Peterborough pensioners upset as insurers refuse to pay out after garden wall destroyed by Storm Freya

Two Peterborough pensioners are upset after their insurers refused to pay out after their garden wall was destroyed by Storm Freya.

Thursday, 28th March 2019, 11:36 am
Updated Thursday, 28th March 2019, 11:41 am
Albert and Dorothy Haynes at their home with the ruined wall. EMN-190322-082955009
Albert and Dorothy Haynes at their home with the ruined wall. EMN-190322-082955009

Dorothy and Albert Haynes, who live in Peterborough, woke up in early March to find their brick wall with timber fencing had blown over in the high winds.

The couple have lived at their property for 15 years, during which time they said they’ve not had any problems.

But when they submitted a claim to Churchill Insurance for their ruined wall they were told they would not receive any money as it had not been adequately built.

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The couple say they will be forced to take out a loan to pay for a replacement.

Dorothy (78) said: “On March 3, during the night it was very windy and the wall fell down with an almighty bang. Me and my husband did not react as we did not think it was to do with us, but we looked out in the morning and saw the wall was down.

“We phoned the insurance company and they sent a man down to assess it. He took some photographs and said it had not been built properly.

“We were gobsmacked and could not believe what we had heard. The wall was built in 1970 and we’ve been paying for Churchill Insurance for 15 years. We’ve never had any problems with anything.

“There are about 100 bungalows on this estate and they’ve all been built by the same people.”

Dorothy said the couple have been quoted £1,600 for a wooden fence to be erected, or £2,800 for a brick wall.

She added: “We will have to get a loan to pay for it. We did try to appeal with Churchill but all we get is a lady on the phone saying ‘we are very sorry’.

“I’m hurt and very angry.”

A spokesperson from Churchill home insurance said: “Having reviewed Mrs Haynes’ case we can confirm that her claim was recently declined.

“Upon inspection by one of our surveyors we concluded that the damage to the wall occurred due to poor design and construction and the lack of structural support.

“Without this necessary support the wall would have very little resistance to high winds and over a period of time this will in effect weaken the structural integrity, which has ultimately resulted in the wall collapsing.

“It has also been noted there was timber fencing attached to the wall with the fence posts not fixed firmly into the ground, putting it under further strain.

“Due to the above findings we’re unfortunately unable to cover this claim. We totally understand the frustration caused by this to Mrs Haynes and have provided her with further details of the Financial Ombudsman should she wish to refer this to them.”