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Insurers Dropping Chinese Drywall Policies

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posted on Oct, 17 2009 @ 01:57 PM
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reply to post by JustMike
 


This will be like lead paint. The Gov will make some sort of mandate stipulating that a house must be checked for this before it's allowed to be sold.

Everything we do to save ourselves is in retrospect... very infrequently do we ever see far enough ahead to actually prevent issues.




posted on Oct, 17 2009 @ 02:17 PM
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How about when it happens to people who rebuild their homes on the insurance company dime due to a natural disaster (i.e. Katrina)?

Frustrations mount at St. Bernard town hall meeting on Chinese drywall

NEW ORLEANS – John and Connie Gilmore spent all of their money rebuilding their home after Hurricane Katrina. That dream home has sent their lives in a downward spiral, setting them up for another disaster.

"This is a nightmare, because it's worse than a hurricane," said Connie Gilmore.

John, who is disabled, and Connie, who has been battling health issues, have defective Chinese drywall in their home, with corroding wires and tarnished fixtures. They worry if anything inside can be saved, and fear their financial future.

"We have nowhere to go at the moment," said John Gilmore. "We don't have any more money to start over."


To me, this has a whole different set of difficulties. The insurance companies are the ones who paid to have these houses rebuilt after Katrina. They are the ones that benefited from cheap materials being used and now are reneging on the deal.



posted on Oct, 17 2009 @ 02:29 PM
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reply to post by Iamonlyhuman
 


The same thing happened here in Florida too after we had two hurricanes 3 weeks apart back in 2004 (Frances and Jeane),

Most all the problems people are having around here with Chinese drywall is due to the RE-construction after the hurricane damage.

The insurance companies were taking the lowest estimates to have the work done, which is why a lot of homes have ended up with this Chinese drywall in them!



[edit on 10/17/2009 by Keyhole]



posted on Oct, 17 2009 @ 02:40 PM
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reply to post by Keyhole
 


Wouldnt the insurance company be liable in this instance?



posted on Oct, 17 2009 @ 03:14 PM
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reply to post by Bunch
 


I would think so, ...

But when it comes to replacing this drywall in brand new homes, I don't think they would be liable. That should fall under the builders/homes warranty I would think.

BUT, in regards to this drywall being installed in brand NEW homes, any damage caused to pipes or wiring, or anything else in the home due to the corrosive fumes this stuff gives off may be covered by a homeowners insurance IF the damage was caused BEFORE the homeowner realized that they had Chinese drywall in their home.

Once the homeowner finds out they have Chinese drywall in their brand new home, knowing it can damage certain materials in their home, (according to all homeowners insurance policies), it is the job of the insured to prevent further damage of their home once they find out they have a problem.

So if a homeowner finds out they have Chinese drywall in their brand new home, and does nothing about it, and then a year or two down the road their pipes start bursting causing their home to flood, or their wiring shorts out and causes a fire, they MAY just find that their claim is turned down because they knew they had the Chinese drywall in their home, knew what damage it could/would cause, and did nothing to prevent their "claim" from happening.

[edit on 10/17/2009 by Keyhole]



posted on Oct, 17 2009 @ 03:30 PM
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What about all the people who bought just one or two sheets to do a bit of remodeling or repair work that do not have a clue this crap is in there homes. Who knows the real number of home that have this stuff. Some one needs to come up with a simple test strip to check dry wall with.


PS. I just found this.
www.chinesedrywalltesterkit.com...

[edit on 10/17/2009 by fixer1967]



posted on Oct, 17 2009 @ 04:25 PM
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Ok, so basically this could be in any house that was built or modified (any modification that involved replacing a sheet of sheetrock) between 2001 and 2007? That's probably hundreds of thousands of homes!



posted on Oct, 18 2009 @ 01:24 AM
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Hi folks,

Sorry for being slow to reply. Problem of the world being round is that while you were writing I was sleeping.
So to avoid making a heap of new posts I’ll lump a couple of my replies together.


Originally posted by Lichter daraus
To me it all boils down to greed, but it might not be. Ill come up with more as i ponder this.
Deep down i think I'm a bit of a conspiracy theorist...



You know, there’s an excellent website for people who are conspiracy theorists…



Originally posted by HunkaHunka
This will be like lead paint. The Gov will make some sort of mandate stipulating that a house must be checked for this before it's allowed to be sold.

Everything we do to save ourselves is in retrospect... very infrequently do we ever see far enough ahead to actually prevent issues.


