to Mr Pearce’s car are covered by his standard motor insurance policy.  In addition, Mr Pearce has a Driver’s Legal Protection policy with Swinton Insurance, which covers legal costs and recovery of expenses that customers may incur following a non-fault accident, beyond that which is covered by his existing motor insurance policy.

“Any claims made against a Drivers Legal Protection policy are subject to a reasonable prospect of recovery from the third party insurer and this is stated in the terms and conditions of the policy. As the driver who hit Mr Pearce's vehicle did not have insurance, it is not possible for Swinton to do this. Our Customer Assistance team has contacted Mr Pearce and offered to reimburse his £200 excess as a gesture of goodwill and Mr Pearce has accepted this.”

Wiltshire Police confirmed a man was arrested in a garden in the area after a short chase by officers. A 21-year-old man is in custody on suspicion of taking a vehicle without consent, dangerous driving and failing to stop for police.