Luke Pollard MP has written to Philip Hammond MP Chancellor of the Exchequer after the Mount Wise Towers' Residents' Association got in touch because some people had been refused home insurance.
The companies in question are Nationwide and Santander. When Luke initially contacted the companies they said that was no change of policy following the fire at Grenfell Tower.
Whether this is a collection of isolated incidents or the start of a bigger trend I want people in Devonport to know that I won’t be standing for it. People in tower blocks should not be discriminated against when they renew their home insurance because of the Grenfell Tower disaster. If you have had any difficulties renewing after the fire please let me know.”
Below is a copy of the letter Luke has written to the Chancellor:
Dear Mr Hammond,
TOWER BLOCK INSURANCE
You will be aware that the cladding on the three Mount Wise tower blocks in Devonport has been identified as being combustible. The re-cladding work will cost approximately £9m and will take until November to complete. Plymouth Community Homes, a housing association, who run the tower blocks are doing everything they can to deliver these emergency repairs but the sums involved are considerable. Can I urge you to look at funding this emergency repair work please?
I am, however, writing about an associated issue affecting tower blocks. Over the weekend the Chair of the Mount Wise tower blocks residents’ association contacted me in relation to a number of his residents being refused home insurance when they tried to renew their policy. The reason given for the refusal to renew their existing insurance policy was because they live in a tower block.
I have been in contact with the two companies involved – Nationwide and Santander – and both assure me they have not changed their position on tower blocks, but nonetheless, I have two constituents who have been refused insurance for very unsatisfactory reasons.
Given the alarming precedent of homes hit by floods being refused insurance I am concerned that the experience of these two people in Plymouth could be the tip of the iceberg. Can I ask that you write to all insurance companies impressing upon them the importance of not discriminating against tower block residents in renewing home insurance policies? Moreover, can you ensure that the algorithms and risk calculations of other insurance providers in their supply chain do not discriminate against tower block residents.
I am not certain whether these two examples I have highlighted are isolated incidents or the start of a bigger trend. Can I ask you to take swift action here to ensure that all insurance firms know that the Government and local MPs will not accept tower block residents – or those living in buildings with cladding – losing their home insurance in the wake of the Grenfell Tower disaster.
I would be happy speaking to officials in your Department to pass on details should that assist you. In anticipation of your help, thank you.
Luke Pollard MP
Member of Parliament for Plymouth Sutton and Devonport"
Following Luke's intervention any Nationwide Members wishing to discuss any challenges in renewing cover can contact:
firstname.lastname@example.org Tel: 07739 302764
email@example.com Tel: 07587 887594