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Dispute with insurers leaves flooded family facing disaster

By Alan Smith

For most of us, the Christmas flooding that occurred along the River Medway is just a distant memory.

But for some of the victims, the nightmare is just getting worse.

Lisa Peacock’s home in Bramble Close, Hildenborough, was flooded and she and her two children, aged 11 and 15, and her mother, aged 70, who live with her, have spent the last six months since January in rented accommodation.

But a series of delays has meant her home is still not ready to return to.

The flooded street at Christmas

With her insurer, the Royal Sun Alliance, refusing to pay for her rented accommodation beyond the six months, she is now afraid her family will be made homeless.

The Sackville School secretary, who is a single mum, said: “I can’t afford to pay the mortgage and pay for rented accommodation on my salary.”

The rent on her temporary home in Tunbridge Wells is £1,700 a month.

Her own home, where she has lived since 2000, is still stripped of all fittings and furniture.

The Royal Sun Alliance (RSA) said the delay had not been its fault. It said it had been unable to reach an agreement on the repair work required with an independent loss assessor, Morgan Clark, hired by Ms Peacock.

A RSA spokesman said: “We had other customers in the same street where there was no problem and they were back in their homes by the end of January.”

But he agreed the situation was “most unfortunate” for Ms Peacock and her family.

RSA dried out Ms Peacock’s home before the end of January, using a “speed dry” method that effectively cooked the house. It’s her contention that this method caused further damage that now requires repair.

The spokesman said: “There is nothing more we can do in this particular case. We did make it clear that the alternative accommodation would not be extended beyond August, but her loss assessor has delayed the claim and prevented the repairs from being carried out.”

Ms Peacock has now taken her case to the financial ombudsman.

She said: “It’s been one long fight. Now we may have nowhere to live.”

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