Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Is GIO the worst insurer ever?

Allianz covers home contents. GIO covers building/strata in this instance
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October long weekend .. Labor Day .. Monday evening (Oct 7th, 2013), I take a shower and notice the water isn't draining. Call strata and get a plumber/number. Public holiday so they won't come until morning. I begin bucketing at 10 pm and go to bed at 12. Wake at 6am and unit is flooded. I continue bucketing for an hour call plumber. Plumber promises to be here soon. Plumber arrives with snake at 7:30 am. Snake not good enough. Checks pipes in my garage. Finds out pipes are not in my garage, as I'd already told him. Pipes are in locked cupboard with keys held by strata. Plumber goes to get keys. Plumber gets back at 9:30 and says pipes are too rusted to work on. Says he will get special equipment and be back in two hours. Three hours later he has not come back so I call him. He says a boy took his truck so he is working elsewhere until he can get equipment. Advises me to call home contents insurance. 
Home contents arrive at 3:00 pm with specialist cleaners. My place is declared uninhabitable. I tell them I'm staying.
Plumber back at 3:30 pm, releases wave of excrement into the unit. They have specialist electric snake. It does not reach blockage. The plumbers give up at 5:30 pm for the day. Says it won't be as much as a problem and I could shower and use the toilet. That was a lie. Cleaners leave at 9:30 pm, having cut out carpet and sandbagged toilet and left a water vacuum. I need to use water vacuum at 10:30. It is full at 11:30 pm. I go to bed. 
(Wednesday, 9th Oct) Day 2, Plumber arrives at 8 am unit has flooded again, but sandbags kept the shit out of the unit.  Plumbers don't enter the unit but work on pipes in cupboard. 9:30 am they say they fixed the blockage and they had .. without entering my unit. Cleaners arrive at 11:30. They use water vacuums and put in place industrial sized dehumidifiers, air purifiers and fans. 
Following tuesday, they extract some furniture .. but one hurts themselves with the treadmill. 
Cleaners return Wednesday and complete removal. 
Turns out that GIO, the strata insurers had still not been told. Cleaners can't decontaminate kitchen because the insurance of home contents doesn't cover that .. strata does. 
Strata insurer shows two and a half weeks after Labor Day (Thurs 24th Oct). They refuse to discuss it with me, saying strata secretary is their point person .. they promise to appoint builder to oversee reconstruction. I try to show them areas of concern I was told to raise .. kitchen tiles and kitchen hot water recess. The tiles had been cracked before the flood, and saw raw sewage has gone beneath them. They need to be cleaned and decontaminated and it is probably cheaper to replace them. The hot water recess has collected raw sewage and was inaccessible to cleaners. It is showing markings on exterior brick. The kitchen cabinets need to be removed and again, it is probably cheaper to replace them. Assessor says pre existing damage to tiles is not GIO's concern. GIO will not replace cabinets, but will replace kick boards. I'm asked how much my cupboards cost throughout my unit. I'm asked if Allianz covers my paint. I'm told to send a note saying Allianz would not cover paint to GIO through strata secretary. I'm given no contact details. Allianz covers paint. 

I contact Allianz assessor and cleaning specialist. I'm advised to tell GIO about decontamination. I contact strata secretary who tells me she hasn't been contacted by GIO either. 

I recall seeing the GIO assessor, a young builder, several years ago on a strata project involved with gutters .. a job that cost $60k because of local council rules regarding OHS using cherry pickers to secure roof top workers. An average roof job in gutters would not cost $5k. It dawns on me that strata are using friends and probably covering up their failures. 

I begin to suspect that there is no insurance with GIO and strata had merely been taking my fees .. I contact GIO who cannot confirm or deny. I contact strata secretary and get insurance claim number. I advise GIO of the decontamination issue it is now over three weeks since the blockage was fixed. 

I am in a difficult position, and this will probably push me into a forced sale of my home. 

Any investor interested in a 3br unit. anticipate $280k with a $250/week rental return. It will be repaired, with new carpet and paint and probably new kitchen. Extensive built ins throughout sufficient for school library and balcony overlooking creek. Shared lock up garage with small parking space. Carramar is a flood zone, but the world would be wiped out before water reached the ground floor .. although the garage can be submerged, as it was in '01. 
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