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How a policyholder’s priceless possession found its way back home

How a policyholder’s priceless possession found its way back home | Insurance Business

How a policyholder’s priceless possession found its way back home

A fire’s devastation is perhaps never truly quantifiable – who can measure sentimental value, anyway? Here we bring you the story of Jerry (pictured), an unlikely survivor from the blaze that hit the Liverpool Echo Arena car park on New Year’s Eve in 2017.    

The incident, which coincided with what would have been the fourth and final day of that year’s Liverpool International Horse Show, saw 875 vehicles – out of the 1,033 total parked at the time – completely burnt out. Several others that the flames did not reach, while undamaged, could not be recovered shortly after the incident given that the car park had become structurally unsound.

Later in 2018, prior to Liverpool County Council’s demolition work, the undamaged vehicles were pulled out from the property. Among those was the car of an AXA policyholder named Louise, whose personal belongings inside the vehicle included a treasured stuffed animal.

“Louise confirmed that the most sentimental item in the car was her son’s toy giraffe named Jerry,” recalled motor claims best practice manager Sonia Ford, referring to a conversation with the AXA customer following the fire.

“Although her son was 12 now, he was still hugely attached to Jerry, so Louise asked if we could do everything in our power to reunite them. Being a mum myself, I knew how important that special teddy would be, so I said that I would do everything I could.”

AXA’s approved salvage agent Copart liaised with the local recovery company appointed by Liverpool County Council to collect vehicles as they were removed from the burned parking building. In the interim the insurer provided the policyholder weekly updates, until the good news came. 

“I immediately contacted Copart, who swiftly found Jerry the Giraffe and contacted Louise to let her know he would be coming home,” noted Ford about the time the car was collected. “To make the story even more special, Copart’s national account manager, David Simmonite, personally collected Jerry from Chester and drove to Stockport to hand-deliver him to her.”

Simmonite, for his part, pointed to the importance of empathy.

“We were delighted to able to reunite Jerry with his family following the traumatic time they had been through without him,” he commented. “At Copart we recognise that any claim can be stressful for a policyholder. Our culture is to ensure that we continuously go above and beyond to ensure their journey through the process is as seamless as possible.

“One of our values is to act with integrity, and this story really highlights how important it is to show empathy towards our customers and appreciate the significance of what might appear to be a minor detail. By having the correct partnerships in place, we were able to play a valuable part in giving this traumatic story a happy ending.”

For AXA’s supply chain manager Kirsty Heaton, the heart-warming tale of Jerry the Giraffe may not have been told if not for the insurer’s close ties with its salvage services partner.

“In 2017, we made the decision to have a single source for salvage services as part of our strategy to develop a partnership relationship, seeking alignment and innovation to enhance our customers’ claims journey,” said Heaton.

“This story really shows what can be achieved when developing the right supply chain relationships, and we are so grateful for all the hard work Copart put into this special case.”

Louise was one of the 69 AXA customers affected by the Liverpool Echo Arena car park blaze.