Royal & Sun Alliance (R&SA) has launched a legal battle to recover over £400,000 paid out to the owner of an historic manor house.

The insurer accused the owner of Henbury Manor of making a fraudulent insurance claim and argues it has paid more than ten times the true value of work to repair the property.

Loss adjuster Crawford and Company is also being sued for negligently failing to advise the insurer of the true value of the claim.

The claim form stated that R&SA insured the manor house owner, Maria Veletsos, against fire damage and paid her claim following a fire at the property.

The claim alleged that Veletsos decided to re-instate the manor house and submitted invoices for payment to the insurer totalling £473,287.50.

R&SA paid Veletsos this amount, based on certificates sent by the architect, construction company and adjuster's advice.

However it is alleged the actual value of the work carried out was just £45,000.

R&SA alleged that Veletsos made a fraudulent claim and the architect was negligent in that he mis-stated the value of the work.

R&SA also argued that Crawford and Co provided negligent advice.

Maria Veletsos, R&SA and Crawford & Co were unavailable for comment.