Facts Outweigh Opinions

Main Beam Load Test

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The purpose of the test was to demonstrate that the hull platform was sound and could support the loads it was designed for. The demonstration of this would eliminate any question of the hull platform’s integrity and hence seaworthiness.

John Koon’s report stated that Dragonfly was a “marginally maintained hull platform.” He questioned the integrity of the hull platform when stating “the mast could have been over-active, moving excessively out of column, as a result of the platform/main beam yielding to compression.” States that “the condition of the platform /main beam / compression path-post could have caused the failure as described by Mr. Wigginton.” These outrageous assertions with no foundational evidence explicitly imply that the vessel was unseaworthy. However, to a individual unfamiliar with construction or structural loading of a catamaran and looking for a reason to deny the claim, Mr. Koon’s observations was easily accepted.

John Koon asserted that the beam yielded to compression even though there was zero evidence of any stress cracks along the beam. Bill Trenkle a SAMS surveyor and Larry Montgomery, the Lloyd’s agent and NAMS surveyor, attested to this fact. In fact, Bill Trenkle noted that the cracks John Koon identified were in non-structural areas. Larry Montgomery also revealed that John Koon did not go into the anchor lockers or other appropriate areas to actually inspect the main beam for cracks.

Fortunately we don’t have to rely on opinions when we can test that the structure is in fact sound. We knew we could conclusively prove John Koon’s beam yielding assertion incorrect by testing the deflection. Tightening the rigging places a measurable load on the beam. The deflection (the degree to which a structural element flexes) as a result of the compression is measured. This would demonstrate whether the deflections met the specifications of the vessel designer, Kurt Hughes

However, without a mast, it was difficult and quite expensive to accurately simulate the load on the beam. However, once we installed a temporary mast used to return to California, it was now possible to conduct a repeatable and industry standard load test.


We loaded the beam with over 22000 lbs. by tightening the wires that hold the mast in place and determined that the deflection was less than 1/16” (0.066”), which was the deflection that Kurt Hughes had specified in his 1/29/17 report (Kurt Hughes – Beam Strength.pdf).

This conclusively proves that the integrity of the beam today is exactly the same as it was when launched in 1998 and could not be a cause of the dismasting.

John Koon, the damage surveyor for ProSight made several misleading and false statements in his report. These statements were proven false in other portions of our complaint. This test provides one more piece of evidence that puts into serious question the credibility of any opinions presented in John Koon’s report. The shear number of proven false assertions or assertions with no real supporting evidence, should completely discredit the report or anything offered by John Koon.

The remaining information of this document explain the specific details of the load test and pictorially demonstrate the process and results. The load test is a repeatable industry standard test. If requested we will conduct this test in the presence of a ProSight or Lloyds representative.

Concepts behind the testing

Mr. Wigginton graduated as a mechanical engineer from Imperial College London. Mr. Wigginton worked as an engineer in equipment design for heavy equipment and processing. This experience provided him the basis to analyze the structural forces at play on an ocean going vessel.

Kurt Hughes reviewed and validated the load testing technique. Kurt is the designer of many sailing vessels and masts including Dragonfly.

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Dragonfly’s rigging is called a “tripod”. It consists of two shrouds, (port and starboard) and a “headstay”. This picture shows the starboard shroud (the line from the mast to just above the 6) and the headstay (the line from the mast forward).

Our headstay is a roller furler with the headsail on it. It attaches to the cross beam on the front of the boat. The shrouds attach to the oversized chain plates. These three wires put a downward load on the beam thru the mast to hold it in place on the mast step.

This also shows where the mast is located on the boat.

This schema from Kurt Hughes shows that the mast sits directly on the main beam. We have drawn a line between the A and R to represent where the main beam is. The main beam goes from one side to the other and is approximately 5” thick.

Macintosh HD:Users:jill 1:Desktop:Blog Pictures:9 - port turnbuckle after load.jpg The shrouds and headstay are held in place and tightened by turnbuckles (left).

Turnbuckle inner workingsA turnbuckle consists of two threaded eyebolts, one screwed into each end of a small metal frame, one with a left-hand thread and the other with a right-hand thread. The picture to the right shows the inner workings.

