Friday, July 21, 2017

Disaster Averted, Not Without After Effects


Averted a major disaster recently.

One that would have resulted in loosing my business and my home.

In desperation I even set up a gofundme campaign.

Here is the text of that campaign, which explains things, shown between the two rows of asterisks:

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I am about to loose my home and my place of business, essentially due to the immoral actions of an insurance company. 

My mortgage is in default solely because I have no insurance, and this far have been unable to secure any that satisfies the bank's mortgage conditions. 

The following is a letter of complaint I wrote to the insurance company, as well as the provincial body that regulates/oversees Insurance companies operating in Manitoba.  I have redacted the names of the company, bank, etc for privacy purposes.  This letter will best explain the actions the insurance company took, which has seemingly also essentially destroyed my chances of getting "Full Replacement Coverage" insurance elsewhere. 

Letter is as follows in bold: 

During a rainstorm in the late evening/early morning hours of a Friday in June 2015, sheerwinds stripped a swath of shingles from the roof of my home. 
This damage resulted in water pouring through the ceilings of the 2nd floor, 1st floor and basement. 

As per is required by the insurance company during such events, I made attempts to minimize the damage by putting down pails, buckets, etc, and moving all items out of the water's path, which resulted in piles of objects in corners of my previously well & neatly organized the living room. 

I worked until the early hours of the morning to do my best to minimize the damage, but of course the water from the torrential rain pouring through my roof caused substantial damage to the interior of my home, as well as caused things to be strewn about the yard. 

Being a Friday, a subcontractor adjuster was sent out from YYYYYYY. The individual proceeded to take photographs of areas pertaining to the damage, and, without my prior permission/consent, also snapped several photos of portions of my home and yard that had nothing to do with, nor was affected by the damage. (She also failed to make a close examination of the other side of the roof, which had also sustained some loosening of shingles, which resulted in aggravated further damage of that side of the roof when a tornado funnel passed over the house about a month later.)

Do note that I was/am going through a divorce, and did have personal items moved into my living space after dividing possessions with my soon to be ex-wife, who had fairly recently moved out. 

Soon after, I got a call from the insurance broker, ZZZZ ZZZZZ of ZZZZ Insurance in Virden, MB, about having to "discuss the policy going forward." 
This discussion was not in actuality a discussion. 

Mr ZZZZZZ stated that *********'s "big guys" and his boss both agreed and decided by the photos that the property was owned by a hoarder, and that if we did not sign off on a voluntarily cancellation of a policy that ********* would do a "company cancel" of the policy and put it on public record that I was a hoarder. 
Do note that this action is the textbook definition of extortion. (ex·tor·tion - the practice of obtaining something, especially money, through force or threats. Synonyms: blackmail, shakedown; formal exaction) 

Do note that being a "hoarder" is a clinical diagnosis, and that *********'s people are very unlikely to be qualified to make such a diagnosis, especially such as was undertaken based solely upon photographs taken by a similarly unqualified individual. 

I do happen to suffer from a mental illness, but it is not that of hoarding.  As a result, the action taken by ********* also could well constitute discrimination against; and quite possibly could be considered a violation of the Canadian Human Rights Act. 
Due to the threat, we did sign a document voluntarily cancelling the policy, as we were told by Mr ZZZZZ  that should it be put on public record the policy was cancelled due to hoarding, that we would never be able to get insurance from another company based on that notation. We felt we had no other choice and had to sign under duress. 
Also note that the ARHA (Assiniboine Regional Health Authority) is behind me 100%, and will back me with documentation stating clearly that I am NOT diagnosed as being a hoarder. 

It is our position that several of the photos were taken: 
(a) of areas that had NOTHING to do with the storm damage and were taken without expressed permission 
(b) and were considered/looked upon by employees of ********* and ZZZZZ Insurance completely & utterly out of context (IE: Items stacked in corners of the room to minimize damage during the deluge of water) 

The decision to make a threat of cancellation based on hoarding was stated by Mr ZZZZZZ as having come directly from within ********* Insurance. 
Our position is that due to us having 3 previous claims (all "Acts of God" type incidents beyond our control), ********* was looking for any excuse to cancel the policy, and utilized the baseless accusation of hoarding to force us to cancel the policy. 

After this time, despite the only "voluntary cancellation", I have not been able to get insurance from any company that satisfies my mortgage requirements. All companies seem to find some sort of excuse/reason to say no, or deny the application, some even after having given a quote and saying they would insure. It seems rather suspicious that they all would deny the applications, no matter the company. Oddly enough, ********* quoted on an application put forth through XXXX , only to end up denying the application and further cause issues with getting insurance from any other firm.

