Viggen Update: A devastating blow

My wife opened yesterday’s mail during the day, while I was out learning how to build a deck, and found that we had received a reply from my insurer.

As expected, they denied the claim for a third time, the final step in their internal processes. But included n their denial of the claim, were more distinct bullet points as to why. And bullet is the appropriate word.

Chief amongst them is the fact that one of the organisers of the event stated that the driver training was of a nature that could be applied to motorsport. I’d been trying to stress the fact that the Confederation of Australian Motorsport were only linked to this event for the purposes of the club’s insurance, which is true, but this concession by the organiser during the investigation, unbenkown to me, has pretty much killed off my chances.

I’ll take it to the next level, which is an appeal to the Insurance Industry Omudsman – an independant arbiter for insurance related disputes – but I’m now very skeptical about my chances.

I’ll be honest with you, I feel absolutely gutted. I’ve always known that my chances were slim in this case but held up hope based on the argument that we’d put together and the fact that the insurer kept having to change their denial story all the time. But this is a killer blow.

My wife and I have been putting every spare cent into our home loan and we’ve had six interest rate rises here in Australia in the last year or so. Now I’m facing the prospect of having to tell her that I might need to pull $10K or so out to fix the car. If the website was running at the level it was back in June, prior to the changes I made here (or even better, continuing the growth curve it had back then) then I wouldn’t be fussed. I’d pull the money out knowing I had a prospect of earning it back in reasonable time.

Not so, now.

I need to sleep on this and examine their letter again. I’ll definitely be appealing to the Obmudsman – it’s a free service and I think I’ve still got an argument.

But tonight it just feels like crap. Sorry for venting here, but it’s all part of the Viggen story. It will be fixed. I’m bringing it back from my mechanic’s shop next week and I’ll shoot some photos to show where the damage is.

I guess it’s time to start searching for, and stockpiling parts.

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30 Comments

  1. Bastards…

    The stupid thing in all this is the fact that if you did the damage on a public road because of reckless driving, putting other people at danger and lied about it in your claim, they would probably just paid you the money…

  2. Wish I had a magic bullet that would turn this around for you swade. Seems to me though that “could be” doesn’t rise to the level to support their case that it was a racing event. Ordinary driver training techniques “could be” applied in racing. I’m sure other posters will have better advice for you. I’d be in favor of a “Fix the Viggen” fund raising campaign of some kind, but I’m not sure that you would favor such an idea. We’re all pulling for you.

  3. I’d favour that Ted Y, Swade its up to you. I’ve got my $100.00 aus ready to post to you now. Your website is pure magic. I think many would feel the same way and would really enjoy seeing your Viggen on the road again. I’m sure many feel a part of this website, so why not let us feel a part of a viggen as well!

  4. Well, I echo the sympathies. I’ve definitely had my share of unhappiness at the hands of the insurance industry here in the US, and I’m sorry to see you suffer the same fate.

    For everyone else, let this be a warning to you: when you sign an insurance company, READ THE CONTRACT. It’s dull. It’s BORING. It’s hard to understand. ASK. If you can’t make it out, make the insurance agent explain it. I’ve taken that practice for some time now after a much less catastrophic but equally as one-sided as Swade’s issue, and once you do, you’ll understand why some insurance companies offer such low prices — they don’t cover everything!!! Amazing some of the differences that you will find.

    And, despite advertising to the contrary, when you’ve got a claim, the insurance company ISN’T your friend. They simply aren’t. Don’t trust them, make them do the WHOLE thing in writing, in person, etc. As a claimant, you are a LIABILITY. That’s just simple fact.

  5. I agree, let’s all pool our resources to help! I know the wife will think I’m nuts, and I have to admit that I don’t have much spare cash just hanging about, but I’d like to help in any small way that I can. If enough of us got together, our modest contributions could be enough to help Swade through this. Anyone know how we could make this work? How does one wire $$ from another country? Do we just need a routing number, etc? Let’s do it! I’m open to suggestions folks…

  6. Just because a race organiser has ‘stated that the driver training was of a nature that could be applied to motorsport’ it does not mean that was how the event was promoted nor was it your intention.

    Could that same person also state that the driver training was of a nature that could be applied to safe driver training?

    You have to convince the arbitrator that you undertook the course to improve your safe driving skills.