The tension can be adjusted by rotating the frame, which causes both eye bolts to be screwed in or out simultaneously

To determine the amount of load put on the beam by tightening the shrouds the “The Folding Rule Method” is used.  Per the specifications, a 2-meter portion of stainless steel 316L wire will stretch 1mm for each 5% of its strength. This is true regardless of the wire diameter. Therefore, it is possible to determine the load based on the stretch of the wire with a 2-meter pole attached to the wire.

Per the specifications the strength of the 9/16″ 316L stainless shroud wire is 37,000 lbs. The goal is to put over 20,000 lbs. of load on the mast to see the deflection of the beam. We will need to stretch the wire 4mm to achieve the load we desire. The reason for that load will be clearer later in the results.

Location of the mast surround in the salon We also need to be able to measure the deflection in the beam. The mast surround sits directly on the beam behind the mast and is available to us inside the salon. We can use a horizontal laser level beam to measure the deflection as we change the loads on it by tightening the shrouds.

In a nutshell we will use 2-meter PVC poles attached to the shrouds, tighten the wires with the turnbuckle, measure the stretch in the wire with a caliper to demonstrate the load. We will then utilize engineering and geometric equations to determine the approximate loads. Using a laser level beam recorded before and after the load is applied will identify the deflection.

The test process

  • Loosen the starboard and port shrouds at the turnbuckles to reduce the current load.
  • Horizontal lines are drawn 1/16th –inch apart on a piece of paper.
  • Tape the paper on the mast surround at the beam.
  • Focus the laser beam directly across from the paper.
  • Align the laser beam with the bottom line on the paper.
  • Clamp a 2-meter piece of PVC pole to both shrouds (316L stainless wire) so the bottom is at the top of the turnbuckle fitting.
  • Turn the turnbuckles to tighten the shrouds.
  • As the wire stretches the two-meter PVC pole moves up as the stainless stretches. The movement is measurable based on the distance between the bottom of the PVC pole and the top of the turnbuckle.
  • Continue to turn until there is a 4mm change by using a digital caliper (a very precise measuring tool) is used.
  • Record the change in the laser beam.

Calculating the Load

Using the folding rule test, the shrouds can be tensioned to 20% of yield strength by extending 4mm on the 2-meter length. Therefore 4mm is equivalent to 7400lbs of tension for each shroud

To calculate the total load on the main beam by the mast, the two shrouds and the headstay loads need to calculated and added together.

The downward force on the mast is calculated as follows.

Shroud Loads

Force vector mathmaticsLength of ST = 68.5
Length of SHF = 18
Length of SPF = 11
Length of SFx = 65

ST = (37,000 *.20) = 7,400
SFx = 7,400 * (65/68.5) * 2 (shrouds)
Sfx = 14044

SHF = 14044 * (18/68.5) = 3689
SPF = 3689 * (11/18)
SPF = 2254 lbs.


There are three wires (2 shrouds and headstay) pulling the mast to hold it in place. The forces of these three wires must be balanced. Therefore, the pulling forces from the mast to the shrouds and the mast to the headstay have to be equal.

Headstay load

We don’t know what the tension of the headstay is, but we can calculate it because we have the pulling force of the shrouds. So we can use simple geometric equations to determine the tension and thus the vertical force of the headstay.

HPF = SPF = 2254
Length HT = 70
Length HFx = 65
Length HPF = 18

HT = 2254 / (18/70)
HT = 8767

HFx = 8767 * (65/70)
HFx = 8140

Total Load on Beam by Mast

The total load would be to total of the force of the shrouds (Sfx) plus headstay force (Hfx)

14043 + 8140 = 22,183 lbs.

Conducting the Test

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Starboard                    Port

Attached a 2-meter PVC pole to the starboard and port shroud wires.

Al shows that the pole is 2 meters with the tape measure. Al is 6’3.

Note that he is measuring from the clamp that holds the PVC pole to the shroud wire.

Below is the measurement at the turnbuckle fitting

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Starboard                     Port

The PVC pole sits at the top of the turnbuckle fitting before the turnbuckles have been tightened.

Starboard                     Port

The starboard and port turnbuckles before they are tightened.

Note the number of threads visible.

Macintosh HD:Users:jill 1:Desktop:Blog Pictures:11 - Sheet on Mast Surround before load (2).jpg The paper is taped to the mast surround so the laser beam is at the main beam.

