Halifax couple wins battle with insurance group after car fire
The Co-operators refused to pay the claim after suspicious fire
A Halifax couple says they’ve gone through insurance hell trying to prove they didn’t set their car on fire.
Becky Loughead and James Messervey’s 2008 Dodge Caliber was parked in front of their Halifax home when it went up in flames in the early hours of May 31.
"We were sound asleep," said Loughead.
Their insurance company, the Co-operators, gave them a rental vehicle right away, but withdrew it as soon as police deemed the fire suspicious.
Neighbours told police they saw a man in the area at the time, so the investigation focused on Messervey, who told police he did not do it.
"The detective that was doing the interview, he asked me if I wanted to do polygraph tests. I agreed. I said, ‘There’s no problem whatsoever,’" Messervey said.
The insurance company refused to pay the claim and asked the couple to provide a lot of their private information.
"They wanted bank statements, and car payments, and insurance information, and all of our cellphone records for everyone in the house and everything else. We gave them all that," Loughead said.
The police subsequently determined that the couple were not suspects and told the insurance company two days ago.
"The insurance company was made aware that the owners of the vehicle are not considered to be suspects at this time," said Const. Pierre Bourdages, spokesman for Halifax Regional Police.
However, on Thursday night the couple received a request from the Co-operators to sign a document that authorizes the release of any business or government records, financial or credit documents from any:
- Credit bureau,
- Insurance company,
- Mortgage holder,
- Vehicle-lease holder,
- Retail/ business,
- Government agency,
- Provincial government vehicle and licensing agency,
- Garage or repair facility.
When CBC News contacted the Co-operators for this story a spokesman said there was a miscommunication between the police and the company.
He said now that the situation is clarified, the claim will be paid immediately.
"Oh my God. Thank you so much," said Messervey when he found out.
A spokesman for the Insurance Bureau of Canada says it’s not unusual for an insurer to reserve payment in a situation where there is an active investigation.
Police say the fire investigation is still open and they have no leads or suspects.