herald

Thursday 21 March 2019

'I'm €18k out of pocket' - victim of bankrupt insurer after house fire

David O'Hanlon's policy was run by collapsed firm Qudos
David O'Hanlon's policy was run by collapsed firm Qudos

A grandfather whose house was damaged by fire has revealed his shock after learning his home was insured with failed Danish firm Qudos.

David O'Hanlon has been left more than €18,000 out of pocket after flames swept through his home in Rathcoole, Co Dublin, on November 7.

Although the house was seriously damaged by the fire, all seven occupants - who had been asleep at the time - escaped unharmed.

Unlucky

Retiree Mr O'Hanlon (57) said he believed 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," he told the Herald.

"I was shocked when I realised I was one."

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. To his horror, he was then informed there was a problem with the claim and that the contractors would stop work on the house.

Unknown to Mr O'Hanlon, Qudos - which collapsed last month - was responsible for the policy.

"I've been paying my premiums every year so it shouldn't be my problem," he said. "Nowhere did it mention anything about Qudos on the insurance documents.

"In the meantime, I've had to rent another house in the village which is costing €3,000 a month. Understandably, I'm starting to get worried."

Mr O'Hanlon said he has had to pay more than €18,000 out of his own pocket for rent and new furniture.

"I'm lucky that I'm retired and I can manage, but think about all those people making claims stuck in limbo now who don't know what to do."

About 1,400 Irish people have claims outstanding with the Copenhagen-based insurer.

Although Danish authorities are likely to pick up the tab, many claimants remain in the dark.

First Ireland did not respond to a request for comment when contacted by the Herald.

Patrona said it was unable to comment on individual cases.

"In relation to Qudos household claims, we expect these claims will be handled and administered via the Danish Guarantee Fund.

"Regrettably, we currently will not be able to make any offer of settlement until further instruction is received from the Danish Guarantee Fund," it said.

"Settlement offers were made in good faith prior to the bankruptcy event.

"However, due to the current stated position we are prohibited from issuing payments until we receive further instruction from the fund."

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