Insurance companies - and slum landlords - what a rip-off

By Frances Sedgwick
True North Perspective

Frances Sedgwick's keen eye and ear for the human condition reveals the heart and soul of Parkdale in southwest Toronto, one of the country's most turbulent urban areas where the best traditions of human kindness prevail against powerful forces that would grind them down. True North Perspective proudly presents a column by writer Frances Sedgwick. Her critical observation combined with a tender sense of humour will provide you with something to think about ... and something to talk about.

I went to Ottawa for the Winterlude.

I arrived home to my apartment to a disaster.
 I live in an apartment managed by TransGlobe.
You may have seen a documentary about them on a special CBC documentary. Not a good record in keeping up their buildings. In fact, despicable.
Since they took over our building about five years ago everything has deteriorated. To get a complaint looked after takes time if ever solved.
When they first acquired our building TransGlobe, among other things, destroyed the entrance to the building by putting cheap tiles over beautiful terracotta that will never wear out and that is in all our hospitals and public spaces, just to get an increase in rent.
Well, we tenants did not swallow that trick and  took them to court and won a small victory of a one percent less increase. 
Parkdale is unfortunately a target of slum landlords. Between Metcap and TransGlobe, these two companies are buying up a lot of buildings. They are intimidating tenants. Disgraceful. They are slum landlords.
An organization I belong to, The Parkdale Tenants Association, is helping tenants to fight back against these slum landlords.
We are currently on a campaign to deal with bed bugs and restoring meaningful rent control.
How can the McGuinty Goverment allow landlords to increase rents by 3.1% when more and more people are being laid off? When inflation is increasing beyond the income of most Canadians?
In my opinion we need to not only freeze rents, but roll them back.
To get back to my disaster there was a burst pipe on the floor above me when I was away and it leaked down to my floor, god forbid on my bed!!!
Water came through the light fixture above my bed.
What a mess. The bed clothes looked like they were almost burned. The water went right through the mattress ($900 or more) and through the box spring. And what a smell.
My neighbour came over and took off the covering for the light fixture, there was still water in it.
I phoned my insurance company and the broker informed me that it wasn't worth filing a claim because I had $250 deductable, there would be a penalty increase in my insurance making it not worth that which I would get back.
I told her that when I was in high school in my Business Fundamentals Class we had to write an essay on Insurance, the pros and cons, and I was the only one in the class who wrote against Insurance Policies and got an "A" and my paper was passed around the class.
She, the broker, laughed and said, "Well as a broker I have to warn you of the consequences of filing a small claim." I thanked her for the warning and said forget it.
I continued to inform her of a friend of mine who worked for a life insurance company and how she could not take the unscrupulous things the insurance company did to disqualify claims to people who passed on and had paid for years into their policies only to find in the end some small detail disqualified them.
The broker showed a bit of sympathy and went on to say you have a very good policy.
I said I have had it for over 40 years. She said you have coverage for a million dollars if anyone wants to sue you. Gulp says I who is going to sue me? For what? Big deal I should live secure thinking okay sue me!
And you have coverage for $33,000 damage.
So I have to have a lot of damage before my insurance is any good. Ye gads.
I figured out over 40 years I have paid $11,280.00 to the Insurance company and can't get back a messily $700.00 for a spoiled mattress.

If I had put that money into a savings account specifically for such a situation I would have a lot more than $11,280, as I pointed out in my essay.
As I always tell people, look around and you will see  the biggest towers down town are the Insurance Buildings. Something has to give. 
My Parkdale