Sunday 20 October 2019

Claims up in smoke: Christmas blow for family after house fire

Uncertain: Wendy Rossiter at her home in Portrane, Dublin. The family home was damaged by a fire but their insurance company has gone out of business. Photo: Frank McGrath
Uncertain: Wendy Rossiter at her home in Portrane, Dublin. The family home was damaged by a fire but their insurance company has gone out of business. Photo: Frank McGrath

Ralph Riegel

A mother of four suffered a bitter Christmas blow with the collapse of a Danish insurance company, leaving her family €24,000 out of pocket after an accidental house fire.

Wendy Rossiter, her husband Gerard, and their four children had been eagerly looking forward to their home at Portrane outside Donabate, Dublin, being fully repaired and refurbished for the festive season after an accidental house fire inflicted major damage.

However, they now face having to use their smoke-stained old furniture for Christmas and new year after Danish firm Qudos went into solvent liquidation, leaving 50,000 Irish policy holders in limbo.

Wendy's plight, highlighted on RTÉ's 'Liveline' yesterday when she spoke to host Joe Duffy, prompted a flood of sympathy.

"We had a house fire, the damage was assessed for repair and we got the first (insurance) payment and the middle payment," she told the Irish Independent.

"Our builder was fantastic and he did a wonderful job with the house.

"It looks great and we were really looking forward to spending Christmas and the new year back home."

The family had bought new beds for their four children, but the bulk of the €24,000 final payment was earmarked for construction costs, new furnishings and fittings.

"Just three days before the house was to be signed off and we were to get the final payment, we were told the insurance firm was in liquidation," she said.

"We just don't know what is going to happen now."

Wendy and Gerard were so thankful for the amazing work the builder had done they paid him €10,000 out of their own money.

A further €1,000 will now be paid each month by the family to the builder.

"We are very thankful that we will be back in our house for Christmas, but we have no choice but to use the old suite, which was out in the shed, even though it still smells of smoke and the fire."

The family had hoped to buy fittings for their home with the final insurance payment.

Wendy admitted her family now have no idea when or if they will receive the €24,000 outstanding from their insurance policy.

"We just don't know - we are still waiting to hear what will happen. We don't know how much will be paid back.

"It was a setback but we are both trying not to let it spoil Christmas, especially for the children," she said.

Irish Independent

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