£1m payout saves fire-hit firm in Sheffield

Antiquity G.R.P. Ltd, fibreglass factory at Parkwood Springs burned down in September 2013.
Antiquity G.R.P. Ltd, fibreglass factory at Parkwood Springs burned down in September 2013.
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A fire-hit Sheffield company which faced closure after its insurance claim was rejected is celebrating after a broker negotiated a £1m payout.

Antiquity GRP’s fibreglass factory on Parkwood Springs was gutted in the blaze last September. A cause has never been established.

Insurers Aviva initially repudiated the claim on the grounds that several conditions had been breached.

Alister Smith of IFM insurance brokers, spent three months in negotiations with the company until it finally settled.

Now, Antiquity is planning to renovate the factory and move back in within three months.

Tony McNeill, managing director of Antiquity Group said: “Alister and his team at IFM Insurance saved our business from going under.

“We couldn’t have dealt directly with the insurer and even if we had it was almost certain that our claim would have been turned down.

“We have always relied on the professionalism of IFM to ensure our insurance cover meets the demands of the business. They ensured that our insurance policy performed exactly as you would expect when you make a claim. Alister and his team were lifesavers.”

Alister Smith of IFM said: “While Aviva were within their rights to repudiate the claim it was up to IFM to prove that the warranty breaches were not material to the loss, and that Antiquity had made a genuine claim.

“During three months of intense negotiations Aviva were very helpful and we were delighted with the outcome which enables a local business to continue trading.

“We hired a solicitor to provide legal knowhow, for example, in dismissing the Fire Brigade’s own incident report as to the possible cause of the fire.

“He pointed out that in the eyes of the law the fire brigade were not classed as experts in determining the cause of fires, merely experts in putting them out”.

Antiquity has been based in Sheffield since the early 1980s, manufacturing a range of dormer units and bay window canopies for blue-chip house builders and smaller independent builders.

Aviva was unavailable for comment.