Recently more and more loss adjusters seem to be trying to persuade claimants to accept vouchers which can then be exchanged for goods at a particular retailer or other nominated supplier. We would recommend that anyone faced with making a claim read the extract from the October 2001 edition of the Ombudsman News, which is especially relevant to the replacement of antique and period jewellery.

"Opting for ‘replacement’ is only a reasonable option on the insurer’s part if the object claimed for can be replaced. If the object is antique jewellery, for example, then it is not open to the insurer to insist the claimant buys a modern replacement from a chain shop. Similar issues arise whenever the replacement options are limited. It may, for example, be unreasonable to limit a policyholder’s choice of replacement to a particular retailer.

Policyholders should be allowed to choose where they purchase a replacement and they are entitled to a cash settlement if they cannot find an acceptable alternative. In such circumstances, we would not regard it as reasonable for the insurer to make a deduction from the cash settlement to represent any discount it would have got if the policyholder had bought a replacement from one of the insurer’s nominated suppliers. Nor would it necessarily be appropriate for the insurer to offer vouchers to the policyholder. If the option of replacement is not available, then the only way in which the insurer can indemnify a claimant is by a cash settlement.

In some cases, policyholders may not wish to purchase a replacement for the damaged or stolen goods. This may be, for example, because their circumstances have changed, or the object had sentimental value. Where this is the case, we will normally ask the insurer to agree a cash settlement." (from: Financial Ombudsman News, October 2001).