Tuesday, February 05 10:20:20
Thousands of Irish households may be effectively uninsured because they used unregistered workers to fit or maintain their gas fittings.
The Consumer Association of Ireland is calling on insurance companies to clarify if they will pay out on claims where householders have used unregistered fitters to carry out work on domestic gas fires and boilers.
The CAI is calling for companies to make this clear so householders can avoid a situation similar to the one which saw owners of houses with pyrite damage find themselves not covered by insurance.
CEO of the Consumer Association of Ireland, Dermott Jewell said "Apart from the serious risk to life and limb, householders could find themselves financially exposed if they use unregistered installers. We are worried that where a claim involves damage caused by faulty gas equipment, the insurance company will look for evidence that previous servicing work was done by a registered installer. If the householder cannot provide this evidence, we fear the insurance companies just won't pay."
"Unfortunately, this could affect thousands of home-owners as the problem of illegal and unregistered gas installers is rampant in that industry. Struggling homeowners understandably opt for the cheaper black market option when it comes to these works. Indeed, we recently released survey figures that showed illegal boiler installations exceeded 10,000 units in 2011 alone. This minimum figure means that thousands of homes have been fitted illegally with potentially dangerous gas boilers. This of course means thousands of householders have insurance policies that are potentially null and void."
"Also, we know the Joint Oireachtas Committee on Transport Energy and Communications is looking into this issue. We are calling on them to request that the Commission for Energy Regulation (CER) appear before the Committee to give a full account of the state of the industry that we feel is exposing ordinary householders to grave risks and dangers. We wrote to the CER making them aware of our survey results last December but have yet to receive any response to the data. We hope the Oireachtas Committee will have more success in getting them to engage on this issue."