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Couple refused payout after restaurant inferno

PUBLISHED: 11:50 15 August 2010 | UPDATED: 11:56 16 September 2010

A COUPLE whose Great Yarmouth home and restaurant business was devastated by fire say they have been refused an insurance payout.

Fred and Gill Bennett were told their policy did not cover the claim for more than £100,000 following the fire at the Avenida Restaurant, in Regent Road.

A COUPLE whose Great Yarmouth home and restaurant business was devastated by fire say they have been refused an insurance payout.

Fred and Gill Bennett were told their policy did not cover the claim for more than £100,000 following the fire at the Avenida Restaurant, in Regent Road.

Four months after the blaze, Mr Bennett, 60, is still working to repair the three-storey property.

It suffered severe smoke damage; the ground-floor kitchen remains a charred wreck; and black tar still coats the walls of much of the couple's five-bedroom flat.

Former publican Mr Bennett remains determined to reopen the restaurant, possibly by the end of the year, despite the latest setback.

He said: “We were told last month insurers would not meet the claim, and I was astonished there was a problem.

“An investigator had been sent round to assess the damage, but we heard nothing from the company for weeks.

“They have picked out two or three clauses in the policy as a reason for not paying. It was something I was completely unaware of, but nobody reads the small print.

“We have been told they will pay back our previous contributions but not for the damage.

Mr Bennett is intending to ask the insurance ombudsman to investigate the decision by the company, Lloyds Liberty Mutual.

Since the fire the couple have been staying with friends.

Mrs Bennett, 46, previously chef at the restaurant, is working as a cook at a Caister pub.

The blaze started in the cellar at about 4pm on April 26 and is believed to have been caused by an electrical fault in a fridge generator.

No one was available for comment from the insurers at the time of going to press.

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