HC Deb 03 June 1918 vol 106 cc1252-3W

asked the President of the Board of Trade (1) whether his attention has been called to the attitude of the officials who represent the Government in relation to the adjustment and settlement of claims arising under Government policies of insurance against damage by hostile aircraft or by anti-air craft guns; whether his attention has been called to the allegation that there is a growing unwillingness on the part of the Government Department charged with providing compensation to air-raid sufferers to act up to the full measure of its responsibility; and whether he will cause an inquiry to be made into the matter generally; and (2) whether he is aware that allegations of harsh and overbearing conduct have been and are made against those officials who have the adjustment and settlement of claims under aircraft insurance policies issued by or on behalf of the Government; that legal objections are pressed, rights overridden, and current values of labour or materials ignored with the object of reducing the compensation to a minimum; whether a claim made by Mr. A. J. Frazer, in or about February last, for £250 was the subject of an offer of £85 only, though no allegation of excessive claim has or could be suggested; and whether it is the practice in these cases for the Government, where claims are carried into Court, to rely upon the rule that costs cannot be given against the Crown?


I am unaware of any such general grievances as those referred to in the two questions. No cases have up to the present been taken into the Courts, and, in comparison with the number of claims settled under the aircraft insurance scheme, exceedingly few complaints have been made as to the amount or method of the settlement. Such complaints as have been received have almost invariably been due to the insured contending that he was entitled to be paid for damage due to causes other than those covered by the policy. In the specific case mentioned by the hon. Member the claim includes items in respect of certain walls which the assessor reported were not damaged, either directly or indirectly, by aircraft. In view of the want of agreement between Mr. Frazer and the assessor, the Aircraft Insurance Committee instructed a second assessor to give them his opinion, and he has confirmed that of the first assessor.