How to deal with emergencies

If a pipe bursts in the middle of the night in a block of flats, it’s likely that an anxious lessee will call his or her managing agent first. But the managing agent may not have immediate access to their files. Meanwhile, the water keeps gushing, causing more and more damage. Lessees are frustrated and distressed. Managing agents have to take stressful calls at antisocial hours, which they may not be fully equipped to deal with.

Very often, the broker or insurer doesn’t hear anything about the burst pipe until they receive a claim for the resulting damage. That means the single biggest factor driving the cost of that claim – the length of time that the water is gushing – is completely out of their control.

That’s why there is a need for a new service to bring managing agents back in control of emergency repairs

By swiftly responding to emergencies, whether they’re insured or not to help mitigate losses at the earliest possible opportunity. Here is a case study of how it can work in practice. There had been a break in the mains inlet pipe in the flat above and water was discovered flowing through the ceiling one evening. The lessee in the flat below didn’t know where to find the stopcock so he called the out of hours emergency service arranged by his managing agent. Within two hours, a plumber was on site to trace and repair the damaged pipe and stop the flow of water. As a result, the total cost of the damage was limited to £750.

Based on the experience of Cunningham Lindsey of many incidents like this each year, they say that if the water had carried on flowing for another two hours, the ceiling would have collapsed. Replacing it and redecorating the kitchen would have cost £2,750.

After eight hours, kitchen units would need to be completely replaced. The flat would become uninhabitable, adding loss of rent and the expense of alternative accommodation to the bill. The water would also have penetrated the next flat below. By now, the cost would be £22,750.

What makes an out of hours emergency service a success?

UK Service Centre manned by skilled claims technicians and loss adjusters, used to dealing with distressed callers.

Investment in IT and telephone systems

A triage system which helps advisers establish quickly how urgent a problem is and whether an out-of-hours visit is really necessary. It’s common practice for managing agents and landlords to nominate a general building contractor but, because they’re paid per call-out, they can incur a lot of unnecessary cost.

A pre-approved national network of contractors, with agreements in place that guarantee supply, fix competitive call-out rates and set service levels. As well as carrying out emergency repairs, the contractor can generate next day estimates for permanent fix.

A seamless link with claims handling and loss adjusting – customers don’t have to give their details to several sets of people: one contact and everything is resolved.

MaintenanceLine.

MaintenanceLine provides 24/7 emergency services for blocks of flats and apartments.

MaintenanceLine is available at only *£6.50 per flat, for more information call 0800 281235 or click here for more details and costs

* plus VAT