What makes me a great candidate for the Federal Seat of Casey is my lived experiences. Like many Australians, l have endured many of the regular battles with Bureaucracies, Councils and Corporate Giants, but l stand my ground and fight for what l believe is fair and right.
Here i wish to share with website visitors my battle with an Insurance Heavy Weight.
CGU (Insurance Australia Limited)
Ok, so a quick summary of whats occurred. In November 2017 the rental property was destroyed by fire and ultimately declared a total loss. CGU arranged a Loss Adjuster (Cunningham Lindsey) to work for them, but also liaise and assist us with the claims process.
All seemed to be travelling along ok (slowly, but ok) until February 2018 when l (as the insureds representative) travelled to the site to have a look around. Upon inspection it became obvious that not all was as it should have been.
CGU's Contractor (Latrobe Plumbing & Asbestos Specialist) had been a little bit sneaky in that they failed to remove the poly septic tank, but the sneaky, or should l say the deceptive aspect was that the septic tank had the lid/top removed (cut or ripped away) and was back filled and covered in surrounding soil and debris.
But it was much worse than just a falsely declared removal of the septic tank, it became apparent that the site was still contaminated with many broken pieces of Friable Asbestos... A very serious health hazard to not just myself, but neighbors and the surrounding community.
Of course, I tried to get the issues rectified in a minimal fuss manner, but after a month of inaction and untruths from contractors, l was forced to take things further and higher.
It was the start of a long (and still unfinished) battle with CGU
I should point out, it was not CGU themselves who failed dismally with the site demolition and cleanup, that was their contractors doing. Because the contractor was the responsibility of CGU, it was CGU who was ultimately on the hook for this matter.
In June 2018, CGU finally came forward with a "Partial" settlement proposal, which on the surface indicated that CGU were doing their best to resolve the matter and doing their best to accommodate their insured client.
However it seems that the offer of June 20th 2018 was either worded in a way to fool the insured, or perhaps it was worded incorrectly and simply constituted another mistake...
Having believed CGU were being honest, transparent and making a genuine attempt to remedy this terrible situation, I advised the insured to sign the release document pertaining to the matters stated within that (above) accompanying email.
The signed release document was returned to CGU
The following day (June 21st 2018) we received the response to those "Other" unresolved matters.
An offer of was received and there was the request to sign and return the attached "Release" agreement.
However, the basis of the ongoing and still unresolved dispute stems from the fact that the CGU claims consultant (Samantha Anastassi) clearly stated that the other matters "ARE STILL UNDER REVIEW and a RESPONSE will be submitted to you by COB tomorrow confirming our POSITION and what further information is required"
It was apparent to the insured and to myself (as the insureds representative) that CGU had split the original settlement claim we had submitted on May 2018 where we requested a sum as full and final settlement of all listed matters into two separate claims. One being for the outside contractor (URGENT) works and the second being our claims for costs, losses and service's rendered outside of the normal, to be expected range of duties.
It was apparent to the insured and to myself (as the insureds representative) that CGU was proposing to settle the "URGENT" matters relating to the safe removal of FRIABLE ASBESTOS from the site and the associated Rectification works.
However the battle that we are still (currently) fighting is in relation to the unresolved matters that were claimed to have been "Still Under Review" (Highlighted in the blue rectangle) in that same email of June 20th 2018.
While it was and remains our position that the "RELEASE" document had no relevance and no bearing upon the remaining matters, it has since become apparent that CGU are trying to claim that the "RELEASE" document cleared CGU of all responsibilities, including those they had stated were still under review at the same time as issuing the initial offer and request for the signing and return of the release document.
So here we are... Many reviews, Hundreds of hours spent writing emails, making phone calls later... Now the matters has been escalated to AFCA and a conciliation phone conversation is expected to take place on November 15th... Update will be provided as soon as possible
The question that CGU or should l say IAL needs to reflect upon is,
Did their Claims Consultant Samantha Anastassi construct her email of June 20th to deliberately fool the insured into signing away all of her rights, or was Samantha Anastassi's reply honest, transparent and in genuine good faith and subsequently misinterpreted by those within CGU who have carried out dispute resolution reviews?
Time will tell (This dispute is ongoing)
UPDATE: We never backed down and eventually reached a resolution which we were willing and happy to accept... It was not much money, but it was enough to complete/cover additional expenses, but MOST IMPORTANTLY it ensured that on reflection WE WON!