January-February 2003

In the News ...

Homeowners May Face Higher Home Insurance

Homeowners may be faced with paying higher premiums due to the recent mold issue, according to an recent article by Pat Curry on “With insurers backing off on writing new policies, home buyers who need proof of insurance to get a mortgage have a problem. The Texas Department of Insurance has reported complaints from consumers who were held up on getting a loan, and the state’s bankers association is concerned that it could push mortgage interest rates higher as lenders have trouble getting national resellers to buy Texas loans,” said the article.

Mold can be a factor in high insurance premiums. “Homeowners who have filed a water-damage claim in the last three years will have the hardest time. They will have a problem finding coverage at any price,” said Jenny Jones, president of Elkins/Jones, a major property-insurance broker in Los Angeles.

“The rise in claims can be attributed to construction techniques that have become the norm in the last two decades,” said Joe Lstiburek, an internationally recognized expert in moisture-related building problems and indoor air quality. He says that in the past houses were built in a way that “allowed them to dry out after they got wet.” Now that houses are built more energy efficiently, when moisture enters the home, it can’t escape.

Homeowners can reduce their insurance by taking higher deductibles or by getting a policy that doesn’t cover water damage, according to Jones. 

A Suite of Lawsuits Citing Mildew Damage Filed Against Behr
“Alaskans who used some Behr exterior wood sealant products [from 1991 on] may be eligible for cash or coupons as part of a $107.5 million national class-action lawsuit settlement,” reported the Anchorage Daily News in a recent article.

A court ordered notification campaign and claims process began in late October 2002 directed to individuals who purchased and applied to an exterior wood surface either Super Liquid Raw-Hide or Natural Seal Plus Wood sealant products manufactured by Behr Process Corp., according to a recent Behr press release.

“The settlement [announced at the end of October] has its roots in 2000, when a Washington lawsuit charged that some popular sealants made by Behr Process Corp. caused mildew damage. The Washington case ended in triple damages against Behr and spawned a suite of similar suits across the nation. Those suits, including one in Alaska, were rolled together and settled via mediation,” said Matt Singer of the Anchorage Law firm, Jermain, Dunnagan & Owens.

"The settlement does not address the validity of the charges, and Behr denies its products did not perform as advertised. When Jermain, Dunnagan & Owens filed its suit early last year, a spokeperson for Michigan-based Masco Corp., Behr’s parent company, said any problems are likely due to misapplication," said the article.

Certification Programs
Flooring Inspector Prospectives Attend Certification School
The NOFMA: Wood Flooring Manufacturers Association, headquartered in Memphis, Tenn., recently held a week-long training course to inaugurate its NOFMA Certified Wood Flooring Inspector school. Twenty-two students took the course, which is the first step toward gaining certified status as wood-flooring inspectors. 

The certification program, of which the training course is a part, grew out of recognition of NOFMA member manufacturers who saw a need for a credible third-party resource to which consumers could turn to help resolve disputes involving wood flooring performance issues. This initial school marks the culmination of more than two years of planning, according to NOFMA.

The initial 22 participants included independent floor covering inspectors, flooring contractors and representatives of both flooring distributors and manufacturers. Course instructors included Mickey Moore, NOFMA’s technical director, Evan Lauridsen of Armstrong Wood Products, Mike Sundel of Basic Coatings, Kathy Allen from the University of Memphis and NOFMA technical assistant Warren Spraldin.

Precision and Sugarcreek Launch Dealer Support Site
Precision Door & Glass Inc. and Sugarcreek Industries Inc., both of Sugarcreek, Ohio, have recently launched a new online dealer support site, called entry LINK.™

The secure support site is designed to provide dealers with current information and serve as a platform for various online dealer tools. entryLink is being developed in phases. Phase one, which was just released, allows dealers to access order and account information online. Other phases currently being developed include online order entry of door and window products and an interactive design center.




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