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Paying an insurance claim before culpability has been established by the insusrance Co.

0 votes

Hi all

One of our parishioners has raised a complaint against our Parish Council, regarding safeguarding the public purse and I think they are correct in this matter, your input would very much be appreciated.

We have had a claim come into the Parish for flood damage caused by flooding from our land into their land, this occurred during a period of exceptionally heavy rain.

This was passed to the Insurance Co to deal with as we did not admit liability due to the exceptional weather, and at present, the Insurance has not made a determination as to liability.

However, at a recent Parish Council meeting, the Chairman unilaterally pushed for and won a payment to the claimant (majority vote) stating that he wanted the matter settled and had no interest in liability or culpability, especially as the claim was for £350 and we have an excess of £250.

The Parishioner has pointed out that the Parish has a legal obligation to protect the public purse, and by paying this has:
 

  1. Effectively admitted guilt on the part of the parish
  2. Has made a payment without due course to culpability or liability
  3. Has made an illegal payment as due legal process has not been followed!

They have highlighted this further by giving an example, being that if a person went to the PC with an unestablished claim, then by the Parish's actions in this the Parish would have to pay out on a potentially fraudulent claim as the president had been set.

I've looked at our Financial Regulation and all other regulations and this isn't specifically covered, consequently, I am at a bit of a loss.

Has the Chairman taken the Parish down the dark road of illegal payments or is he allowed to disregard safeguarding the public purse?

As the old saying goes....HELP!

Down_Here
(and very concerned!)

asked by (1.4k points)

3 Answers

+1 vote
Oh dear! Once you have instructed the insurance company to deal with a claim, they make the decisions, not you. By making a payment without the consent of your insurer, you have breached the terms of your insurance cover and may face a claim from them for full reimbursement of all work they have undertaken on this case. You MUST discuss this with your insurer immediately, as the decision to make the payment will be on the public record through the minutes (or did you exclude press and public from this discussion?)
answered by (32.8k points)
Hi DtC

Nope done in the full public glare, albeit in the virtual world!

Oddly since I wrote the original post, I've had two other Parishioners raise this!
+1 vote
The PC Chair may have cojoled the council in to breaching the terms and conditions of the insurance policy by agreeing to "an out of court" cash settlement.  His actions should be referred to the external auditor in the forthcoming AGAR.
answered by (22.4k points)
I believe that at least one member of the public intends to!
0 votes
Bad decision.

Where was the clerk in all of this?

Even if caveated with "without prejudice or liability" the PC has settled without properly investigating (that's the job of the insurance company.)

Another side of the "public money" coin is the question - why bother paying an insurance premium if you are going to settle claims unilaterally?

Not to forget also - any future claims from that, or nearby landowners, may be considered under the precedent of this claim having been settled (and therefore assumed responsibility.)
Very bad decision.
answered by (4.9k points)

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