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					GROUP: Fire and General Insurance
SERVICE: House
Complaint No : 109179
YEAR: 2001

Casebook Index: Damage - House, Method of repair, Method of settlement,
Proper remedy.


Complaint

The base of the shower unit in C’s house was damaged and C made a claim to P under
her house policy. The damage was assessed by a loss adjuster and P decided that the
damage could be repaired on site, in accordance with a quote of $495 obtained from a
reputable repairer. C was concerned about the repair process and, in particular, fibres
from the fibreglass remaining in the air, lingering fumes, the potential danger to
herself and her young children and information provided to her by a person
experienced in fibreglassing, who said that the repair work could not be done on site.

The information provided to P indicated the repairs could be done safely, with the
minimum disruption to C and her family. P refused to agree to remove the shower unit
off site for repair. C obtained a quote of $1,350 for its replacement and P declined,
relying on the policy option to either restore the property, or pay for any loss or
damage. In accordance with the policy, a cash settlement of the repair cost of $495
was offered as an alternative to P’s nominated repairer carrying out the repairs to the
shower unit. C rejected P’s offer.

Assessment

The loss adjuster believed that the quote obtained by P was realistic and repairs could
be made on site, safely and with minimum disruption to C.

The view was supported by a representative from the Occupational Safety and Health
Service (“OSH”) who was consulted by P. The OSH representative advised P
fibreglass is not considered to be a health risk and that, if the fibreglass dust was
contained in accordance with the repairer’s proposed repairs creating no “mess”, it
would not pose a health risk.

The ISO contacted OSH’s Wellington office and spoke with an Occupational
Hygienist. He advised that there was no health or safety hazard presented by
fibreglass in these circumstances.

Under the policy, P was only obliged to pay C the amount of $495 quoted to repair the
damage, if C did not want the repairs to be done on site. The ISO was of the view that
C was not entitled to any more than the repair on site, or the amount quoted of $495.

Result Complaint not upheld

				
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