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Holiday insurance refusing to pay out. At the end of my tether.

(28 Posts)
VivaLeBeaver Thu 13-Aug-15 17:44:43

Dd was booked on an expensive (£800) school trip last March and came down with shingles the week before and was unable to go.

Ive been trying for six months to gets a refund. Insurance was arranged through school as a block insurance.

A Dr has filled out the medical claim form stating she was too ill to go.

Insurance company have said they need a holiday invoice and a cancellation invoice. I have sent them stuff fromthe tour operator. The first is a letter from the tour operator saying dd was booked on the trip at a cost of x£. Then a second letter saying that she had to cancel on x date due to illness.

The tour operator say there is no other paperwork. The school say there is no other paperwork. The insurance company say it's not good enough but seem unable to explain what they need apart from saying they need invoices. I thought an invoice was a bit of paper showing what has been pId or what is owed and I believe this document ion demonstrates that.

Ive just got off the phone again from the insurance company who say their hands are tied because they " get audited and have to do everything by the book". They have said they will contact the tour operator on my behalf.

I really don't think I'm going to get my money back and don't know what else to do. Surely a letter saying how much we paid, another letter saying we cancelled and a medical certificate should be enough?

Insurance company just seem like total scammers trying to make it impossible to claim.

FrancesOldhamKelseyRIP Thu 13-Aug-15 17:47:46

Mutter about either the Ombudsman, or a letter to a newspaper money section. The phrase Treating Customers Fairly might also get a reaction. It might focus their minds. Do not let them get away with it because this is inexcusable.

glenthebattleostrich Thu 13-Aug-15 17:52:35

Surely the school have an invoice stating no of people going on trip at x cost per person? Or the tour operator can provide one.

I can understand the insurance company's problem tbh.

VivaLeBeaver Thu 13-Aug-15 18:03:44

Ah, but an invoice about the whole trip is apparantly some breech of data protection and none of my business. So the tour operator prepared and sent us an individual invoice. And to be fair I can't see what difference it makes to the insurance company how many people were on the trip and how much the school paid for everyone. It's only dd I'm claiming for.

I think i,will have to get the ombudsman involved.

MaximiseProductivity Thu 13-Aug-15 18:06:12

I the insurance company have offered to contact the tour operator, they do sound like they're trying to help.

There will definitely have been invoices paid by the school. The school also get audited and wouldn't have been able to pay for the trip without one!

MaximiseProductivity Thu 13-Aug-15 18:08:25

Cross Post. There's no breach of Data Protection, the children's names won't be on the invoice, just the number of children paid for. Who's telling you that?

<Whispers> is it possible the school might be at fault? Was your DD's place definitely paid for?

VivaLeBeaver Thu 13-Aug-15 18:25:29

Nothing would surprise me. It took me three months, 20 emails to the trip teacher and in the end a snotty phone call to the headmaster to get a letter/invoice from the school. And by the time I did it Id actually given up and gone direct to the tour operator and got stuff from them anyway.

MaximiseProductivity Thu 13-Aug-15 18:41:23

Who is the tour operator?

The way it works with the one we use is the final invoice is sent to the school for the final number of children attending (so your DD might not have been on that one). If there have been any cancellations after the no refunds date, they are invoiced separately as "cancellation charges" although the amount will be the same as the cost of the holiday IYSWIM.

So, it might be that the group invoice doesn't include your DD's payment.

VivaLeBeaver Thu 13-Aug-15 18:45:27

We cancelled the day before the trip left so Id have thought dd was on all the paperwork. Can't remember who the TO was now. Something like school ski trips.

holidaysarenice Thu 13-Aug-15 18:46:06

Tell them you are contacting the ombudsman. They are charged for that and were very useful in helping us out.

tribpot Thu 13-Aug-15 18:50:13

Is it possible the school have lost this cancellation invoice, if that's actually what the TO sent? How neither company can put hands on the relevant paperwork is rather worrying. The tour operator isn't owned by a 'friend' of the headteacher or anything??

Have you considered putting in an FOI request of the school? They seem to be taking the piss, along with 800 quid of your money.

VivaLeBeaver Thu 13-Aug-15 18:52:00

I could cry. School were adament there's no,other paperwork. tO seemed to think there was a different invoice but that they didn't want to give it to me. Might try them again tomorrow and see if I can get it.

80sMum Thu 13-Aug-15 18:53:54

Surely it's the school who buys the insurance, not you personally? So the insurance contract is with the school? If that's the case, you need the school to make the claim on your behalf, with a covering letter/email from the school explaining that this was a school trip that the school invoiced you for. With your permission, the school could enclose a copy of your invoice.
I have done this many times for parents at the school I work for - and the insurers have paid up.

VivaLeBeaver Thu 13-Aug-15 19:05:43

Well that's what I thought, but the school won't get involved.

tribpot Thu 13-Aug-15 19:05:43

But the entire invoice process can't have consisted of a letter from the TO - they simply HAVE to have sent an invoice. Otherwise neither party is anywhere near as bothered about being auditable as they're now making out.

What type of school is this? Can you escalate to a higher authority? From the insurance company's perspective, I can certainly see why they don't believe any money has changed hands. And I agree with 80sMum, this is the school's insurance policy - if anyone was that bothered about data protection, I don't think they should be speaking to you about this directly. I wonder if that's why the TO won't release the invoice?

