Working with Crusader digital agency Twenty Three Media managed to get back £16,000, a large chunk of its loss and damage to the vehicle.
But nothing was easy in this complicated case with a lot of takeaway pointers for other mobile small traders.
++ If you’ve been affected by this issue or feel you’ve been a victim of injustice, please contact consumer champion Maisha Frost on email@example.com ++;
The raid, which had all the hallmarks of a professional job, happened overnight in an NCP indoor car park when the team was on location, shooting in central London.
Filming is a mobile business, not confined to standard working hours, that uses high value equipment.
Twenty Three co-founder James Robin had specifically chosen Camerasure, a £1,388 specialist insurance policy underwritten by Aviva and sold by broker Towergate.
Providing the protection the business needed, it included £10,000 of extra cover (minus £300 excess) for unattended vehicles.
“From the terms we understood that to be regardless of time or circumstance, which is why we signed up,” James explained to Crusader after several months of stalemate.
“But our £7,154 claim was rejected and £2,500 offered because the theft occurred during the working day.
“We have also struggled with NCP to confirm the time of the break-in because no CCTV footage or log-in details after we reported the matter seem to be available. Making contact has been very difficult.
“We’re caught between the two parties and absolutely stuck.”
Crusader asked both Aviva and operator NCP if they could review the case.
Aviva said: “Specialist insurance products such as Camerasure are often managed and branded by brokers who have detailed knowledge and expertise of the particular area.
“As the broker, Towergate are authorised by Aviva to manage the administration of the product and handle claims up to the limit of their delegated authority.
“On investigation, the circumstances of the claim highlighted a discrepancy in their policy schedule in relation to cover provided for equipment in unattended vehicles. Once the discrepancy in the documentation was drawn to our attention we immediately revised the decision in the insured’s favour.”
Twenty Three received £9,000 from NCP which commented: “We work closely with the police on what we can do to try to prevent criminals from entering our car parks. We take all matters into consideration when a crime happens but vehicles are parked at the owner’s risk.
“We have signage up reminding all customers not to leave valuables in their vehicle as crime prevention is always the best solution.”
Best moves to protect valuable film kit
Only ever leave equipment unattended in a vehicle if there is no alternative, avoid overnights
Register all kit with serial codes, using a site such as LensTag.com or Stolen Camera Finder so you can keep a track online.
Use tracking devices such as Apple Air Tag hidden inside your kit. Then use “Find My” on Apple devices, or similar on Android.
Know your insurance policy inside out. Question and clarify all grey areas, test those with a worst case, what if scenario and whether you would be paid out.
Add stickers to your equipment that cannot be removed e.g. ToughTags
Check the insurance cover of any equipment you may be using and storing that may belong to another company. If that goes in any theft you will be liable and will have to foot that bill yourself.
Share problems all might not be lost. It may be hard to admit to a catastrophe but someone may still be able to help.
Check online selling sites and marketplaces, you could spot your stolen goods.