That’s one of the things that worries me about cases like this. Leaving aside any suspicions that the Chinese govt knew about this and taking just as a business matter, here’s what we have: due to greed, some people produced an inferior product, and due to greed, others bought it then sold it on to (mostly) unwary users…

Like you say, it’s now likely there’ll be more government regulation and control. That eventually will extend far beyond the original problem: the situation that created the problem was temporary, but the control will become permanent. And as it’s a matter of people’s homes, it adds another potential layer of regulation on where or how people can live. More tests to do, more forms to fill in, more govt agencies potentially involved in deciding what home you're allowed to live in and under what conditions...



posted on Oct, 18 2009 @ 01:27 AM
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reply to post by Iamonlyhuman
 
and also to the following, related posts.

Now this is crucial to the whole thing! If the insurance companies paid for repairs and approved the use of this material, then defacto they were involved in the transactions that created the HazMat problem in these people's homes!

And now they want to just wash their hands of the whole deal and walk away?
If I were one of the affected home owners I'd be
!!



posted on Oct, 18 2009 @ 02:06 AM
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Originally posted by Iamonlyhuman
Ok, so basically this could be in any house that was built or modified (any modification that involved replacing a sheet of sheetrock) between 2001 and 2007? That's probably hundreds of thousands of homes!


I think the dates quoted by AP were for toxic Chinese drywall (which I'll just call TCD for short) imported between 2004 -- 2008, but that doesn't mean to say it's only material from those years that's suspect. Your point is well made.


Frankly, with quarter of a million tons of TCD sheets being involved just from the '04 to '08 period alone, the number of homes has to be huge.**

I would guess even just one sheet of TCD would be enough to affect a homeowner's policy.

EDIT to ADD:


Hundreds of millions of sheets of Chinese drywall were imported from 2004 to 2006, but Chinese drywall has recently been found in homes built or remodeled as early as 2001. Accordingly, this phenomenon cannot be explained solely by the shortage of American-manufactured drywall. The presence of Chinese drywall has been reported in 27 states and the District of Columbia and is estimated to have been installed in over 100,000 homes in the United States.


This is from a website dedicated to (toxic) Chinese drywall, which you can access here.

And then there's this statement from the same site:


a small portion of defective drywall bears the name of a U.S. company. It is unknown whether such drywall was actually manufactured in the U.S. or was made in China and re-branded here. Another possibility is that the U.S drywall is fine, however, it was cross-contaminated by Chinese drywall. As such, labeling alone is not a definitive.


(Bolding done by me.)

And then on the "Legal" section of the above site (link here) it says this:


Lawyers representing homeowners and homebuilders who used drywall suspected of causing corrosion and possible health risks say they expect Chinese companies that made the wallboard to ignore hundreds of lawsuits filed against them in U.S. courts. ... Among tactics lawyers are considering are suits against U.S. investment bankers who financed the Chinese companies, and seizing ships that brought the drywall to the United States... "You're talking about billions of dollars" at stake, Herman said. "We're going to find some ways to make them responsive."


(Bolding done my me.)

The full article from which their website quotes the above is available on their site but I shall also supply it here: Lawyers: Chinese drywall makers may ignore suits

Dunno if I can say this on ATS but I'm gonna risk picking up my first ever "warn" and say that this whole affair really, really sucks big-time. If you wanted to hurt the US economy across all social and political spectra, what'd be the obvious thing to hit? American homeowners, right? We've all seen what is happening to homeowners lately and how that's impacted the economy. Rich or poor, Rep, Dem or whatever, people are being hurt by this.

Insurers find out about your TCD? Sorry, you're policy's voided until you fix the problem! Oh, but you need insurance because you've got a mortgage? Sorry, but that's not our problem, says the insurance company...

Never mind the fact that in many cases the insurance companies were involved from the word go.

** My online research tells me that standard drywall is apparently 8 feet by 4 feet. There are other sizes of course but apparently that's the most common. I’d like to ask if wylekat could confirm this as he worked in drywall cleanup some years back. If he’s not available could someone else check the details and also the weight? Then we can calculate how many square feet we are looking at. (Total TCD imported from 2004-08 was reported by AP to be 500 million pounds = 250k tons.)

Also it would be useful to know the average number of square feet of drywall used in a “typical” new home. This would then allow us to work out a theoretical minimum for the number of houses affected -- assuming all the TCD was used in new homes only (which it likely wasn’t). But it’s be good to have a minimum figure. LATE EDIT to ADD: Please see the post by endisnighe, two posts down from this one, for the answers to these technical questions.

