Traditionally, storm-damaged properties are ‘made safe’ with tarpaulins, but every insurance builder knows that term is deeply ironic in many cases.
Tarps cause harm: they frequently leak, collapse, flap, rip and fly away, multiplying property damage, residents’ trauma, insurance claims and labour costs.
Insurance builders return again and again to replace tarps and assessors come back to calculate the additional damage costs, delaying insurance claim approval and permanent repairs.
As Sally, a victim of the December 2018 Sydney hailstorm testified, ‘The insurance company’s builders installed a tarp with ropes and sandbags. In five weeks, the builders had to come back eight times. But that wasn’t enough to stop the leaking every time it rained. It’s wrecked our carpets, curtains, blinds, ceiling fans and lights.’
Further costs are incurred when increasing damage makes homes uninhabitable and residents are relocated to alternative accommodation.
The Insurance Council of Australia’s original estimate for losses from the December 2018 Sydney hailstorm was $125 million but cumulative losses now exceed $1 billion.
Matt Lennox, an experienced insurance builder, has witnessed the harmful impact of tarps too many times, including the following recent cases:
- The insurance claim for a storm-damaged Kellyville property rose from $41K to $107K, due to tarp failures.
- The original damage assessment on a Morbank property was $88K. After tarps, it was $175K.
- Tarps came off a Berowra Heights home 11 times, escalating the claim from $50K to $285K.
Matt’s frustration with tarps sparked his invention of Stormseal.