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Shipley Christmas Floods


For the residents of Shipley, West Yorkshire the Christmas of 2015 was unexpectedly and devastatingly cut short.

The Incident

Boxing Day saw torrential rain and biblical flooding to hundreds of residential properties in the area.

In one instance Harris Balcombe represented four families on one single street. Offering a full and bespoke service from day one through to moving back; we ensured that our clients were back home for a much dryer 2016 Christmas.

HB Response

In the weeks following the December 26th flooding Harris Balcombe’s first response team as well as their network of specialist suppliers and contractors were onsite in the freezing cold weather to get the best possible start to the process.

The claims process involved securing the immediate appointment of a qualified building surveyor to assess the damage to the properties and a drying specialist to advise on strip out and mitigation works.

We assisted our clients in the finding of suitable immediate alternative accommodation and then a more long term rental property. Each client had very different requirements and so this had to be managed with care and sensitivity, as well as recording all expenses incurred for insurer reimbursement.

We project managed various phases on the projects from strip out and cavity wall extraction through drying and to final reinstatement. Each property progressed at varying rates due to the different levels of activity and co-operation from insurers; demonstrating the need for consumers to buy quality insurance with quality providers.

Each client had suffered considerable loss of contents due to the properties being bungalows. We arranged for full inventories to be drawn up accounting for all losses, as well as arranging the rescue, restoration and storage of salvageable and sentimental belongings.

Despite the care taken to prepare these claims not one insurer was happy to settle the claim without contention. A period of expert negotiation was required and our technicians ensured that our clients received increased settlements from the first offers insisted on by insurers.

Harris Balcombe also made sure that all additional expenses were reimbursed to ensure that our clients were not out of pocket. Such incidentals are often left unpaid by insurers as many policyholders are not knowledgeable on what can be claimed.

All of our clients were home for Christmas in beautifully renovated properties despite some payments to building contractors still being outstanding well into the New Year. We even offered advice to our clients on the implementation of Flood Re and what this would mean for their future insurance needs.




At this point, you would hope that your insurance company is there to help but unfortunately this is not the case. We have known families who have felt intimidated by insurers and have been treated as though they have done something wrong, or are in some way to blame for their situation.

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