LEAD Action News

LEAD Action News vol 7 no 3, 1999, ISSN 1324-6011
Incorporating Lead Aware Times ( ISSN 1440-4966) and Lead Advisory Service News ( ISSN 1440-0561)
The journal of The LEAD (Lead Education and Abatement Design) Group Inc.

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Survey of Hail Victims re: Ceiling Dust Insurance Claims

By Rosemary Ayoub, The LEAD Group Committee

The LEAD Group attempted to contact 92 hail area residents who had contacted The LEAD Group's telephone advisory service about ceiling dust. Unfortunately, many hail victims have had to relocate during repairs so contacting them proved difficult.


The results were:

  1. unsuccessful calls:
    No phone number specified and insufficient information to obtain the number from Directory Assistance - 15.
    Wrong numbers / no answers - 11.
    Number of callers who failed to return calls after answering machine messages - 14.

  2. callers actually surveyed (total of 52):
    Number of callers who didn't require ceiling replacement - 9.
    Number of callers requiring replacement of at least one ceiling - 43.

  3. breakdown of the 43 callers needing ceiling replacement:
    Of the 43 callers who required ceiling replacement all but 3 had submitted or intended to submit quotes for ceiling dust extraction. 1 of the 3 people not intending to submit quotes had decided not to do so because he already knew that NRMA wouldn't pay. 2 were tenants in a rental property.
    There were 13 callers who had not yet submitted quotes and all agreed to contact The LEAD Group as soon as they had a decision.
    2 callers of the 27 who had submitted quotes for ceiling dust extraction hadn't been advised yet of the decision. 1 of these callers was insured with NRMA.

  4. breakdown of the 25 callers who had been advised about their claims:-
    All but 7 of those 25 callers who had submitted quotes for ceiling dust extraction and had been advised about the claim had had them approved for payment by the insurer. Of those 18 that were accepted, 3 callers had submitted the quote within the builder's quotation.

Those insurance companies that had approved ceiling dust extraction were:


Of the 7 unaccepted quotes for ceiling dust extraction, 6 were from NRMA and one was from QBE. There were no surveyed callers who had claims approved for ceiling dust extraction from NRMA. The callers were given a number of explanations for this (none as yet in writing, one caller is still waiting and fighting): the following verbal responses from NRMA were passed on to the LEAD Group by four different residents (names withheld):

  1. "They don't believe it's a health hazard and even if it was they argue that it's a maintenance problem."

  2. "They said their health and law codes don't require that they pay for it."

  3. "They won't pay for ceiling dust extraction. They won't pay until the ceilings have come down - for clean up."

  4. "NRMA are not doing anything - It's not a problem they say."

The rejected QBE caller asked verbally if they would pay for extraction and they said "no".

Another QBE caller had been accepted for ceiling dust extraction but not for clean up after repairs were carried out without her knowledge. Old building materials were dumped on her front yard. QBE will not pay for topsoiling (name withheld).

No Response to Complaint to ICA

The LEAD Group wrote (by email) on the 20th August 1999 to Chris Henri of the Insurance Council of Australia (ICA) to advise ICA of the insurance survey results (above) and to complain about the inconsistency of policies on ceiling dust removal among ICA's membership. The biggest complaint was about policies not being put in writing. To date, no response has been forthcoming (3 months later). On 25th November 1999, the complaint was faxed to ICA and a day later still no acknowledgment or response has been received.

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Last Updated 10 October 2011
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PO Box 161 Summer Hill NSW 2130 Australia
Phone: +61 2 9716 0014