Ex-councillor urges people to fight their corner after victory in insurance battle

A former councillor who faced a battle for an insurance payout after his wall was knocked down after an alleged burglary has urged others to fight their corner.

Donald Wood with his damaged wall
Donald Wood with his damaged wall

Donald Wood claimed the boundary between his and his neighbour’s property was damaged in the incident in September 2020.

Following an inspection of the scene, his long-term insurance provider, RSA, insisted repair costs would have to be split with nextdoor’s owner.

But after four months of wrangling with the firm, Mr Wood, who previously represented Cleadon and East Boldon as a ward councillor on South Tyneside Council, eventually prevailed.

Former councillor Donald Wood has urged others to fight their corner with insurance companies

He has now urged others in similar circumstances not to be deterred – and offered tips on how to deal with such situations.

“You shouldn’t have to go through this rigmarole, I paid my money every month, but they were found wanting,” said Mr Wood, who lives in West Boldon.

“Always tell the truth, keep on their backs and if it drags on be prepared to get an outside organisation involved.”

Following an inspection of the damage caused in the incident, RSA claimed part of the wall was on land belonging to Mr Wood’s neighbour, meaning repair costs would have to be shared.

The damaged wall

This was set out in a letter to Mr Wood, but due to an ‘administrative error’ the insurer did not respond to his response contesting the findings of the assessment.

To apologise, the firm has now agreed to cover the full cost of fixing the wall.

An RSA spokesperson said: “Mr Wood’s home insurance covers him for the damage caused to the wall on his property, but when damage is caused to something jointly owned by two neighbours – in this case, the boundary wall pillar – it is normal for insurers to split the cost of repairs.

“However, an administrative error meant that we unfortunately didn’t respond to Mr Woods letter, so, by way of apology for this, we will pay for the full cost of repairs to the wall and pillar in this case.”

Following the alleged burglary, Northumbria Police arrested a suspect who is due to appear in court later in 2021.

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