Never mind the quality, here’s the “how much?”

There is a recurring motif to most insurance claims. It echoes through all meetings, reverberates up and down the phone lines, and creeps into every email like a pompous academic’s flashy notations.  It has been transmitting through all of time and space, and underpins the entire industry.

The message: how much?

Indeed, this is what insurance is basically providing – the funds to repair, correct, replace and compensate for some form of damage suffered.

In many large and complex construction related claims (be they PI, contract works or similar) the issue is finding out exactly what was involved and how much it will take to fix it. Insurers, through their lawyers, often engage specialist quantity surveyors to provide expert opinions on the “how much?” question.

image - never mind the quality

You have to admire our social media person’s skills. Alas, the marvels of Paint. Original image:


The vibe we hear around the Rialto is that there are a lot of displeased insurers out there who aren’t getting what they thought from quantity surveyors. Apparently, even if they do receive an opinion on the “how much?”, it takes a really long time and costs a substantial amount of money.

In other cases, the report is so qualified or has so many “coulds” and “maybes” that insurers feel that all they have received is a “definite maybe”.

We understand that often there is not enough information to allow a more definite answer and that quantity surveyors are as mindful as the rest of us about being sued for professional negligence, but we wonder if using a QS in the first instance is what insurers really want.

Maybe a humble adjuster can provide enough information to allow a preliminary assessment of an amount for a reserve to be determined. This calls to mind the old saying “You wouldn’t use Phar Lap to pull a milk cart”.