Insulation rip off warning
CLARENCE residents are being warned to use caution when arranging home insulation safety inspections.
The Daily Examiner has been contacted by a number of concerned home owners who have been approached by a company offering to provide a roof safety check, complete with a safety certificate, for $99.
Michael Brown was contacted by a company operating under the name of Safe Inspection Service, inquiring if he had recently had roof insulation fitted.
When Mr Brown replied ‘yes’ he was told most insurance companies were asking for a safety certificate in respect to the correct fitting of the insulation.
“I was further informed that without the certificate, home and contents insurance will not be renewed and new policies will not be issued,” he said.
“When I asked what companies were asking, I was told GIO and NRMA.
“I have contacted both companies and my own insurer and none of them have any knowledge of the requirement.”
Mr Brown said his biggest fear was this approach could force vulnerable householders into spending money unnecessarily and not required by insurance companies.
Days later his wife had received another phone call from the same company stating the same facts, Mr Brown said.
The Department of Climate Change and Energy Efficiency has received a small number of complaints surrounding tradespeople ‘cold calling’ and ‘cold-texting’ householders.
The department said, however, it had not provided householder details to traders for the carrying out of inspections.
Climate Change Assistant Minister Greg Combet’s spokesman, Rod Hilton, said householders should exercise caution if they received any unsolicited contact over roofing insulation.
“The Government has not authorised any companies to contact householders about safety inspections,” the spokesman said.
“Any such contact should be initiated by householders.”
He said the department strongly encouraged householders to choose an electrical contractor who was licensed in the relevant state or territory to conduct the electrical inspection and any remediation work required for the insulation installation.
Grafton resident Vicki Kopcikas has also been targeted by the company and was told that for $99 it would complete an inspection to ensure her roof insulation met the requirements of the insurer.
“I was uneasy at the fact I was required to pay money and to check work that should have been done correctly in the first place,” Ms Kopcikas said.
The Daily Examiner contacted three insurance companies, who all confirmed no ‘safety certificate’ was needed to validate home insurance.
NRMA corporate affairs manager Andrew Tubb said NRMA Insurance would absolutely provide cover if a customer had home insurance and they experienced loss or damage to their home caused by fire as a result of the installation of insulation.
“We do not use the installation of insulation as a reason not to issue home insurance,” Mr Tubb said yesterday.
“When selling home insurance we do not ask for information around insulation, nor do we seek certification that insulation has been installed correctly,” he said.
The Daily Examiner attempted to check the business through the Department of Fair Trading but could not find a register business operating under the provided name.
Under the Business Names Act 2002, a person must not carry on business in NSW under a business name unless that name is registered.
However, if a business registered in the last 14 days it may not show up online immediately.
A Department of Fair Trading spokesperson said under the home safety insulation plan provided by the Government, there was no cost to the householder for an inspection.
Until the new inspection program is in place, householders who have safety concerns can ring the Safety Hotline on 131 792 to request an inspection.
If consumers are approached by a person seeking to charge for an inspection, they can lodge a complaint with NSW Fair Trading.
Safe Inspection Service was unavailable for comment.