Travelers has won a court battle with a university in Yorkshire that sought a £10 million payout for its student flats that had to be destroyed in late 2012.
The insurer previously refused to cover the loss of Leeds Becket University over the demolition of Turner House and Bridge House, student flats that were built in the 1990s on the sloped canal-side site of the former Kirkstall Brewery.
A structural probe of the buildings found that Turner House was at severe risk of collapse as a result of underground concrete blockwork being “turned into mush” by flowing groundwater, the report said.
Pointing to a number of exclusion clauses in the insurance policy, Travelers refused to compensate for the loss of the university, which was then prompted to launch the court battle.
Justice Coulson of the High Court in London rejected the university’s claim, however, ruling that the damage to the blockwork could not be considered as accidental, reports the Yorkshire Post.
The judge said the cause of the damage was gradual deterioration over at least 10 years as the flow of groundwater had been constant from the blockwork’s completion up to the time when the cracks appeared.
The magistrate said nothing could have been done to save the blockwork and its collapse was already inevitable when the insurance policy was signed – just four months before the cracks were discovered.
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