Vague ramblings

Big business, small minds

Posted in Musing by Ian Cundell on 29 July, 2005

Cafe Monsoon was a restaurant in St Albans that specialised in a fusion of north Indian and Mediterranean cuisine. It was a nice place where the proprietor, Moh Sayid, tried to create an arts venue off the back of top clase nosh. And very well it was going too.
A St Albans Writers Group, yoga instructors, cookery masterclasses, music and dance packed the place out.
Then the local water company did mains renewal outside. During this work water started to seep into the the basement of Monsoon and eventually Moh was pumping out 600 gallons before he could open. Early in 2004 Monsoon closed so that repairs could happen. Then the problems really began.
Are all insurance companies utter, utter scum? Many of you will be familiar with the story: We’ve got big lawyers; you’ve got big debts. The insurers pulled every trick they could to avoid paying out, most risibly accusing Moh of not doing enough to mitigate his losses.
Despite this, Moh didn’t give up and eventually re-opened the repaired restaurant in time for Christmas. But the momentum was lost, trade was slow to return, it was hand-to-mouth stuff and still the insurers stalled. Then the flooding returned. Monsoon struggled on for a month or so, but last week the dreaded ‘legal notices’ appeared on the doors.
The cause of the flood was established and liability clear; the restaurant was flying when it was first forced to close. But sickeningly bureaucratic jobsworth insurers would rather drive one of the city’s most interesting venues into oblivion that do the right thing.


Do feel free to chip in...but be courteous when doing so. Ta.

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