Surfers Paradise RSL – Fire damage soon to be back up and running At about 1.30am on Wednesday 2nd July fire took hold in the Surfers Paradise RSL club. Five fire crews attended the scene of the blaze which broke out in the kitchen causing significant damage to the building, contents and loss of revenue including a restaurant booking the next day for 300 guests. The property was not only damaged by the fire, but also suffered significant soot and water damage. LMI were called in to provide claims preparation services to the Surfers RSL and to coordinate with the numerous stakeholders involved. In this particular case the building, being a strata title, had one set of insurers as did the contents and business interruption programmes. In total the site had three insurers/loss adjustors working on the one event. In a credit to all parties, orders were given for work to quickly start on clearing the debris and making safe. The clubs initial estimate was to be closed “for up to 6 months” however it is hoped that a partial opening can be achieved by the middle of September and the club be back in full operation by end of October; some two months earlier than first anticipated. Complicating this claim were three key elements
- damage to the poker machines was at first considered to be repairable however the loss adjuster eventually accepted that whilst technically it may have been possible (to repair), commercially it was not sensible as there are only a limited number of repairers authorised by the office of liquor and gaming and they all said they would not be willing to maintain the machines going forward. The machines were covered under a maintenance agreement prior to the loss and the adjuster accepted that to repair the machines without being able to continue the maintenance agreement did not follow the Basis of Settlement listed in the policy to put the insured back into the position equal to, but not better or more extensive than its condition when new. The machines were therefore written off.
- the declared value for the poker machines were slightly lower than the replacement cost. LMI suggested to the assessor that as the declared value was not a sub limit, the policy should respond in full even though the quote exceeded the declared value. The loss adjuster agreed and the settlement to the RSL was based on replacement like for like even though this exceeded the declared value.
- the business is very seasonal and in addition has been adversely affected by the construction of the Gold Coast light rail system which disrupted traffic. At the end of July 2014 the light rail system was officially opened so LMI is now working with the business interruption insurer to determine the positive effects of this on the RSL’s business.
- Working with the broker LMI were able to recommend and support a number of progress payments and to date insurers have paid out over $1,500,000 in property damage repairs/replacement and $500,000 in business interruption.
Russ Nicholas Queensland Manager for LMI Claims stated that there had been and continued to be “a tremendous effort on everyone’s part to work together” and “credit also goes to the broker who set up a comprehensive programme and the insurers who met their liabilities promptly” Russ went on to further say that “it is often that we read about complaints in the press about how poorly the insurance industry behaves but in this particular case the Surfers RSL bad news did in fact have a silver lining and the outcome is and continues to be a credit to all parties involved”.