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Bridging the gap between building and contents insurance
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JimmyT
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17/07/2017 - 5:06 pm
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The perennial argument over who covers the damage in a flat after a domestic disaster, is about to get a lot simpler for some apartment residents.

For instance, if a pipe bursts in a common property wall, strata insurance will cover the repair and make-good, but it won’t cover the damage to private property that occurred in the first place.

That comes under home and contents or landlord insurance – and that often has an excess that the lot owner or resident has to pay.

Well, not anymore, if the unit and the strata scheme are both insured with long-time Flat Chat sponsor CHU Insurance.  CHU has agreed to waive the excess in that kind of claim if both the apartment contents and the strata scheme are insured with them.

This is what they say in a press release issued today …

CHU is excited to announce our latest innovation in the Strata Insurance sector, with the release of two new Insurance products; CHU Contents Insurance for Strata and CHU Landlords Insurance for Strata.

In addition to being a digital offering, we have worked hard to differentiate our new products by their unique selling point on the application of excesses for multiple policies held with CHU.

In practical terms, if the Strata Plan is covered by a CHU Residential Strata Policy and there is a claim under this building policy, that has also caused an admitted claim to the CHU Contents or CHU Landlords policy, CHU will waive the “Excess” payable by the lot occupant (Lot Owner or Tenant) under the Contents and or Landlords policy.

We feel this is a game changer in the Contents and Landlords Insurance space. Many existing policies have excesses that the consumer must pay when the damage to their assets was no fault of their own. This places significant stress and financial burden on the lot owners and landlords.

“We are focused on providing solutions for the strata and community living sector. We identified a need to provide customers with insurance products to protect their personal contents and a policy to protect the investments of Landlords who have units or townhouses in their portfolio” says Bobby Lehane, CEO of CHU.

“As with our previous innovations, we engaged our customers to provide an insight into their needs and to hear their fantastic ideas. We found that there was a lack of understanding in the market about what was insured under the building section of a strata policy.

“Many people who live or invest in strata are unaware that their personal belongings or investment income (for landlords) is not covered by their Strata insurance,” comments Bobby.

“In addition, we believe that there is significant underinsurance in the contents space, with the changing demographic of strata residents reflecting the increasing barriers to home ownership.

There are more residents today with valuable assets to protect than ever before. Our policy, specifically designed for strata residents and investors, plans to address this issue.

Both of these products are fantastic additions to our suite of insurance products and are available to intermediaries electronically on the CHU StrataTech platform, as well as to direct customers via electronic quote forms readily accessible from the CHU website.

We are in a unique position to be able to deliver this benefit. CHU insures over 100,000 strata schemes in Australia and has over 1.2million clients who can potentially benefit from this unique proposition.

We are very excited about the release of CHU Contents Insurance for Strata and CHU Landlords Insurance for Strata and will be working with our brokers, authorised representatives and other agents to ensure that customers are made aware of our new product offerings as quickly as possible.

While this is an important release for CHU, it is one of many innovations to come. CHU is committed to providing solutions for modern living and protecting all stakeholders in the emerging strata sector. For more information on our new product offerings, please visit our website http://www.chu.com.au.

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twosailram
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18/07/2017 - 6:27 pm
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Very interesting. Our NSW strata is insured by 'Strata Community Insurance' on behalf of Allianz Australia Insurance Ltd.
This policy in Section 10 covers (with limits) Lot Owners fixtures and fittings but not contents.
Will be interesting to see if there is a competitive response to the CHU move. If not, we will need to take this CHU move into account when renewal time comes up.

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BONNIE L
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18/07/2017 - 8:43 pm
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Interesting, thank you.   However, does this mean the firm offering cover for live-in owners, or maybe I haven't read it all properly.

Also, would the firm's offerings of cover for both buildings and landlords perhaps present conflict of interests in the future if things got complicated in one strata investor-owner situation or another.  

If I've got this 'right', fine if the  move gives the firm more influence in strata community generally, assisting strata buildings as well as investor ranks, however, not at the expense of propriety or undue influence.

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wally
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26/07/2017 - 2:40 pm
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I do not believe that the following statements are entirely accurate:

"For instance, if a pipe bursts in a common property wall, strata insurance will cover the repair and make-good, but it won’t cover the damage to private property that occurred in the first place.
That comes under home and contents or landlord insurance – and that often has an excess that the lot owner or resident has to pay"

I would refer you to a 1998 decision of the then Strata Schemes board in
Pascuzzo, Raffaele v Owners corporation SP 19289 [1998] NSWSSB 11 and on Austlii.
Although this is an old decision, the Board has been superseded and the Act amended, it is still good law. The relevant sections in the new Act are identical to those in the old Act.
my daughter successfully argued it in the CTTT a couple of years ago. I can provide you with copies of her submissions to, and judgment of, the Tribunal if of interest.
It in effect follows the long-standing law of torts that a party (the OC) who negligently damages, or causes, or allows by negligence or breach of duty (to maintain and repair common property)damage to the property of another (the owner) is liable for all the reasonably foreseeable damage that flows (no pun intended).
OC's, Strata Agents and insurance brokers should ensure that their policies cover this.

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JimmyT
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26/07/2017 - 2:57 pm
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I agree that the statement is not entirely accurate - in fact, this is something I have been saying for years ... if common property fails, and that causes damage to personal property, then the Owners Corp should be liable to repair or replace the damaged property.

However, the "Who's responsible  ..." document created by the Lands department in consultation with strata managers says what I said in my article (Note 13). And the new Act actively encourages owners corporations to adopt the terms of the "Who's responsible ..." document as a by-law.

So you're right - and you could fight this in NCAT or in a District Court as a matter of common law.  But that clause in the "Who's responsible?" document is going to keep tripping us up and, reluctantly, my view is  that you have to decide whether or not it's worth fighting.

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Puddn
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27/07/2017 - 12:12 pm
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I agree with JimmyT

But that clause in the "Who's responsible?" document is going to keep tripping us up and, reluctantly, my view is  that you have to decide whether or not it's worth fighting.

After a number of years experience with leaking roof, OC pays for all damages, clean-ups, repairs,  - no matter 'who is responsible'.

Since we dropped using 'who is responsible' as our only guide and added some common sense our scheme is a much happier place. So each time it rains, 20+ apartment lot owners rest in peace.

The cost has not been a big burden on our budget and some owners take the opportunity to renovate and share costs.

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