The business is even helping out with the NHS response to the coronavirus pandemic

When insurers face a home insurance claim, alternative accommodation costs are one extra they don’t want to have to fork out on.

As well as driving up the costs of the claim, forcing the policyholder to move into temporary accommodation that is usually of a lower standard to their usual home simply does not lead to a good claims experience for the customer.

And that is where husband and wife team Steven and Emma Trollope came in with The Temporary Kitchen Company (TKC).

An Old Caravan

Co-founder and director Emma Trollope said the idea stemmed from the inconvenience facing their customers when they were forced out of their homes for a renovation to take place.

“We came up with the idea in 2012, because back then Steven was plastering and tiling, and when doing high-end houses it became very apparent that getting a new kitchen done was very inconvenient for people,” she said.

This led to the brainwave of buying an old caravan and fitting it out to act as a fully working kitchen.

Since those humble beginnings the business has changed dramatically, and after first buying up a few more caravans to convert, the business now has a suite of custom-built solutions covering everything from kitchens and bathrooms, to storage units and even complete bungalows that residents can live in while their home is being repaired.

The company’s first foray into insurance, however, was not the result of a well-planned out route to market, but more a stroke of good fortune.

“We just got an order from an insurer for an insurance claim up in Edinburgh, and that was really an oh my gosh moment for us,” Trollope said. “We had never even considered insurance [as a market for our units], but that is when we realised the only options insurance companies could give their policyholders at that time were food allowances or moving out of the house [while repairs took place].”

That first claim was to replace a new £60,000 kitchen after a dishwasher leak, and after the policyholder refused to move 40 minutes across town to stay in alternative accommodation, Trollope and her team were called in to help.

“That is when we realised we were a cheaper alternative for insurers compared to alternative accommodation or putting people up in hotels, and offered a better and more cost-effective solution to the food allowance option, while also allowing the policyholder to stay in their own home,” Trollope said. “This makes the claim cheaper for the insurer and gives the customer a much better experience.”

The business started out with just kitchen units, but soon moved into other areas including bathrooms, storage units and the parapod, which is tailor made to fit the needs of disabled policyholders, with a total of 12 different units now available.

“Every unit we’ve made has been borne out of the question: can you do this?” Trollope said. “Everything we do starts out as bespoke and is then developed into a standard unit [for further use by other customers].”

TKC’s units are now so versatile that they were even able to set up a unit in the canteen of an insurer they were invited to pitch to.

Coronavirus Support

Fast forward to 2020, and the TKC team are even helping out the NHS in their efforts to almost double hospital bed capacity in response to the coronavirus crisis. 

The work being carried out for the NHS is to adapt existing buildings to meet the surging demand for additional hospital bed capacity and aid the segregation of non-covid-19 patients. 

“We wanted to help in any way we could,” said co-founder and director Stephen Trollope. “The flexibility and scalability of our modular product range provides the perfect solution to allow existing buildings to be adapted and linked.

“We’ve always prided ourselves on our ability to create solutions based on customers’ requests. This is why our product range has grown from one innovative solution to 12 in just five years, and this was no different.”

Trollope added that the collaboration with the NHS came at a time when production of the firm’s modular units had already increased to meet an increase in demand as government lockdown restrictions came into force.

“We saw a surge in requests for our products when the lockdown forced some accommodation providers to close their doors and as policyholders wanted to move from hotels back to familiar surroundings,” he said. “This meant our production capacity had already increased, so when we were asked to help, we were able to provide the NHS with the modular systems they needed.

“I also have to add that I have been blown away by the willingness of our staff to help where help is needed and I couldn’t be prouder of the TKC team, those that have worked on these critical projects and those who are continuing to serve our insurance customers, who still need access to our products during this time.

“At times like this, working together and lending each other support needs to be on the forefront of our minds; we absolutely encourage other companies who are able to help to do the same,” he added.