This is the laser beam prior to the tightening of the turnbuckles.

The laser beam is parallel to the top of the main beam

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Note that the bottom of the laser beam is on the bottom line.

Macintosh HD:Users:jill 1:Desktop:Blog Pictures:8 - starboard turnbuckle after load.jpg Macintosh HD:Users:jill 1:Desktop:Blog Pictures:9 - port turnbuckle after load.jpg The turnbuckles are tightened.

Note the change in the threads visible from the earlier pictures.

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Starboard                      Port

The digital caliper is used to show the distance between the bottom of the PVC pole and the top of the fitting on both sides

Starboard shows 4.10mm

Port shows 4.11mm

Per the load calculations this causes each wire to put an approximate of 7400 lbs. on main beam via the mast.

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The laser beam after the tightening.

Note the bottom line has moved down below the laser beam less than 1/16”. This is consistent with Kurt Hughe’s original design specifications.


This load test utilized industry standard techniques and standard engineering equations to demonstrate thru pictures that John Koon’s assertion that the beam yielding to compression was ludicrous. Kurt Hughes, the vessel designer, states that under full main sail the load on the beam would be on the order of 25,000 lbs. and yield 1/16”.

This demonstrates that the deflection is consistent with Kurt Hugh’s design and would yield only a small fraction of an inch. In fact Kurt Hughe’s designed the main beam to handle 21 times the anticipated full load. Therefore, even a higher load would be only a fraction more. This amount of main beam yield compression could not possibly lead to the mast buckling as suggested by John Koon. This proves his assertion false and should put in question ALL other baseless assertions by him.


Terrible Customer Service

Hopeful Society of Lloyd'sWe were encouraged to hear that we would be going thru Stage 2 of the Society of Lloyd’s. Certainly, they have better customer service priorities. Surely the assigned case manager would want to make sure that the Lloyd’s name was not scarred by a lack of response or a bad faith denial.

On Tuesday Dec 5, David Northcott, the FOS adjudicator, told us that he would ask them to let us know who the “case handler” was. We wanted to provide new and updated information. We decided to go ahead and send an email to the general complaints email account at Lloyd’s. In the email, we referenced that the complaint process had started 5 months ago and that we had some new information we wanted to share with the case handler. On their website they state that a response should be received within 3 days.

Three days later

On Friday Dec 8, we hadn’t heard anything so we called the Lloyd’s Complaint’s customer service number. We were passed around to different people. One person said that she could see the email from us and it should have been answered by now. We finally talked with an individual who told us that the person assigned to our case. His desk was just two desks away and he would tell him about our call and have him get in touch with us.

Referred back to the FOS

Lloyd's Bad FaithHere we are 1 week later. No email or call. Not even an email stating that they can not work on the case right now but will be in contact by X date.

So we called Lloyd’s complaints department. The same individual says that it has been decided that the FOS will review our case next. We will not have a Stage 2 review! Lloyd’s complaint department has requested the complaint file from ProSight, which will be forwarded on to the FOS. ProSight’s deadline to provide the information is Tuesday. Unbelievable!

We ask “why?” He said he was looking at an email involving David Northcott of the FOS and this was the decision.

Bad Faith or Just Inept?

We are clearly being tossed around like a hot potato. It’s difficult to tell whether this is intentional or they just do not know what they are doing. One interesting note is that I returned to the “Lloyd’s policy holders outside the UK – How to Make a Complaint” page and the link to the US has been removed. Therefore they offer no direction to any US policyholder who wants to file a complaint.

One of the reasons that we were happy about the Stage 2 review is that there are no financial limitations on findings. The FOS is limited £150,000. Our claim is much higher. We asked how this would be addressed and he said that we had to go through our local system for any additional reparations. But there is no local system!! Not according to the IDOI. So did they send us back because of that limitation and exposure for their syndicate or do they just want to shuffle away the work?

It has been over 19 months since our loss and 6+ months since we started the complaint process. Is this normal for them? It’s clearly unacceptable.

The Society of Lloyd’s to Review the Complaints

checklist.jpegAlmost 1 month after the question of whether the FOS had the authority to investigate our claim was raised, we received a decision.  David Northcott an adjudicator at the FOS was able to influence the SOL. It was agreed that we can proceeding with Stage 2 of the process and Society of Lloyd’s will review  complaints.