    How was the course marketed? Who took the course? Was your car modified in any way or completely stock? Do you have a safe driving record? If one were to do content analysis of items authored by you on trolhattensaab.net before the accident would that show that you wrote about safety more often then performance?

    They have all the resources but some times salaried attorneys lack the enthusiasm to impress an arbitration board.

    Having said all that if you have a negative outcome you might consider putting it on the back burner or parting it out lest your wife be convinced your obsessing over a novelty.

  7. Could a PayPal account be set up for this? PayPal transfers work internationally and the payment is simply pulled off your credit card. It should be handled by someone in the legal profession so it can be arranged as a non-profit cause. The Viggen repair bill gets paid, and any profits goes to a worthy cause. How about the Confederation of Australian Motorsport 😉

  8. COMPLETE CRAP!!!!!!!

    Sorry to hear about your situation.

    Insurance companies are only good if you pay them regularly and never claim anything. We are all forced to have it, but there isn’t any control over how much they can charge you. Then when you need their help they tell to piss off and increase your rates. Talk about a great business model.

    It’s all a scam.

    At least that’s the way it is in Canada.

  9. Swade, first I would like to express my deepest sympathy for your Viggen problems. Secondly I think SAAB should help you out here, they have a lot to thank you for and they owe you a lot! Fixing the Viggen for you is just small changes of money for them. Thirdly; I am not a rich man, but be sure that I would join in if there will be some sort of “Get Swade Airborne Again Fund” rolled out.

    Rgds
    Olav – still taking the longest way home 🙂

  10. Stig, Swade once had a Paypal setup for Send Swade to Sweden! Donations. Maybe that account still works, I don’t know. Hopefully, swade will give us a go-ahead. I agree with Hawkeye, we’ve received a lot from swade, time to give something back. Plus, some of us share responsibility, at least a little, encouraging him so we could enjoy the videos.

  11. Sorry to hear it Swade – big business bruises in again.

    BUT:

    My legal arguement would state that:

    The term “Could” be applied to Motorpsort – is not a disqualification in contractural law from cover because it was not ‘”ctually” applied to motorsport in the actual event (as opposed to any hypothetical future) and that there is no previous evidence (nor future intent proven) that motorpsort has been within your actual behaviour on the day or prior to it – nor previously nor evidenced for the future.

    Therefore the clause of the migths adn teh coulds cannot be reasonably enforced nor be valid – based on such supposition and hypothetical and specualtive opinion or statement suggesting such possible action (and that is irrespective of a personal opinion by an official who has no knowledge of your actions or intent.)

    IE- why not argue that if “could ” was to eb accepted as denial of claim parameter, it coudl apply to any act with potential. IE Your car “could” carth fire if you smoked a pipe in it. It “could” be involved in an accident if driven badly on a public highway etc etc.

    Also, as an aside, what is the past relationship between the official or hsi organisation and the insurance company? Is is opinion expert and therefore likely to weigh a Judge’s view?

    And is there ANY evidence of ANY kind that (a) you had such intent towards motorspsort or history thereof, and (b) that in terms of “could” is the act of could applciable to your conduct?

    You need to separate the official’s ‘opinion’ from actual relaity rather than conveniently supposed intent that is unsupported by evidence.

    Unless of course that is not the case of your record

    Sod, em, hang em high ans make a fuss!

    Really sorry mate, usual life shite.

  12. Sorry to hear the insurance company is giving you grief, Swade. They obviously haven’t
    felt threatened enough by the bulldog-of-a- lawyer that’s looking to kick some stubborn group in the arse.

    I thirdly think SAAB should help you out here,
    it would be a nice gesture, since you ARE their global spokesman.

  13. I have one thing to say.
    I bought a gun. I “could” kill insurance salesman with said gun.

    of course I haven’t and never will. And that’s what lance is getting at. It’s simple, it won’t hold up if you get to court. Just learn how to convince a non-enthusiast that you were taking the class for good driving habits, not for motorsport.

  14. Hi all and thanks for your sentiments. I’ll definitely be taking this through the ombudsman but I doubt it’ll go to legal action. We just don’t have the money for that and you’ve got to be quite sure of the outcome before you even start down that road. Know when to hold ’em. Know when to fold ’em.

    I won’t be doing a fund-raising for this. I got to a point where it felt OK to do it for Sweden because I knew you’d all be getting something back in the way of LOTS of info and I worked my arse off to make sure that was the case.

