Tanya Martin and her family have been forced to live in tents in their backyard while waiting for insurer AAMI to fix their home in East Maitland. Photo: Max Mason Hubers Tanya Martin’s home is full of toxic mould after being damaged in the April super storm. T Photo: Max Mason Hubers
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Martin and her children live in tents in their backyard. Photo: Max Mason Hubers

Damage to the Martins’ home in East Maitland. Photo: Max Mason Hubers

For Tanya Martin, it was unlucky she was with AAMI.

More than unlucky, the East Maitland woman has been thrust into a hell not of her own making, forced to sleep in a tent with an autistic child as AAMI fights liability over a super storm claim.

It is the second case to be revealed by the Newcastle Herald in recent weeks as the ethics of the insurance giant are again called into question.

By her own admission, Ms Martin didn’t think anything of the minor flooding around her home after the storms in April last year.

She joked with her children “they were on an island” and the problem would be fixed soon.

But the flooding left behind mould, which Ms Martin said seeped indoors through the vents, spreading throughout the entire house in the week they spent away from the property.

Believing her insurer would cover the damage, her hopes were dashed when AAMI determined the mould spores emerged through “pre-existing conditions”.

“I couldn’t believe it,” Ms Martin said.

“When I countered them with reports, they did not factor it in or even take it into consideration.

“They discounted them entirely.”

The builder’s report, carried out by Craig’s Building Advisory Services, and seen by the Herald, rejected the findings of AAMI’s engineer.

It concluded the April super storm was to blame for the internal moisture and said AAMI’s claim that faulty guttering could be responsible was “totally incorrect”.

But AAMI, standing by its own report, retorted each one of the findings.

Ms Martin was incredulous.

“Why do we always assume that our insurer is going to screw us?” she said.

“The treatment doesn’t back up the bright and cheery marketing, they just don’t seem to give a damn.

“We shouldn’t be living like this, but there’s nowhere to go, where do you go?”

Ms Martin is on a waiting list for public housing and her dispute is with the financial ombudsman.

In a statement, AAMI declined to comment in detail, but said it would abide by the ombudsman’s ruling, which is due in six to eight weeks.

The Newcastle Herald

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