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News / Past Articles

More On That Insurance Article

Your recent article (October 2992 Contractor Review) entitled, “Time for Something Concrete,” was blatantly misleading in its portrayal of EIFS manufacturers and their impact on the current insurance crisis.

Not only was the article laced with unsubstantiated allegations and speculation from unnamed contractors, but it failed to allow manufacturers to offer their perspective on the important issues raised in this piece.

A. N. Wilson, a British author, once said, “If you know somebody is going to be awfully annoyed by something you write, that’s obviously very satisfying, and if they howl with rage or cry, that’s honey.” If Steven Ferry’s objective was simply to provoke EIFS manufacturers, he hit the bull’s eye. But, in doing so, he did a gross disservice to the industry and to a well-respected publication.

Among other things, Mr. Ferry failed to include a perspective on what constitutes good construction practices, and what it takes to ensure a moisture-free building envelope. Thanks, in large measure, to the efforts of EIFS manufacturers, the construction industry is far more sensitized today to the fact that all components of a building envelope-including roofing, flashing, overhangs, gutters, water diverters and windows-must work together to create a moisture-free environment.

To suggest that the insurance crisis has been fueled by greedy EIFS manufacturers hell-bent on selling products to anyone in a pick-up truck is simply ludicrous. EIMA manufacturers have long been in the forefront of efforts to train and educate EIFS applicators to meet the industry’s tough guidelines. Many offer in-plant training sessions and produce videos and other materials designed to help applicators improve their skills. Moreover, all manufacturers provide easy-to-follow instructions on how to install EIFS correctly. The problem is that some applicators simply choose to ignore the manufacturer’s instructions.

EIFS manufacturers have also been generous in their financial support of education and certification programs offered by industry groups such as the Association of the Wall and Ceiling Industries-International and the EIFS Industry Members Association. In so doing, the manufacturers have sought to make it more difficult for unqualified, fly-by-night operators to compete in an ever more sophisticated EIFS marketplace.

Finally, most EIFS manufacturers have walked the extra mile to provide contractors with technical support, in developing new EIFS standards, in communicating with gatekeeper audiences and in helping shape the new International Building Code.

It’s regrettable that EIFS manufacturers weren’t extended the courtesy of defending themselves and the industry they represent. As a result, AWCI’s Construction Dimensions missed a golden opportunity to add much needed clarity to the difficult issues surrounding the EIFS insurance crisis.

Stephan E Klamke
Executive Director
EIFS Industry Members Association
Morrow GA

Since this series of articles was originally to be about insurance and not a who’s-to-blame scenario, I thought a brief statement would be in order.

The insurance “fiasco” is indeed multifaceted, but it goes far beyond the relatively small percentage of EIFS application problems. Contractor general liability insurance premiums have risen substantially, and for some plastering contractors, unobtainable, because of the fallout from the residential market where poor construction practices among other trades, such as missing flashing, caulking and substandard windows that permit water infiltration into the wall cavity; a hardening of the insurance market for all construction contractors; increased reserve losses for the WTC resulting in less capital for underwriting; lack of government policy on terrorism insurance; loss of premium-driven investment income received by insurers; the inability to evaluate the risk associated with mold; and, inadequate underwriting guidelines-and that’s the short list.

I also want to reiterate that the Contractor Review is just that: a contractor review. Manufacturers, suppliers, distributors and others allied to the industry are usually not interviewed for such articles because it is meant to be a forum for contractors to feel free to speak out. And they feel free to say what’s on their minds because they know they will remain anonymous. Obviously, it’s working-they’re being heard, and all those in the industry who are affected by their comments and are listening to them are to be applauded. -LMP

Courtesy of EIMA



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