Sunday 26 May 2019

'I was shocked' - Grandfather €18,000 out of pocket after fire as home policy underwritten by failed Qudos


Burned: David O’Hanlon in his damaged home after being left more than €18,000 out of pocket. Photo: Colin O'Riordan
Burned: David O’Hanlon in his damaged home after being left more than €18,000 out of pocket. Photo: Colin O'Riordan
Luke Byrne

Luke Byrne

A grandfather has revealed his shock after learning his home insurance policy was held with failed Danish firm Qudos, leaving him more than €18,000 out of pocket after a fire at his property.

Part of David O'Hanlon's home in Rathcoole, Co Dublin, caught fire on November 7, after a laptop overheated.

The blaze caused serious damage in the house but luckily, despite seven people being in the house at the time, all got out unharmed.

"My granddaughter Amelia, she's five, was in the house so that was the big panic, but luckily my eldest daughter heard the alarm because we were all asleep."

Mr O'Hanlon (57), who's retired, said he understood he was insured by Patrona, through the broker First Ireland, and put in a claim.

"I remember reading about the Qudos thing in the paper and thinking how unlucky those people were. I was shocked when I realised I was one," he told the Irish Independent.

Mr O'Hanlon said he was first offered €20,000 to cover the costs arising from the fire, but was then told he would be given €25,000.

But to his horror, he was then contacted by phone to be told there was a problem and the contractors working on the property would stop over concerns of when the claim would be paid.

This was because, unknown to him, Qudos, the Danish insurer which collapsed last month, was ultimately responsible for the policy.

"I have been paying my premiums, €650 every year, so it shouldn't be my problem," he said.

"I've had to rent another house which is costing €3,000 a month."

Around 1,400 Irish people have claims outstanding with the Copenhagen-based company since it filed for bankruptcy last month.

It is likely Danish authorities will pick up the tab, however, many of the claimants remain in the dark.

First Ireland said that while it could not comment on specific cases, the company's priority was to represent its clients to try to get a satisfactory outcome as quickly as possible.

"We continue to make strenuous representations to Patrona to try to have this matter resolved as quickly as possible for the benefit of all affected clients."

A statement from Patrona said it was unable to comment "on the specifics regarding individual cases". But it described the company as an "insurance intermediary" which provides "back-office functionality, underwriting and claims management services" to 15 insurance and reinsurance companies in Ireland, one of which is Qudos Insurance. "In relation to Qudos Household claims, we expect these claims will be handled and administered via the Danish Guarantee Fund," it said.

Irish Independent

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