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Family's Cyprus holiday ordeal

PUBLISHED: 03:11 14 October 2001 | UPDATED: 10:40 03 March 2010

WHAT is the point of having holiday insurance?

That's the question Mandy and Perry Mulley are still asking themselves today … ever since they returned home from a holiday nightmare in late July.

WHAT is the point of having holiday insurance?

That's the question Mandy and Perry Mulley are still asking themselves today … ever since they returned home from a holiday nightmare in late July.

The heartache began on July 21. With five days of their two-week holiday to go the couple and their two children, Hollie, 15, and Luke, 12, were lapping up the sun and holiday atmosphere at the Papantonia in Protaras, Cyprus.

But when Mrs Mulley returned to their apartment from the poolside, she was met by a pall of thick black smoke billowing out through the doorway.

The air conditioning unit had caught alight and the only undamaged clothes they had left were the swimsuits they stood up in.

When they booked their First Choice holiday in the Ipswich branch of Asda they also paid for insurance with Travel Choice. Today, almost three months after the event they have not received a penny.

There have been numerous phone calls and letters between the Mulleys, First Choice and the company dealing with the claim but the situation now is no closer to being resolved than it was when the family returned home in July.

In desperation Mr and Mrs Mulley asked the Evening Star to try and find out what was causing the hold up.

The answer from First Choice was: "The insurance claim is unable to be processed until a fire report has been received from the Cyprus fire authorities . . . it is still in the possession of the Cyprus police departments."

Mrs Mulley, a 40-year-old warehouse employee, said: "We managed to salvage most of our underwear because it was packed away and fortunately our money and passports were in the safety deposit box otherwise there would have been nothing left at all."

The Mulleys, who live in Beechcroft Road, Ipswich, spent over £2,000 for their plus £149 for their Gold insurance cover.

"We were told that by the time we got home wheels would be in motion and we would receive the money for things we had lost," added Mrs Mulley.

The hotel management gave them some money to buy clothes on the understanding the amount would be deducted from any insurance pay out.

"The money did not buy enough clothes for four of us and my husband borrowed some from friends who were on holiday with us," she added.

They were also told that the terrorist events in America on September 11 have caused a backlog in claims.

"The hotel found us new accommodation to stay in but we had to go back to the Papantonia for meals because we were not dressed smartly enough for the rules of the new hotel," said 39-year-old Mr Mulley.

The fire service took almost three quarters of an hour to arrive and if it had not been for the help of fellow holiday-makers who put out the fire, damage to the hotel and further risk to other people could have been devastating, said the couple.

In fact less than one hour before the fire broke out and the air conditioning unit melted and fell from the ceiling on to the bed, Mr Mulley had been sleeping there.

He was suffering from an ear infection and had stayed in the room to try and sleep away the pain.

"I would have still been there if a maid had not woken me when she came in to clean. With no alarms working I would have been oblivious to what was happening," he added.

A spokeswoman for First Choice told the Star that the incident is currently being investigated by Intergroup who are dealing with the insurance claim.

She said: "Unfortunately the insurance claim is unable to be processed until a fire report has been received from the Cyprus fire authorities.

"First Choice has been assisting the Mulleys in obtaining the relevant report but unfortunately it is still in the possession of the Cyprus police departments.

"Prior to the fire all fire and safety tests were up to date and since the fire the hotel has been rechecked and all alarms reset.

"First Choice apologises for any inconvenience caused by the delay in processing the insurance claim and are continuing to assist the Mulleys in obtaining the relevant documents."

A spokesman for Travel Choice added: "We are doing what we can for the Mulleys to speed up the claim and so is First Choice."

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