After a WIRRAL tree crashed onto their home, a family was left feeling “shaken”, “distraught”, and “shaken up”.
Shaun Hardie, Louise Peacock and their daughters aged four and two, all of whom live in Upton, reported that their home “shook” when a fallen tree from the back garden hit it on Whitewell Drive on Saturday December 9.
Water poured through the window of the master bedroom and there were holes in the roof.
Shaun said to the Globe, “The sound was enormous.” It felt like an earthquake. We were left shaken, confused and frightened. We had no idea what to do.
We called Admiral’s emergency number and they were ineffective. My Louise, our neighbor and I went to Bower House to inform them that the tree was down. We also asked for help.
Louise and Shaun received a call from an after-hours member of the team telling them that an electrician and tree surgeon were going to be dispatched on their behalf.
Shaun explained: “There were damages both inside and out of the house, so I sewed up a bag as tightly as I could to cover the holes that water was coming in.”
A tree surgeon was not present on Sunday 10 December. An electrician checked the electrical wiring to ensure it is safe.
Shaun stated: “We had been assured that a representative would be out Monday morning, as well as a surveyor for First Point which owns the care home. They will assess the damages.”
Shaun was forced to leave work for a whole day while they waited on the arborist and surveyor.
Shaun: “On Monday morning, my wife called the First Port office and got the Bower House manager’s number.
When my wife inquired about the arborist and assessor, she was asked whether we were certain the tree was located on their property. This was despite the fact that the tree still leans against the roof of the house. A member of their team working out-of-hours had also accepted responsibility for the tree.
The manager said that they would send a tree specialist to our house at some stage in the next week, but we were not happy. “We said that it was not acceptable, and something had to be done earlier.
When we expressed our concern about trees, they told us that “trees move”.
Shaun’s initial shock and relief at not being injured on Saturday has now changed to “anger and frustration”.
He stated: “On many occasions in recent years, the residents of Whitewell Drive Upton have complained to Bower House about the condition and height of their trees, only to be told that they are fine and not to worry. It’s clear that this is not the case. On Saturday night we saw and experienced the destruction a single tree can cause.
The tree was only a few feet away from our back patio. Thank goodness our pets and children weren’t there.
The damage could have been much worse. The damage will be expensive, and we’ll have to cover it first. Our insurer Admiral has asked us to file a claim and pay an excess of PS200 to the loss adjuster.
Our insurance rates will also increase. We’re struggling with the cost of living and Christmas. The roof, the gutters, the fascias and the soffits are all in need of repair. Also, the patio doors, the posts and fences for the garden, the lights and garden fences will also need replacement.
We now have two girls that are afraid of the rear of the home and will not go there without myself or my spouse being present.
FirstPoint’s spokesperson said that the trees are legally protected in this area and they hire a contractor who will carry out inspections regularly.
This incident was caused by the extreme weather conditions that occurred recently. We understand how upsetting it must have felt for the families involved. We were alerted immediately to the falling tree and worked to ensure that the area had been made safe. Additional inspections have also been arranged of the surrounding trees.
We will support your family in any way we can.
An Admiral spokesperson said, “First of all, we apologize to Ms Peacock for the treatment she received. We are sorry for the poor communication.
“Ms Peacock called us on the 9th of December 2023 to tell us that she had a tree that had fallen onto her roof from the garden next door. The roof had been damaged. Ms Peacock told us at this stage that it wasn’t her tree and she would talk to her husband before calling us again.
The third party property owner told Ms Peacock that they would handle the claim with their own insurance company. However, later, they informed her she needed to make a claim with her insurance to have the damages repaired.
“Ms Peacock contacted us on the 11th of December in order to file a claim. Since that time, Ms Peacock told us the advice we gave her was neither informative nor supportive. She felt that it was important to be clearer on policy coverage, exclusions, and what she should do next. These calls have been listened to and we agree with the fact that at this point, more information was needed and more details about damage should have be established. The agent has been notified immediately.
We appointed BVS as a loss assessor and informed them that they needed to come to the house to evaluate the claim. She confirmed with us the first available appointment. Ms Peacock requested that we visit the property sooner but this was not possible. Ms Peacock then arranged for an emergency roofer to come on 14th of December and make temporary repairs. After the visit by the roofer, we called Ms Peacock to check on the progress and agreed to pay the roof.
We also asked whether the temporary fix will be enough until the Loss Adjusters arrive on the 19th of December and what else could we do between then. Ms Peacock said that the situation with the temporary fix was satisfactory.
Our legal team has also begun investigations to determine the responsibility of the incident and who owned the tree. Our legal team has informed Ms Peacock they can recover the excess from her once we receive an acknowledgement of liability by the third party insurer.
We agree with you that in this instance, the service level we aim to offer our clients was not met. We have personally contacted Ms Peacock in order to apologize and arrange a settlement. “We have agreed to compensate her with PS200 as a recognition of the poor customer service that she received on her first call.”
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