If your home was damaged and you and your insurer had agreed the scope of works to repair the damage it ought to be simple enough to cost the scope of works and receive a payout from the insurer. This was the scenario in one of our matters but a dispute arose when the work costed out by the insurer’s builder and by our clients builder was approximately $260,000 apart. The insurers builder was the lower of the 2 estimates.
Was litigation inevitable as the only means to resolve the dispute?
The client was concerned about the time, inconvenience, stress and the cost of County Court litigation (estimated at $50,000 excluding counsel’s fees and disbursements). We attempted to resolve the dispute by making Calderbank offer to the insurer which was not accepted. (There is never any guarantee that a Calderbank offer, or an offer made under the Rules, will be accepted).
Given that the parties had agreed a scope of works we were able to prevail upon the insurer to accept a settlement process to resolve the dispute. The process included agreeing that the President of the Australian Society of Building Consultants nominate an independent reputable licensed builder as the final arbiter of the cost of the works. The client was able to avoid the cost of litigation and will now obtain an amount from the insurer that will cover the reasonable costs of the damage.