The Chairman welcomed Rob Dakin of Axa Insurance to the meeting. Rob said that Axa was probably the larger global insurer. In the UK it had absorbed the former Guardian Royal Exchange and Provincial Insurance Companies. Following a rise in the number of losses caused by fires, Axa was taking a more robust stance on kitchens. As well as insisting that exhaust systems should be cleaned to TR19 standards, Axa also required that only specialist contractors (ie HVCA members) should be used to undertake the work. He was interested in the discussion on the Green Book Scheme and felt that this could be incorporated as well. He commented that going down the HVCA route was a big step forward for Axa and one that might be taken up by other insurers.
Alan Gregory said that there was a need to tighten up on compliance with TR19. Roger Brown added that during the train the trainer course held in Scotland there had been a discussion about the need to produce an HVCA Report and Certificate on Ductwork Cleaning. Rob Dakin commented that insurers would wish to see some ratification that the work had been carried out to TR19 by an HVCA member. Steve Lorriman felt that TR19 already made it clear what had to be reported to clients. He felt that the Report was the key document and expressed concern that a template might become a “tick box”. This could reduce standards. In response to a question from Alan Gregory, Rob Dakin said that Axa would not look for compliance with LEV legislation as they were not an enforcement body. Insurers were looking for reasonable steps to prevent loss. Sue Dackombe asked where members stood regarding liability if a fire occurred after cleaning had been carried out. Rob said that each case had to be examined on its merits. The building owner would be covered if he complied with the terms of his insurance, but the insurance company could seek to recover their losses from a third party if negligence had occurred.
Alan Gregory thanked Rob for his attendance. He said it had been a useful discussion.