Fire broke out on the 18th April 2012 in Souter Johnnie’s Inn in Kirkoswald, Ayrshire. This large thatched property was owned by Costley & Costley Hotelier Ltd, and stood on the site of a former school house attended by Robert Burns. Proprietor and chef Bill Costley had previously spent £1 million updating the inn, which opened six years ago. Despite the efforts of 40 firefighters, the stock, fixtures and fittings were completely destroyed in the blaze, and the thatched roof collapsed in on the kitchen and restaurant area.
Despite the devastation, Mr Costley was determined to reopen the historic building. He employed Harris Balcombe partner Jonathan Samuelson and director Adrian Gilluly, who arrived soon after the fire. Initially, the insurers and their investigators refused to accept liability, inferring that there had been a breach of policy surrounding the construction of the building and the alleged cause. Policy specialist Adrian organised independent fire investigators, who found enough evidence to prove that the policy condition had not been breached. We also showed that the equipment and stock were a total loss. After three months of negotiations, the insurers accepted liability.
The business was closed temporarily, and we were able to negotiate a very detailed loss of gross profit claim for the full indemnity period. After their substantial loss, the owners decided to rebuild the cottage slightly differently, emphasising formerly unused features of the building. Having forced the insurers to accept liability, we negotiated a quantum claim, delivering a cash settlement which enabled the clients to re-establish the business as they wanted, and with a final result that far exceeded expectations. Renamed ‘Souter’s Inn’, the hotel was redesigned with a more contemporary feel, and has proved a hit with tourists and locals alike. It now accommodates up to 130 diners, with a focus on serving high quality food to those wishing to explore the local sights.