Backchat took a call from a chum in Hampshire threatened with flooding recently. Water was pouring through the garden towards the house and Backchat's chum was out digging a drainage trench in the garden to steer the water away from the French windows.

A call to Portsmouth Water elicited the response that, although it delivered water, it was not responsible for taking it away – that was Southern Water. Southern Water admitted it was responsible for drainage but not for open gullys – the cause of the flooding. That was the council. The council admitted it should provide sandbags but had run out. A neighbour dug out the gully and solved the problem.

That wasn't the end of the matter, however. Portsmouth Water followed up with a leaflet about its house insurance. Backchat's chum's eye was caught by the inclusion of damage to external underground pipes. Just such a broken pipe five years earlier had flooded the house and destroyed the carpet but his house insurer had refused to pay out.

Asking for the policy documents to check the exact wording, our friend could find no reference to this cover. Not only that, but Portsmouth was misspelt. Further documents had burglary misspelt too. And who had sent this error-ridden material on behalf of Portsmouth Water? Step forward the UK's biggest broker Aon.


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