As a result, my property is now in Foreclosure due to non-compliance with the Mortgage requirements (not having valid insurance in place) . I am now as a result of the extreme stress *********'s action have caused am suffering from depression, anxiety, and am generally not functioning well in day to day life. 

I may well loose my property to foreclosure due to *********'s actions; actions which were undertaken in such a way that could well be considered illegal under Canadian laws, as well as a violation of the Human Rights Act of Canada.
                                            ******
I have pretty much exhausted all means of obtaining insurance, though there are brokers trying various markets. However, these markets also put my insurance cost at over $6000, figures which will cause a financial strain (ie: wipe out my savings and then some).  By the bank foreclosing, I will loose my home and my sole means of income, which is my antiques, collectibles and salvage business which I operate from my property. 

The only ways to stop the foreclosure at this point is to get insurance (which as I have outlined has proven oddly impossible over the past year) and the other is pay off the remaining balance of the mortgage myself, or by the sale of the property.  The property is up for sale with a realtor for a year so far, but with the market being down with the price of oil (this is "oil country")  there has been no takers as of yet. 
 I have no other means of being able to immediately obtain the  $110000 required to pay off the mortgage, unless the property were to sell. It is listed currently a $300,000.  If the bank forecloses, I fear they will sell it for grossly under market value and then after expenses, (as well as payment of a $28,000  loan for the geothermal heat unit we had installed) will leave me with next to nothing (that remaining  sum which I will have to split 50/50 with my exwife, also).

I am at the end of my rope, so thus I have put up this plea for help.  

If by some miracle things do work themselves out (ie: I end up with insurance (unlikely), I win the lottery (equally unlikely), the property sells for a realistic sum before the bank forecloses (I can only hope)) then the monies will go towards a downpayment on a new location.  Having been self employed pretty much all my life, my credit rating sucks, and thus obtaining a significant mortgage is a daunting task. So, a larger downpayment on a property is an asset.   The property I do have my eye on is under $200,000, and is ideal for my business. 

I/we (the ex and I) have had far more than our fair share of  drama occur in the last 10 years of living here, as well as events that you would find yourself frowning & shaking your head at how much bad luck we have had.... but I will spare you the details, as they are only precursors to all this, and I am not looking to evoke sympathy, I am only looking for empathy and assistance/help.

Even if the final goal is not reached and if I am able to raise more funds myself via sales of inventory that I am undertaking presently, I will utilize the funds to perhaps be able to cover the mortgage that way.   Also, should I actually find some company that will insure the properly, undoubtedly it will be in excess of $6000, so any funds may end up used to help cover the insurance.



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So, what has happened? Well, the very insurance company that caused this problem in the first place ended up giving me insurance again. It was even cheaper than the first policy that we had, oddly enough.

So, anyways, I had been trying to get insurance for the past year, and when the bank finally started foreclosure proceedings, things were looking very grim. Basically, two weeks before the bank would have started procedures for auctioning the property, I got the insurance in place. Sadly, that is not the end of it. I am now dealing with anxiety & depression that still will not go away, despite disaster being averted. 

Here is an "update" from my gofundme campaign that explains a bit of the financial after effects (again, between the rows of asterisks): 

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Finally some good news! The insurance company that caused this mess has now done a 180 and offered insurance!! So, in the 11th hour this may well come to a positive close. Just some banking/legal stuff to deal with now to pull things out of foreclosure.

Well, the foreclosure will soon be stopped, but the costs have risen...this fiasco will have wiped out my savings, having cost me about an additional $6600 (beyond the $2100 paid out for insurance and $1800 worth of back mortgage payments that they had stopped taking 4 months ago; which of course I just saved up. Both amounts I would have spent anyway, so I am not including them in the total.) The $6600 is made up of over $800 in "temporary fire insurance" the bank put in place and the rest is LAWYER'S FEES! 
Yes, the bank's lawyers require me to pay the legal costs and fees, amounting to the $6600. So, I am not coming out of this free and clear, not by a long shot. This "series of unfortunate events " has cost me more than $6600....as that number does not factor in time and fuel for running around to insurance brokers all over the place, the extreme stress, the $ not made in my business due to the loss of productivity as a result of the anxiety and depression I have had to deal with for a year, and on and on and on. I am reducing the amount of the campaign to $6600 as a result, to try and get somewhat back on my feet financially, and repay the money I had to borrow to top up the amount I needed. 
I'd rather sell you stuff than "beg" here, so maybe just buy lots of cool stuff from me, ok?
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Anyway, so that is why I haven't been blogging as of late. Lost the drive, the motivation. 

I did manage to get a pick in, now that that stress is basically behind me. But, I will blog about it in the next post, to give you some relief from the stressful drama you have read above.


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