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I DIDN’T REALISE THAT MY STRATA UNIT WAS ALREADY INSURED!

In Victoria when you purchased your unit you will have received an Owners Corporation Certificate in your Section 32 documentation. This provides all the current insurance details. If the owners corporation (or body corporate in the old language) is not professionally managed you should certainly enquire as to the status of insurance.
Unfortunately, all too often owners purchase their unit and immediately take out building insurance, only to discover that their unit is already comprehensively insured. Not only have they spent money unnecessarily, but have created a potentially dangerous ‘double-insurance’ situation.
The Owners Corporations Act (2006) requires that your strata takes out specialist strata insurance on all the buildings on the Plan of Subdivision. This insurance automatically includes a minimum of $20 million of Public Liability insurance over the common property, which includes the driveway (s).
This comprehensive insurance policy taken out with one specialist insurer ensures the safest and the most cost-effective insurance option. You should be aware that there are some obvious risks if duplicate insurance policies exist.

  • The potential for these insurance companies to dispute which company is liable, holding up repairs for a lengthy period.
  • The specialist policy will have replacement cover whilst the second policy may simply offer a payout, resulting in that owner having to arrange their own re-building.
  • A range of scenarios which can affect two units with a common wall where conflicting insurance policies result in dispute and difficulty.
  • Such scenarios are entirely unsatisfactory if the buildings are connected by common property, resulting in the buildings not being rebuilt at the same time, and disputes about who pays for the adjoining walls and services.
All of the above depend on the buildings being adequately insured. If any of the joined buildings are under-insured then the owners may not get their full pay out, meaning they can’t afford to rebuild.
If in doubt, you should contract a strata specialist for advice.
 

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THE COMMITTEE WON’T DO ANYTHING ABOUT MY NEIGHBOURS CAR

Strata communities generally have either a formal committee, or at least a group of active residents who take on the task of resolving problems that invariably occur in their Owners Corporation. If the strata complex does not have an experienced strata specialist in place, problems can arise if the owners’ committee can not (or will not) agree to deal effectively with such problems.
Unfortunately it is a fact of life that complaints can occur, and managers and committees must have policies and procedures in place to manage and resolve such complaints and disputes.
Disputes within an Owners Corporation are far more common than many people realise. Complaints occur for a number of reasons, most generally involving vehicle parking and noise, however it is impossible to predict the issues that can arise and cause problems. And when nobody is prepared to act to resolve the problem… it generally escalates. This is where the experience and skills of a strata specialist can be invaluable in calming the situation and ensuring that the needs of all residents are heard and communicated .
A strata specialist will initially recommend that basic communication is common sense. Sometimes residents who fail to obey the rules sometimes simply do not know the rules. As a starting point, your committee should ensure that all lot owners and tenants are provided a copy of the Owners Corporation rules. As a follow-up, the committee should encourage neighbours to talk about their concerns to resolve disputes.
If this strategy fails, then the strata specialist will know how to take communication to the next step, which can be arranging for mediation or conciliation, made in good faith by all parties, or if all else fails, applying to VCAT to make a legally binding decision about how the dispute is to be settled.
 

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Change to the CHU Strata Policy Excess


25 Nov 2022

The property insurance sector has endured consecutive years of unprecedent events that have affected overall profitability. 
 
The challenges that presented themselves with COVID including labour shortages and increasing costs of materials have been exacerbated by unprecedented weather related catastrophe events all over the globe. Closer to home, the east coast of Australia has seen it’s third consecutive year of La Nina activity, not only resulting in devastating floods but also ongoing storm and heavy rain activity.  
 
The most effective lever CHU has against continued pressure on premiums is the policy excess. Therefore in order to combat claims inflation pressures and continuing rising reinsurance cost we have reviewed the excess structure for CHU Residential Strata Insurance and Commercial Strata Insurance Plans.  
 
For all policy renewals with a renewal date of 27th January 2023 or after, the standard policy excess for all claims will apply as follows: 

  • For policies with a building sum insured > $2M – $2,000 all claims excess 

  • For policies with a building sum insured > $50M – $5,000 all claims excess 

For existing policies with a building sum insured < $2M, the standard all claims excess of $1,000 will remain. 
The above excess structure represents the standard excess application and is of course subject to ongoing underwriter review and change based on claims performance, etc. 

Strata policy owners may choose to buy down to a lower excess which will result in a premium increase (subject to underwriting). Alternatively, they may wish to increase the excess to determine what effect this may have on the overall premium. You can make this change online 24/7 through  StrataTech or through a change request to CHU underwriting.