    This situation is my own fault, which is what I have insurance to cover. So it’ll be either me or the insurer who covers it.

    ctm was so right. If this happened because of me changing a CD or just being a lark on a public road, then I’d probably be driving it again by now. Sucks.

  15. See, I don’t have these problems, because my family is tied to the mafia.

    :p

    I don’t think this is as bad as you think it is, Swade. Ubermich and Lance pretty much said everything I was going to say.

    Also, I’m also in favor of setting up a Paypal account if the insurance doesn’t work out. Sure, some people might think you’re extorting money out of your loyal readers so you can get your car fixed for free, but some people were dropped on their heads as babies. We all want to help 😀

  16. Tough news steve. Not much more I can say that anyone hasn’t already said.

    Why not resurect the Swade to Sweden T-shirt project? You could come up with specific design for this situation – perhaps run a competition on here as you did for your number plates?

    I think theres a core group here who will pass the hat around out of goodwill given the chance and these probably another group who will happily contribute if a token like a t-shirt or cap is involved. I know the T-shirts aren’t a huge cash generators but it could help. Between the two you might at least get a reasonable start. Whats more, I think a lot of people will be annoyed if they CAN”T help. In a way, you kind of owe it to us loonies who log in here to be able to pay you back some and help get your wheels back on the road. Your Viggen is not only an Icon for Saab freaks, its pretty much an Icon for this site and what it stands for.

    Now, some slogans for the Special Edition FIX THE VIG t-shirts & caps:

    Its not a car – its a Viggen.

    I (Heart) Viggens

    Bring back the Viggen

    Saab Viggen. No, I can’t explain to you.

    Sorry, these are a bit lame but I hope you grasp the idea. Surely someone else out there can improve ? Someone who doesn’t have two youg children and didn’t just get up after the 300th consecutive night of broken sleep?

  17. Its how the insurance works, you got to be stronger…
    BTW I would be so sure that applying such logic would clear you when crashing while changing CD … if that CD was titled something like “driving lessons from a rally star” that can be used for motorsport … actually any driving except maybe moving in traffic jam could qualify that way … bullshit

    Anyway if its not about health its nothing. For example travel insurance for skiing is usally limited to marked tracks. Recently we had one medialized case of skier being thrown off track by collision with other one and hitting some rocks. Insurance company claimed he was skiing offtrack and therefore lying and paid nothing… the injury was off track and the wording in contract allowed such way out for the insurer.

  18. I would absolutely participate in the Pay Pal donation plan. I’ve stated on many occassions and repeat this again: the work that Swade does for all of us out of his hart and for the passion of the brand is unique. He deserves that we all chip in and help a Mate as he’s hurting at present. I can not imagine the state that I would be in if my 9-3 or 9-5 Aeros would be the way his Viggen is. It’s encouraging to read that most of us are getting together to ease the pain. Please post the details on where to send our contributions.

  19. Auto insurance companies here in Canada push ‘collision avoidance training’ on policy holders and said holders get a discount on their insurance for having completed such a course. Makes me think twice if this is the way they treat drivers who seek to improve their driving skills.

    Hang in there Swade, maybe the ombudsman will see things differently. 🙂

  20. I’ll gladly donate a monthly bus ticket and my old eucelele for busking purposes. Start preparing now my not washing or shaving for at least 30 days.

    DB

  21. Swade is not keen on a fighting fund so how about some good old advertising. Put on a rebuild the rebuild the Viggen project. Some guy built a house for FREE doing this on the web. Video the work being done to the car and the parts being used. Use this to get parts as cheaply (free) as possible. Make the project an icon of what a Viggen can be and a “brand ambassador” (terrible phrase). If GM / Saab are smart they would assist and use it to gain publicity like with the million mile Saab.

    Alternatively is there an Aussie “Pimp My ride”? Ok it might have a fish tank or something in the boot and chrome wheels but it might just work.

  22. I’m another who would be more than happy to donate Swade. The amount of effort you put into this site for us is immense, and as a thank you, and as a mate as we all see you, there are those of us who are more than happy to help out.

  23. If swade expresses a wish not to receive donations I think it should be respected.

    Looking at this, it is nothing more than an accident with swade’s personal car and I understand if he wants to keep it “in house” even if it will be a financial barrier. Please respect whatever swade wants to do.

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