Stage 2 Review Process

Close Review.jpegDuring the Stage 2 our complaints are completely and freshly reviewed by a case worker at The Society of Lloyds. At the conclusion of the case worker’s review a final response letter with its outcome findings is issued. It should include referral rights to the FOS should we remain dissatisfied with its outcome.

Under the Financial Conduct Authority’s (the industry regulator) complaint handling rules the Society of Lloyds have a period of eight weeks to issue its FRL. So our new target date for a fair settlement is January 31, 2018. However, they can inform us and take additional time.

More Information

Another Document.jpegAccording to the Lloyd’s – How to Make a Complaint – we can provide more information to support our position. Therefore we will provide the load testing information results. We were not able to conduct this test until we had a mast. But now we can conclusively prove that the beam did not flex as John Koon insisted that it did.

This should be one more mark against John Koon’s credibility and evidence supporting the statements of Bill Trenkle, John Leneman and Kurt Hughes.


On a personal note, we are heading back to Indianapolis for Christmas. We will spend January and February in Thailand with friends. Our understanding is that $1000 a month will cover all living and travel expenses. It will nice break from the cold weather and cheaper than living at home.


Marine Surveyor Ethics Violations

Lloyds of London syndicates or any insurance company require information that they can point to when denying an insurance claim. Our claim denial was based on false statements and suppositions in a report written by John Koon and witnessed by Larry Montgomery. We also believe that Larry Montgomery withheld exculpatory evidence. It is our belief that they are both guilty of marine surveyor ethics violations defined by the organizations (ACMS & NAMS) they belong to.

We decided to pursue professional consequences against both of them. Hopefully, they will be held accountable for their actions which has caused us to experience this unjustified nightmare .

John Koon’s Ethics Violations

We have multiple credibility issues with John Koon. He is the surveyor who wrote the “damage” survey filled with false statements and unsupported assertions. He lists the following memberships on his bio/CV

However, his name is not on the SAMS website. Per an individual at SAMS he has never been a member of SAMS. This is a significant mis-representation of credentials. We identified this (and other) credibility issues to ProSight and Hill Dickinson. They apparently ignored them because they continued to accept the findings in his report.

Below is the Code of Ethics for members of CMS, which John is a member of.


Marine Surveyor Ethics Violations - ACMS Code of Ethics

We believe that the phrase “honest appraisal” exposes him to a marine surveyor ethics violation due to the numerous factually incorrect things stated in the report he created.  Therefore, we filed a violation complaint on the ACMS website on John Koon.

We contacted the ACMS after the filing. They received the complaint, but their expulsion procedures are not based on the significance of the violation. They follow the “three strike rule” and  would not disclose the number of violation complaints he has so far.

NAMS emblem which should represent a high ethical standardLarry Montgomery – Ethics Violations

Larry was the Lloyd’s agent assigned to our claims. He is also a NAMS (National Association for Marine Surveyors) surveyor

The NAMS Code of Ethics is broader than the ACMS. They have a grievance procedure. The procedure involves a board who reviews the complaint and makes a decision based upon the facts and evidence presented.

Marine Surveyor Ethics Violations - NAMS Code of Ethics

Examples of Larry’s Ethics Violations

We believe that Larry has violated the code on numerous counts. Here are some examples.

  • We believe he was not truthful when he told us that the purpose of the survey by John Koon was to “determine a best practice repair“.  The report that we received later stated the purpose was to determine the cause of the dismasting.  We were not in attendance during the survey, as a result of Larry’s mis-representation. A flagrantly erroneous survey resulted which was the basis for the claim denial.
  • We believe Larry was not truthful and objective when he allowed the factually incorrect survey report be turned in. There were basic things within the report that any surveyor should have recognized as an error. Especially one who was on site when the survey was done.
  • We believe Larry was not being truthful and objective when stating to us that he concurred with our surveyor’s findings and would report his findings. These findings were in direct contradiction to the John Koon report. To the best of our knowledge did not report his revelations and admissions to ProSight, LJJ Associates or Blue Water Insurance. Larry withheld exculpatory evidence
  • We believe he was not being truthful and objective from the beginning when he repeatedly told us that we would be made whole again by the insurance company. He should have known he did not have that authority to state the things he did. HIs statements caused us to have mis-placed trust.
  • We believe Larry took a position contrary to his own knowledge or opinion for a direct gain. By providing reports that they used to deny our claim and withholding evidence, he promoted his likelihood of getting future business with ProSight, LJJ Associates and Blue Water Insurance.

