Bricket Wood pensioner driven out of home after insurance firm refuses to pay up

PUBLISHED: 12:32 31 August 2012

Alex Martin.  Problems resolving his mums insurance claim.

Alex Martin. Problems resolving his mums insurance claim.

Krishan Bhungar

A PENSIONER locked in a battle with her insurance company has been driven out of her home after months of waiting for them to pay for water damage to her living room which caused mould and damp to spread up the walls.

When water seeped into Cosette Martin’s home earlier this year from a leaking pipe and ruined her carpet and items of furniture, she immediately contacted her insurers, Aviva, to make a claim.

But while the company took weeks to investigate the damage, which she believes her policy covers her for, more water found its way into her home in Lye Lane, Bricket Wood, and mould began to grow.

And when insurance experts acting on behalf of Aviva “washed their hands” of the claim, her concerned son, fearing for his mother’s health, moved Mrs Martin, who is 74 years old and has dementia, into rented accommodation.

He then tried to clean up the damage himself but was rushed to hospital with bacterial pneumonia, which he suspects he caught from the mould spores in her living room.

Angry son Alex Martin said: “The carpet was the first thing to get damaged but because the floor remained damp for so long mould spread up the tiles.

“We now need to refit the whole living room but if someone had acted sooner then most of the current damage to the house and furniture that required attention would have been avoided.

“My mother has been a long-standing policy holder and it is outrageous. These people don’t want to pay out and I think that is what has happened here.”

The insurers state the problem was caused by rain water, for which she would not be covered.

However, Mr Martin disputes this and believes they should pay out for the damage because he has a quote from a builder that confirms a burst pipe was involved.

His mother is eager to return to the home where she has always lived and Mr Martin said he would now take legal action to try and make that happen.

He added: “It is not safe for my mother to be in her home because of all the mould and the germs so she had to be moved onto my sister’s sofa, but in the end we decided it was not practical and she is now living in rented accommodation.

“They mentioned putting her up in a hotel but nothing happened. It is a big mess and she just wants to go back home.”

In a statement to the Herts Advertiser, Aviva said they were reviewing the case and would respond to Mrs Martin once they had investigated the claim fully.

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