EDIT to ADD: The estimate quoted in the new edit earlier in this post is that over 100,000 homes have been affected. However, that might be just the tip of the iceberg and I'd appreciate more data. Correction: we'd all appreciate more data!

By the way, if you think this thread is of value, then I'd humbly request that you flag it. Seems there could be a lot more to this problem that I ever realized when I started the thread.

[edit on 18/10/09 by JustMike]

[edit on 18/10/09 by JustMike]



posted on Oct, 18 2009 @ 02:30 AM
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I have been in construction 20 years. To blame the architect, builder, insurance, free markets, capitilism or anyone but the manufacturer of the material is fracking stupid.

As for the liability, the builder is required to warranty a house for so many years depending on the state. Now, the builders can and most likely will file claims on their business insurance. Now the insurance can go after the manufacturer.

As for the Chinese not paying, that would be fracking great. I have said to anyone that listens, this bull# free trade globalist # has to stop. We raise cattle here and ship them to other countries. We grow food here and ship it to other countries. We import CRAP like our food, clothes, toys, construction material from other countries and this # happens. Can you say lead in children's toys from China? Can you say e coli in jalapenos from Mexico? That after throwing an entire years crops of tomatoes away from all the farms in the US. Can you say drywall from China? Can you say contaminated beef from Australia, England and New Zealand?

Self sufficiency; not what is best for other countries but what is best for US!

Yes very isolationistic, but hell, I do not want to become part of EMPIRE or whatever the NWO wants to call it.



posted on Oct, 18 2009 @ 02:40 AM
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reply to post by JustMike
 


Just remodeled a house. Drywall actually, is most commonly used in 4x12 sheets. 5/8 for ceilings and 1/2" for walls.

Appx weight per sheet is say 65 for 1/2 and 75# for 5/8. So for a standard 1200 sq ft home say 110 sheets give or take 110x70=7700

500million divided by 7700=65,000 homes x 25,000 dollar loss(low estimate)=1.625 billion dollars low end if high as much as 5 billion



posted on Oct, 18 2009 @ 02:44 AM
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reply to post by endisnighe
 

Thanks for your comments. As you've been in the building industry for a decent number of years, could you advise us on something? When materials are to be used in building, is there any govt agency that's responsible for testing samples from them to ensure they meet required standards, regardless of whether the material is sourced from "at home" or abroad?



posted on Oct, 18 2009 @ 02:52 AM
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Originally posted by endisnighe
...500million divided by 7700=65,000 homes x 25,000 dollar loss(low estimate)=1.625 billion dollars low end if high as much as 5 billion


Just saw your new post after I'd posted my response to your first one. Many thanks for the info!
(Starred.)

Is that high-end estimate for loss the material cost alone? What I mean is, would that dollar value allow for the cost of removing the defective toxic Chinese drywall under "HazMat" standards (and safe disposal of same) and then refitting the home with new drywall, repainting, cleanup, etc? And apparently this stuff also can pass on toxicity to other material within the home. Would that have to be factored in as well as a separate cost component? (Inspection of the entire structure, repair or replacement remedies for damaged wiring, air-conditioning, even timber joists and the like, relocation costs for residents during the process and so on.) Sorry for the questions but I've been hoping to have an expert in building on here so we could find out.

[edit on 18/10/09 by JustMike]



posted on Oct, 18 2009 @ 03:27 AM
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Did some digging and found there was an obvious cover up!


E-mails - exchanged over 3 1/2 months by state and county health officials and the EPA - regarding possible dangers of Chinese drywall indicate the parties waited to coordinate with a homebuilder and its consultant on how and when to alert the public... The 207 e-mails cover more than 400 pages and range from Oct. 2, 2008 to Jan. 13, 2009.

The News-Press made a public-records request to the state Department of Health for the e-mails Jan. 9. They show:

• No central Web site for information to be recorded and exchanged on the multiplying reports coming in from across the state was established until Dec. 12. The Web site address was redacted from the e-mails.

• The state Department of Health relied on Lennar Homes and its consultant, Environ International, for information on the cause of the drywall problem until the state began its own investigation in late January.

• Lennar discovered the drywall in dozens of its homes in August and began investigating. The verdict reported in an Oct. 2 briefing to state and county health officials and the EPA: The drywall was not a health threat.

• The Department of Health pressed Environ for copies of all research and lab results but Lennar's consultant refused to comply, saying it hadn't asked for the department's opinion. The backup data was finally turned over on or just after Dec. 23...


(Bolding done by me.)