As a result we filed a complaint with NAMS and are waiting to hear from them.


FOS’s Authority to Investigate Complaint

Waiting on Lloyd's againToday is 7 days after the deadline the FOS gave the Society of Lloyd’s to respond and 21 days since the letter was sent by David Northcott of the FOS. David asked if the Society of Lloyd’s agreed that the FOS had the authority to review our complaint. The FOS wants to proceed but they want the SOL to agree so there are no problems after the investigation and decision.

ProSight originally told us to go to the Indiana Department of Insurance  if we disagreed with the denial. However, the IDOI said that they have no authority to investigate this complaint.

LJJ Associates, and ProSight are regulated by the FCA. Therefore, we believe that the FOS should be able to investigate our complaint. Otherwise, no organization is overseeing them.


One nice thing about putting this blog together has been revisiting documents and websites that you haven’t looked at in a while. We never imagined this specific road block and hadn’t looked at the documents from this perspective. Therefore we were looking at them with a different perspective. Below is what we found.

Lloyd’s Complaint Process

Lloyd's of London Complaint Options (UK or non-UK)The Lloyd’s Complaints page identifies the complaint processing procedures based upon your location and role. Our logical choice is “Lloyd’s policyholders outside the UK. How to make a complaint“.





The “outside the UK” page it states “Lloyd’s is currently introducing complaint handling processes for International policyholders and where possible complaints will be handled in line with local regulations.  Where no local regulations exist, complaints will be handled in line with UK principles and standards.”  That’s us! But we need to make sure what that process is!


Lloyds US Complaints Handling:

Lloyds US Complains Handling - FCA Authority

On the Lloyd’s US complaints handling page. it states “Lloyd’s arrangements for international complaints are intended to allow for the oversight of complaints handling, consistent with the regulatory expectations of the UK Financial Conduct Authority (FCA), whilst allowing flexibility for managing agents in the way they handle complaints in accordance with local rules.”  So essentially they are giving the agents (ProSight) the latitude to choose. 

However, at the bottom of that page it links to a page Market Bulletin Y5019 (International Complaints Handling: USA). Within the document it states “The new arrangements are being implemented commencing from 1 January 2017 on the renewal of each binding authority or placement.”  Our policy begin April 1 2016. Therefore it appears that we should be processed as a UK policyholder would.

Lloyd’s UK Complaint Process:

The Complaints by Lloyd’s UK Policyholders is described below:

Lloyds Complaints Process for UK policy holders - FOS Authority

If we should be processed in that manner then it appears that the next step is Stage 2. The Society of Lloyd’s should review our complaint.

FOS Authority?

Lloyd’s acknowledges the authority of the FOS to review all complaints in the “Code for Underwriting Agents: UK Personal Lines Claims & Complaints Handling” dated June 2016.

International Complaints

The procedures set out in this Code apply to complaints that arise from UK policies of insurance. Lloyd’s operates separate arrangements for non-UK policyholder complaints. While managing agents must comply with the local rules of any territory where a policy is written, the jurisdiction of the Financial Ombudsman Service is wide and covers firms for all activities carried on from an establishment maintained by it in the United Kingdom (see DISP 1.1.3 & DISP 2.6.1R).

The Financial Ombudsman Service may therefore have jurisdiction over complaints made by eligible complainants in all territories where Lloyd’s underwriters write business. However, the Financial Ombudsman Service has the discretion to dismiss complaints without a consideration of the merits where the complaint is or would be more suitable to be dealt with by a comparable independent complaints scheme or dispute resolution process (DISP 3.3.4(7) & (10)). This would include any equivalent overseas scheme in the jurisdiction where the complainant is based.”

Therefore, since the FOS has the authority and there is not overseas scheme, it would make sense that we proceed.


