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Letter: The despicable chagrin of an insurance claim

Insurance policies for motor vehicles, property and life are simply meant to provide protection if one is ever unfortunate enough to have a disastrous day when one suffers damage to property or self. I have been paying yearly insurance premiums since the early 1960s and have had the great luck to never make an insurance claim for damage to property or self. I am most grateful to have lived thus far accident-free.

However, this year I have been compelled to file a damage claim to my property insurance policy. In March 2017, the east coast of Newfoundland struggled with strong winds that resulted in damage to the properties of many residents. My wife and I were amongst the unfortunate and received major damage to the shingles and siding on our property.

The claims examiner recommended a St. John’s contractor he had used previously. As this was my first insurance claim, I considered it best to follow the claims examiner’s suggestion. The company claims to be master at service and restoration. One of its employees completed a thorough inspection of the damage to our property and submitted a quote to have shingles and siding replaced. The quote was accepted by the insurance company and work was to commence as soon as materials could be received.

Our problems began from there. The commencement of the work dragged until mid-July because there were delays and incorrect materials. The contractor who submitted the quote — then, unbeknownst to my wife or me — subcontracted the work. I dismissed the first subcontractor as he proposed to complete the work in a manner that was unacceptable to my wife and me. The second subcontractor had the shingles installed within a day and half, without new air vents and skylight flashing, and was to install the new siding when it arrived. However, when I saw the debris of nails and pieces of shingles left in the eavestrough and near the property (a total of 34 pounds), I had no interest in having the same subcontractor install new siding.

In addition to this, during the next rain we suffered leaks to three different areas of the inside living area. This subcontractor returned to correct the problems, all to no avail; more water leaks during the next rainstorm.

After I made contact with the initial contractor, a subsequent subcontractor arrived with two workers to remediate the problems with the leaks. They arrived with no ladder to access the roof, no cat’s paws to remove nails, no Phillips screwdriver to remove screws, and no caulking for remediation around the two skylights. Besides this, the two workers would not replace the two air vents that were purchased and were part of the initial quote. Only after our persistence did this subcontractor return with a different worker to replace the two air vents in the roof. My wife and I know we will soon have more rain and are dreading the thought of more leaks from the roof.

The replacement of the shingles on our property was not a volunteer job; it was work for which the contractor was well paid. It may be my persona and my past working life, or there may be some other personal peculiarity that causes me to want things done correctly and when it is not done correctly, it must be completed again. To quote Mike Holmes, host of an HGTV program, “Make it right” and then there will no need to do it a second time, or a third time.

For the consumer, knowledge is power; ask contractors for references and see their past work before you allow them on your property or drive a nail into your property. It appears that consumers who need home repairs should be most weary of workers who take no pride in their work and simply want to complete the work in the less time to gain the most dollars. It seems that some contractors may subcontract work to small companies that then will hire “inexperienced” workers to complete a project as quickly and as cheaply as possible for the greatest profit.

Harold Peach
Salmon Cove


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