You can read the full article here:

Officials withheld Chinese drywall alert

As for "not a health threat", the toxic Chinese drywall ("TCD") is definitely a health threat:


On June 3, the federal Agency for Toxic Substances & Disease Registry, an arm of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, released a guide for doctors and others dealing with questions about the tainted drywall. Few studies exist of people exposed to low levels of sulfur gases for long periods of time, however, the ATSDR said that short-term exposure to sulfur gases such as carbonyl sulfide and carbon disulfide, both of which have been found in Chinese drywall, can cause eye irritation, sore throat, stuffy nose, cough, shortness of breath, chest pain, nausea and headaches – symptoms that can be caused by multiple other factors, but which resemble the complaints voiced by residents. Longer exposures can result in fatigue, loss of appetite, irritability, poor memory, insomnia and dizziness, according to the agency. Older people, children and those with asthma or chronic obstructive pulmonary disease are more likely to feel the
effects of sulfur gases, the ATSDR said.


(Bolding done by me.) Above quoted from this page on the ChineseDrywall (dot) com website. Full report in pdf format available here.

Short-term exposure? Longer exposures?
Hey, you ATSDR experts -- people are living in homes where they are being exposed to these toxic gases from Chinese drywall all the time!

So how about some advice for permanent exposure?

And you advise doctors to tell patients:
• if the odor is strong inside the home, go outside to breathe fresh air for immediate relief
• if possible, avoid areas where the odor is present
• avoid heavy exercise indoors

(Bulleted statements quoted directly from the doctor's advice pdf referenced and linked above.)

Go outside? Brilliant! What if they feel sick all the time? You want them to go in the back yard and live in a TENT?

Avoid areas where the odor is present? Like, avoid the area called "our home"?

Avoid heavy exercise indoors? So no cleaning of the carpets? No working out?

No sex?

Why don't you just say: "Wear gas masks -- twenty-four hours a day. And don't touch the walls!!"

EDIT to ADD:

That pdf advisory for doctors includes the following statement ("current as of June 3, 2009"):


This drywall was first imported to the U.S. in 2003 and is still in use. The number and location of all homes containing the imported drywall is not known.


(Bolding done by me.)

It's "still in use"?
Then why the.... Why don't some authorities take some action to STOP it being "still in use"? It's making people sick and ruining their homes!

Did you experts take lessons in stupidity?



[edit on 18/10/09 by JustMike]



posted on Oct, 18 2009 @ 03:58 AM
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reply to post by JustMike
 





Is that high-end estimate for loss the material cost alone? What I mean is, would that dollar value allow for the cost of removing the defective toxic Chinese drywall under "HazMat" standards (and safe disposal of same) and then refitting the home with new drywall, repainting, cleanup, etc?


The $25k is way on the low end. This would not be a haz-mat situation in regards to the removal. As one of your posts explain short term exposure is not a problem. As for disposal, depending on what the gov has determined the hazardous waste designation is? Now for replacement of just the drywall you have to imagine a complete gutting of the house. All cabinets, fixtures, bathroom fixtures pretty much everything would have to be removed first. Next all affected piping or other metal affected by it would have to be replaced also.

But that is not the problem. First, you would have to find a contractor that would stake their business on doing the renovation and finding one that had an insurance company that would back the renovation, to do it. And you can see what the insurance companies have done so far.

I closed my business a few years ago but if I was still in it(can you say black market?), I would not touch these houses.




When materials are to be used in building, is there any govt agency that's responsible for testing samples from them to ensure they meet required standards, regardless of whether the material is sourced from "at home" or abroad?


Yes, their are numerous building material safety standards. Actually I think too many. But when this started, myself and numerous builders(honest and respectable ones) heard about this early and quit using anything from China.
Their are numerous codes and enforcement agencies in the US, but they are always turning a blind eye to undercutting of prices by other countries. Look at China with their dumping of low cost and grade of tires lately, and what Obama actually did about it was FIRST thing I would back him on.

As for Expert-I will give you my experience to verify my post. Aircraft Mechanic and Engineer, Associate in Business. 12 years in home and commercial building and remodeling for myself. 5 years as a Site Super for a land developer in CA, building both large commercial and residential apartment complexes.

edit for a total run on and gramma

[edit on 10/18/2009 by endisnighe]



posted on Oct, 18 2009 @ 04:26 AM
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reply to post by endisnighe
 

Many, many thanks for your detailed and concise reply.


Seems to me from what you say that this problem could take years to get resolved, specially bearing in mind the different states involved and varying standards for how to deal with it. And as you say, if businesses that could do the work are advised by their liability insurers that they won't cover it (or even just say "legal advice is being sought"), then they'd be insane to touch it. So it might devolve to an insurer of last resort if there is one for such cases.

