A devastating natural gas explosion in a Toronto suburb serves as a rude awakening for a group of homeowners. The amount of insurance they think they have is not what they’re offered by their insurance companies. Rather than settle for less, the homeowners form a self-help group to fight their case. And they enlist the help of public insurance adjusters, independent agents who will do their own damage estimates and then take on the insurance companies.
We all buy home insurance hoping we never have to use it but if disaster strikes, we expect to be looked after. That’s what a group of Ontario home owners thought after a gas explosion rocked their neighborhood. Instead, they ended up in a bitter dispute with their insurance company.
On July 31, 1996, the quiet neighborhood in Thornhill, north of Toronto, was shattered by a natural gas explosion in a basement. One house was blown apart. No one was killed but six people were injured. Two of them, seriously. Roofs were lifted, windows were shattered. Walls bulged. In all, 11 houses have been condemned and unfit to live in.
Natural gas explosions can be devastating. The Calgary fire department conducted this controlled blast as part of a training exercise. It gives you some idea of what happened in Thornhill, where the explosion was blamed on the newly-installed gas water heater.
The homeowners in Thornhill had home insurance. One house was insured for one-hundred-eighty-two-thousand dollars to cover the cost of replacing the house.… Read the rest