Insurance company agrees to pay 10 months after buffaloes have pool party

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May 24 (UPI) -- A British couple said an insurance company has finally agreed to pay for repairs 10 months after a herd of escaped buffalo dropped by their yard for a pool party.

Andy and Lynette Smith of Wivenhoe, Essex, said the 18 escaped water buffaloes caused more than $31,000 in damage when they wandered onto the couple's property and eight of the animals took a dip in the swimming pool.


The animals them stampeded across the property, ruining fencing and flower beds.

The couple said it was difficult to get help from authorities.

"When my wife went to make the morning tea, she glanced out of the kitchen window and saw eight buffaloes in the pool," Andy Smith told The Guardian. "She called 999 and was told the fire brigade don't accept hoax calls. It took some persuading to get them to take us seriously. When they arrived, one of the buffaloes, spooked by their hi-vis jackets, headed straight at them."

The owner of the animals was summoned to the property and was able to round up the uninjured animals.

The Smiths said the farmer's insurance company, NFU Mutual, accepted liability for the damage to the pool and the yard, but they ran into trouble agreeing on a settlement.


"This pool was our retirement luxury bought when I sold the business, which I'd spent years building up. It was earned by a lot of sweat and toil, but after the buffaloes' swim it was leaking 75 gallons a day and was unusable," Andy Smith said.

NFU Mutual finally agreed to pay the full amount of the damages after 10 months of deliberations.

"We apologize for the delay paying this claim and in particular the initial wait for an inspector's visit, which took too long and fell short of our usual standards," a company spokesman said. "We have a duty to all of our members to ensure we validate the cost of claims and in this instance, we needed to gain further assurance around the costs involved in repairing the damage."

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