Christine Devine is pictured in the lounge room of her home that continues to sustain water damage after recent storms.
Christine Devine is pictured in the lounge room of her home that continues to sustain water damage after recent storms.

Craving Devine intervention

By ALEX EASTON and HELEN JACK FOUR months after Lismore’s devastating hailstorm, Christine Devine’s house is the only one in her street that isn’t having its roof replaced.

Ms Devine’s insurer, CommInsure, has refused to replace her roof claiming water now leaking into the house is a result of the poor condition of the roof and not directly caused by the hailstorm.

That means the insurance company is also refusing to repair increasing water damage resulting from the leaks.

But assessors appointed by CommInsure, Pattersons, stated in their report that damage to the roof was caused by the hailstorm and the previous condition of the house was good with the roof free of leaks.

In the meantime, each time it rains Ms Devine has to mop up the water gushing through the ceiling of her home and down the walls.

And the situation has become so stressful that her son Zac, 16, has moved out.

Ms Devine’s home in Keen Street, Lismore, was extensively damaged by the October storm. Hailstones smashed 18 panels of glass, dented and ripped holes in the corrugated iron roof, destroyed a roof-top solar hot water service and cracked external panels.

CommInsure has agreed to replace the hot water service, the windows, a TV aerial and pay TV satellite dish, but Ms Devine is still fighting their decision to not replace the roof, fix the water damage, or replace the broken panels.

“A new roof with insulation will cost me $28,000 and I don’t have that amount of money,” Ms Devine said.

A single mother and student, Ms Devine was in Lismore Base Hospital recovering from surgery on her foot when the storm hit.

With her leg still in plaster, Ms Devine said she was glad she had temporarily withdrawn from her studies at TAFE because of her surgery.

“I have spent so many hours researching and following up instructions by CommInsure I would have failed my course for sure,” she said.

“I have done everything they have wanted me to do.” In a letter to Ms Devine, CommInsure claims case manager Claudia Turk said the company had rejected the claim for damage to the roof, all internal damage and paint to an external wall.

Ms Turk indicated Ms Devine’s policy covered her home for damage or destruction by storms, but CommInsure believed the coverage was voided because one of its assessors, Sergon, said her roof was in poor condition.

However, the report to CommInsure from Pattersons said the damage was ‘storm related’ and the house was in a ‘good’ condition before the storm. The report recommended the claim be approved.

In a letter to Page MP Janelle Saffin, Ms Devine says since the October hailstorm leaks had appeared in her kitchen, lounge room and sitting room.

“I have maintained the roof as any citizen would, new sheets when needed and tar roofing rolls,” she said.

“I have dealt with six different people at CommInsure and have been bullied considerably.”

A spokesman for the Commonwealth Bank said Comm-%Insure was having another look at Ms Devine’s claim, but would be unable to give a full response this week.

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