Play merry hell about this, OP - what a shabby way to behave. I would be instructing a solicitor, although I appreciate it wouldn't take much for that to blow the entire 800 quid you're owed.

VivaLeBeaver Thu 13-Aug-15 19:07:09

I don't know who to be mad at. The school or the insurance company. It's just a bog standard comp.

I'm so ringing the headmaster up again in Sept.

tribpot Thu 13-Aug-15 19:25:18

Oh good, so it's still a whatdoyoucallit, an LEA maintained school? Hang on <gets out handbook on applying to secondary school which arrived two days ago, to my immense distress .. > maintained school, not an academy or anything like that?

It must be accounting for its expenditure to the LEA in that case I would think? That should help.

I would start with making a formal complaint. I don't understand why you are the claimant when the school bought the insurance, I'm sure it should be them dealing with the claim. Have they given you a copy of the policy? What's the excess for cancellation?

It sounds like the tour operator have prepared an individual invoice, who's it made out to? Not you, I hope. The insurance company want a cancellation invoice as well?

I'd definitely be involving the money section of one of the newspapers, or maybe MoneySavingExpert - because there's obviously a warning lesson for parents generally here about school trips. Make sure your understanding of who has responsibility for what is nailed down. If your DD had gone and, say, broken her ankle, would the school have dealt with the insurer then? Or would you have been left sorting it all out? In which case you'd be better off getting your own insurance for her.

Incidentally, did you get a receipt from the school for the money paid?

VivaLeBeaver Thu 13-Aug-15 19:46:08

No, it's an academy actually. Sorry, just meant it wasn't private.

VivaLeBeaver Thu 13-Aug-15 19:47:49

The excess is £65. So I'm expecting we will be £65 out of pocket but Id like the rest of it back. I can't remember who the individual invoice was made out to.....Dh has scanned it into his computer before we sent it off. Will have to look.

VivaLeBeaver Thu 13-Aug-15 19:48:54

And yes, I think Dh has receipts.....well bits of paper about 3" square in which the school receptionist scribbles in biro that a cheque for x amount has been received. Not sure if she writes that it's for x school trip.

tribpot Thu 13-Aug-15 19:52:53

Ah. An academy does complicate matters. But presumably there's a complaints procedure to follow which can go above the school if necessary.

So if you know the excess is 65, is that because you have a copy of the policy? Is it in your dd's name?

VivaLeBeaver Thu 13-Aug-15 20:03:05

No, I don't have a copy of the policy. The claims form said the excess was £65.

MaximiseProductivity Thu 13-Aug-15 21:14:03

Even when the cancellation is very close to departure the company we use (for UK activity trips) send a credit note for the cancelled place and a new invoice for the cancellation fee. So it's possible the school have accepted the credit but not paid the cancellation fee. There would be an invoice, addressed to the school containing only the details of the cancelled place.

If the insurance company are going to speak to the tour operator, they'll easily be able to establish if monies are still outstanding though.

I agree with others. I'm a school business manager and I would expect to be dealing with the insurance company over this, not the parent, although obviously I'd expect your help in providing medical certificates etc.

As you've got this far, see what the insurance company say after speaking to the tour operator and get them to write down exactly what you need and who should have it. Then give the school one last chance and go to the governors if you don't get success. Is there a bursar or School Business Manager? You might get more sense out of them than the head or organising teacher grin

FWIW, knowing how school offices sometimes work (not mine obviously!) I never pay anything to my DCs schools in cash. Strictly parentpay or cheque, even for small amounts, so there's a paper trail if things go missing.

VivaLeBeaver Thu 13-Aug-15 21:20:35

My step mum is actually head of the governors. I did mutter something about the whole debacle a few weeks ago but she seemed very uninterested. I told her I was going to sue the school if they didn't produce the documents I needed and she didn't seem to think this would be a possibility or that the school would pay up!

I guess maybe I need to write to her formally.

I honestly don't think the school would do anything if I left it to them to sort out. I literally got the paperwork from the school two days before the end of term and ive been chasing it since April. I pve been ringing the school office 3x a week and asking for the trip teacher to ring me back and he never rang back until June and that was because I rang the headmaster. Trip teacher rang me the following day and promised to email me the stuff the next day and even then it took three weeks.

tribpot Thu 13-Aug-15 21:35:43

God they sound utterly hopeless and uninterested. If this is typical of their attitude towards things at the school I don't fancy its long term chances.

I wonder if a little look at the Academies Financial Handbook 2015 might prove enlightening, let us see ..

The academy trust must have a chief financial officer (CFO), appointed by the trust’s board, who is the trust’s finance director, business manager or equivalent, to lead on financial matters. The CFO should play both a technical and leadership role, including ensuring sound and appropriate financial governance and risk management arrangements are in place, preparing and monitoring of budgets, and ensuring the delivery of annual accounts.

The trust’s internal control framework must include:
• applying discipline in financial management, including managing banking, debt and cash flow, with appropriate segregation of duties
• the propriety and regularity of financial transactions

I could go on! I would be quoting all this to them and I think I would be shopping them to the EFA - they seem like a good candidate for a spot audit.

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