  • The new US policy holder procedure didn’t go into effect until policies written starting January 1, 2017. Our policy was written April 1, 2016
  • Lloyd’s acknowledges that when there are no local regulations (which should include the IDOI stating that they have no jurisdiction), it should be reviewed by the FOS.
  • The Lloyd’s underwriting handbook specifically recognizes the FOS’s jurisdiction over all complaints regardless of the territory.

It appears that the only question is whether we should go thru Stage 2 of the UK process or just go right into the FOS process.

Fingers Crossed - AuthorityWe shared our learnings with David Northcott and Daniel Crockford. We don’t want to assume that they are aware of these. We hope that this will move along soon.


We Are The Society of Lloyd’s and You’re Nobody

The Society of Lloyd's brashly ignores FOSThe deadline of Nov 22 came and went without any word from David Northcott from the FOS. He’d requested a response from The Society of Lloyd’s by that date on whether they believed the FOS has authority to investigate the non-UK complaint. 

We sent an email to David at the end of his work day on the 23rd and he immediately responded stating:

“Lloyd’s were chased up on the 21 November 2017 asking for a response to my letter of 8 November 2017. They were originally asked to respond by 22 November 2017.

I will continue to chase them. Once I have news I will update you again.”

Frustrated by a lack of response of The Society of Lloyd’s and now to even the FOS, we contacted our UK solicitor Daniel Crockford to see if he could assist in moving this forward. It appears to us that this could go on indefinitely since they do not feel any obligation to meet the deadline set by the FOS. We do face some legal time limits and we don’t want our back against the wall.


Daniel called Al soon after he talked with David. He said that David felt hopeful that the FOS would be investigating the complaint since it is a Lloyd’s policy AND the policy was written by LJJ a UK-based company. However, he felt they needed to wait for the response from Lloyds. He wanted to make sure that this did not become an issue after a decision was made by the FOS.

David also stated that he clearly understood our frustration as it is now more than 19 months since the claim was submitted. He stated that he felt positive that it would move forward based on his conversation with the judicial expert within the FOS. However he felt it was important to receive a response from them either agreeing or providing solid reasons why the FOS should not proceed.

So we continue to wait….


Whoa…Not so Fast

STOP - US Complaints are not so simple

We started the process with the FOS on July 15 and were now waiting for an investigator who specializes in marine cases. But it wasn’t going to be that simple.

On Oct 10, we received an email from David Northcott an FOS adjudicator. It stated “I regret to confirm we are unable to consider your complaint as the policy complained about is not a UK-based policy. The full explanation as to why we don’t have jurisdiction is explained in my letter.” 


David followed up on Oct 16 with an email stating that he was aware that we had filed a complaint with the Indiana Department of Insurance (IDOI)In my previously assessment I said your complaint was one that we could not consider because on the basis of “Not a service from within UK” but now we cannot considered it because “Other ADR Entity dealing/dealt with”. That is to say another complaint arbitration scheme is dealing with your complaint.”

He gave us one day to respond before it would be put aside. We responded and requested additional time to receive a determination from the IDOI if they could even address the complaint. He said he would return to the office on Nov 1.

Nov 1, 2017 we sent David Northcott an email communicating that the  IDOI did not have statutory authority. We explained that it only made sense that their organization review the case since they ensured the FCA regulations that ProSight and LJJ Associates were to abide by.

David responded that he would “be able” to respond to us on Nov 8. We didn’t understand the reason for the delay. So we called him. He said that the case was very unique and “complicated” and he needed to talk with an “expert” to determine if they could proceed.

We explained that we believed that even though the policy was paid for in the US, the policy was written by a UK broker and underwritten by a Lloyd’s syndicate. Therefore, it should be heard by the FOS who enforced the FCA’s regulations.

On Nov 8, we received an email from David “As a result of the discussion, I have written today to the Society of Lloyd’s (the underwriters of the policy cover) to seek clarification on various points to include jurisdiction confirmation from it that we can deal with your complaint. They may raise reasons why they don’t think we can consider the complaint. Because the issues are complex in nature I have allowed until 22 November 2017 for a reply.”

We were shocked! It sounded like they were asking the financial institution that forced people into bankruptcy if they should be regulated or not. However, when we talked with David Northcott, he stated that he felt that the FOS should be able to investigate the case and the Society of Lloyds needed to put forth reasons the FOS shouldn’t proceed.

So we wait….again.