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Zurich In Spat With Tottenham MP Over Riot Claims

Zurich defends itself against accusations its response to riot hit victims in poverty hit area was ‘woeful’

Zurich has defended itself Tottenham MP David Lammy’s accusations that their response to the riots was ‘woeful’ and customer were left ‘destitute’

“In this country people are still standing destitute,” Lammy said yesterday to a live audience on the British Broadcasting Corp.’s Radio 5Live program. “The insurance companies have been woeful. Shame on them, particularly Zurich, for the way they have treated people.”

However, Zurich hit back and said: “We’re sorry that Mr Lammy takes that view as we are absolutely committed to fulfilling our responsibilities with our policyholders.

“We were first on the scene when the police cordons were lifted and the first insurer to extend our own claims notification period to 30 days (from seven days) to assist customers responding to the difficult events of three months ago.”

How insurers deal with riot claims in Tottenham is politically sensitive as it is in the borough of Haringey, which is one of the U.K.’s 20 most deprived areas, according to a government report published in March.

It means insurers, whether rightly or wrongly, face being accused of ignoring the poor.

Zurich added: “With particular reference to our activities in Tottenham, we have been liaising with our customers (Metropolitan Housing Trust and Threadneedle) to ensure all the residents are in alternative accommodation and their needs met.

“Indeed we made the first payment to our customers for alternative accommodation in the first week following the riots and indeed many more substantial payments since.

“We were also the first insurer to meet Haringey Council to discuss planning issues with a view to having the premises rebuilt as soon as possible.

“We have been discussing these matters directly with Mr Lammy and his office regularly in recent months and he is aware of all our activities – including several which would not have been included in the residents’ insurance policies – to help his constituents.”

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