Seems incredible to me that as of June this year, the toxic Chinese drywall was "still in use" -- even after govt agencies were investigating it as a hazard and advising doctors on what to do for patients who reported illness as a suspected result of being exposed to it.

I appreciate your insight on the "hazmat" issue. That's good to know from the perspective of the workers who'd have to remove the stuff. Makes me wonder about those who were working with it day in, day out for maybe some years, though.

You know, considering what you say about the need to totally gut some homes and even r&r some piping and wiring and so forth, is it possible that in some cases it would be more economically viable to just demolish the home and rebuild from foundations up? I don't know for sure of course but if the home is older and was re-done with drywall after (say) hurricane damage, its value might be low enough to make that an option.

That is, if the insurers or a liable party can be made to pay anything at all.

I do know that home owners are being warned not attempt to remedy the problem themselves before they have had an inspection done so that evidence can be obtained (for future legal action/claims). Also, home owners who are not experts in construction might only replace the drywall and then find that the corrosion of pipes and wiring continues -- along with their health problems -- because the gases released have contaminated other materials in the home. In fact, this is already reported.

Like you say, this is a whole lot more complex than just ripping out the bad drywall and fitting new, clean material.

Your qualifications are pretty impressive in my humble opinion and I for one would not dispute what you say. Just by the way, my Dad was an airframes mechanic on carriers in the Navy and they had to know their stuff, specially as people's lives depended on getting it right the first time, every time. He was pretty handy at building work too. Studied engineering when he got out of uniform.

Best regards and thanks again,

Mike



posted on Oct, 18 2009 @ 05:31 AM
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Suing the Chinese is worthless.

And i will bet that suing many of the builders will be just as worthless.
I worked the building trades for years and many home construction companies only last on paper for a few years.
Then the companies are shut down renamed and restarted.
I worked for one construction company owner on 4 jobs and under 5 company names.

The only trade that changes company names faster is the mining industry
where i worked for one company owner 3 times and 4 company names in 5 years.

Every economic showdown would cause these home construction companies to shutdown and the owners would cook the books to show they were bankrupt to the courts.

Then when the economy turned around the owner would take his hidden money and start a new company till the next bust.

On the drywall the builders will turn around and blame there sub contractors who will blame the suppliers that will blame the importers who will claim that they did not import the bad drywall and the the suppliers must have got there drywall from some other importer.
Any lawsuits could go on for 20 years.

Also what is going to happen to all the forclosed home with this bad drywall.
Are the bank going to get stuck with them or are they going to sell them without telling the new owner that they have bad drywall.

That could cause another round of law suits and people sue the banks for not disclosing the faults with the homes.

If i owned one of these homes i would think about burning it down with a fire started in a corroded electrical outlet and then blame it on the drywall BEFORE the insurance company found out about the drywall.



posted on Oct, 18 2009 @ 05:43 AM
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reply to post by ANNED
 

Hi ANNED and many thanks for your observations. Yes, I know about the problem with companies going bust then new ones starting with the same owners. Seems it happens around the world.

Like you say, these lawsuits could drag on for years and meanwhile a lot of houses might just be sitting empty. Then there's the wrinkle that if squatters move in to the empty houses they might later develop medical problems and due to the weirdness of the law, could even have a claim against someone.

Wouldn't surprise me if some houses just burn down. After all, burglars do that sometimes in an attempt to obscure evidence.

It's areal mess...



posted on Oct, 18 2009 @ 05:52 AM
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Originally posted by Iamonlyhuman
The free-market economic system assumes that consumers have full knowledge of the materials that they consume. I can guarantee you that these people did not. The reason I agree with you that it is the builders' responsibility is because when the people sue the builders then, if the builders' were truly unaware of the materials being defective, then they would in turn sue the manufacturers if they could. If they couldn't then they will learn a very serious lesson and not buy from those manufacturers anymore. THAT is a free-market economy... and it WORKS, if allowed to work.


The consumer in this instance isn't the homebuyer but the construction project that used these materials.

In a nutshell..

If the architect was aware of the substitution of an inferior/dangerous material for the one originally specified in the plans and documents then they are fully culpable. If the architect wasn't aware they are still liable under terms of the construction docs and ignorance is no defence in the eyes of the law.

Thats why professional construction indemnity insurance is so expensive as the minimum period of guarantee (in the UK) is 12years starting after hand-over and any defects arising during that time are the liability of the architect and contracted construction company, not the buildings' new owners

[edit on 18-10-2009 by Taikonaut]



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