Fire Case Studies

Fire is one of the most expensive property insurance claims, with £1.3 billion being paid out to customers during 2018 alone, according to the ABI. 

Whether the cause of the fire is due to arson, explosions, cannabis farming, washing machines, tumble dryers, fridges or freezers to name a few, the dedicated BLM Property Damage team has extensive experience in handling all types of fire claims, both domestic and commercial, all with a view to maximising the efficiency of the claims life cycle and reducing costs for the insurer. Please see below a few examples of where BLM have made a difference. 

Recovery following a restaurant fire

What was the claim?
  • BLM were instructed by the insurers and owners of a building where a fire started in a restaurant kitchen and had spread throughout the building causing significant damage, resulting in a claim in excess of £600,000.
  • BLM were instructed to recover the insurer’s outlay only.
How did BLM help?
  • BLM advised that a number of investigations be carried out. These investigations established that the fire had been started by a chef deep frying in an unsafe manner. The fire had then spread through the ductwork of the building.
  • BLM’s enquiries were also able to establish that the relationship between the occupying restaurant and building owners was such that there was no defence pursuant to Mark Rowlands Ltd v Berni Inns Ltd, and that as such the restaurant (and its insurers) could be held liable for the fire and damage caused. 
What did BLM achieve?
  • Following sustained pressure by BLM, including the issue of proceedings and use of Part 36 offers, a settlement of the majority of the outlay, plus legal costs were agreed.

Recovery following a fire cause by a mobile pizza van

What was the claim?
  • Following a fire at a public house caused by a mobile pizza van, BLM were instructed by the insurers of the freehold owners to recover its outlay. This amounted to over £150,000.
What steps did BLM take?
  • BLM identified that the owners of the mobile pizza van had acted negligently in parking and using the van for cooking in an area where the hot fumes were able to ignite flammable parts of the building.
What did the BLM team achieve?
  • Following a letter of claim, BLM obtained an admission of liability from the insurers of the mobile pizza van. Quantum, however, was disputed on the basis that the property was due to undergo refurbishment.
  • BLM was able to successfully increase the offer on quantum to a figure that was acceptable to insurers and which represented the recovery of a substantial proportion of the insurer’s outlay.

Successful defence of a fire claim against catering equipment company

What was the claim?
  • Insurers for a catering equipment company instructed BLM in relation to a claim against their insured, where a sum in excess of £1.3 million was being sought.
  • A fire had started in a restaurant kitchen when a stove had ignited the timber floor it had been placed on. It was alleged that the insured should not have installed the stove on a timber floor and should have flagged up concerns regarding the operation of the stove in the course of maintenance visits.
What did BLM do?
  • Proceedings were issued, however BLM were able to resist the claim on the basis that there had been no breach of duty by the insured. BLM were able to demonstrate that the claimants had specified the location of the stove, and in addition, had been aware of problems with the operation of the stove, but carried on using the stove regardless.
What did the BLM team achieve?
  • As a result, the claim settled following a mediation, resulting in a substantial saving for the insurer.