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Fire behind the refrigerator…
...exploding water heater…
...and wasps inside the roof!
What really happened at Brits house?


Why national insurance deals matters to Brit and Lene

Why are national agreements with insurance companies so great for both home owner Brit, and Lene – Norway's friendliest painter. Also: What is a “pink elephant”?

For soon to be 50 years Brit Gill has lived under the same roof, in the same beautiful modernist house in Stavanger. During this time, Brit – a lively lady and a retired technical illustrator – has had several craftspeople repairing damages inside the home she designed herself in 1975. One of them has been Lene Sørø. A young lady with a pierced nose and chin who works at H&M Malerservice in Stavanger and who was recently awarded the title of Norway's friendliest painter.

Lene has painted Brit’s walls, cabinets and ceilings so many times, she is basically a family member and trusted with the keys to Brit’s white two-floor house on a little green hill.

– Oh, yes, I have been here before, laughs Lene, as she walks into the kitchen in full painter outfit, and sits down to grab a cup of coffee. 

Because how many times has Brit had insurance damage on her hands? 


The first thing that happened was a bathtub running over on the second floor. It resulted in something looking like Niagara Falls, rushing down to the first floor. 

– All the walls were moist, at least one meter up and everything needed replacing and repainting, Brit says. 

Years later, a defective water heater exploded. And recently, an American refrigerator suddenly caught fire – and then, there was this one summer in 2012 when Brit came home from a holiday. Walking into the living room she was met by a big surprise at the corner of the padded ceiling.

– It was bending its way down like draped curtains, just above the fireplace, says Brit.

Being a mid-century modernist house, the roof was obviously flat, but the actual problem was the outside roof drainage system stuffed with leaves and branches from all the west coast weather. After several days of heavy rain the indoor ceiling buckled under the weight of the sudden pond on the roof. The water was left to find its own way down to earth, and quickly did.  

– The situation needed a rapid solution, says Brit.

But then someone discovered a so-called “pink elephant”.

“The client will be able to receive a quick, professional and smooth job without all the waiting.”



The “pink elephant” will be handled quickly

When someone at Håndverksgruppen talks about a pink elephant, they mean something in the way of “an unforeseen problem in a room or house that comes as a surprise to the team who are going to rescue the home from its current crisis”.

The “elephant” arrives suddenly and without warning. Sometimes in the form of a parrot. Imagine arriving ready to paint only to find a real life caged bird that needs to be taken care of and removed, before any surface treatment can start. 

Nobody told you it was there.

Or maybe works of art worth thousands of euros that must be taken down and stored. This kind of surprise delaying the time schedule for when the customer can expect to move back home, is typical of insurance cases. And it always threatens to leave homeowners in the dark about when they can move back home or get back to normal. Insurance claims need a team with a certain routine. It needs people who routinely deal with the unexpected “pink elephants”. 

– That is why having national agreements with insurance companies is so great for HG. Other than always having stabile business rolling in, because damages will happen everywhere all the time, we also become very professional in handling these types of cases, and will therefore spot the pink elephant quickly, and do something about it, so the client will be able to receive a quick, professional and smooth job without waiting extra days or even months, says insurance manager at H&M Malerservice, Elisabeth Endresen.



  • National deals ensure steady work for local craftspeople.
  • Complex, small tasks turn profitable via routine.
  • Ensures premier service and code-compliant remodels.
  • Fosters effective collaboration among all participants.
  • Easier communication with a single contact point for each customer. 


The surprising wasps in the roof  

In Brits' case, she did not have to move out, but they did find a huge nest of wasps inside the roof after removing the damaged parts. Due to severe allergies a single sting would threaten Brits life. The wasps needed to go. Fast! This discovery was a classic “pink elephant” and obviously had an effect on the time schedule and the progress. But it was dealt with quickly. 

– The whole team which is needed in order to put a home back in shape after an accident, knows what to do, when to do it, how to do it, what tools to use and how to communicate with the client. All thanks to the national agreements we have with insurance companies all over the country, says Elisabeth. 

The nest was taken out, the water drained, the roof dried, a new roof put back and two sparkling new layers of paint was given the new flat living room ceiling in the end.


“Look at this! It's totally black”, Lene said.
Finally the insurance company agreed to listen to Lene.

Lene knows what should be included or not

Brit, and everyone who has home insurance in Norway, will – thanks to HG’s national agreements with the largest insurance companies in the country – have the opportunity to receive local craftspeople in a quick fashion. Since surface companies within Håndverksgruppen are located in many, many towns from North to South. Having someone who knows both the area, roads, language, the collaborating companies, damage control partners, and have knowledge on where to find everything without any hassle, is important. That is also why Brit loves working with Lene. 

– She does a really good job, is on time, cleans up after herself and is efficient with her time. She does not leave a job half done, and shows quality all the way. I basically don't want to let anyone else work inside my home now, says Brit.




– Lene is also a great communicator. I can disagree about what should be fixed, and she will explain and I trust her reasoning for what should and could be included or not. She was especially wonderful to collaborate with after the refrigerator suddenly caught fire recently, says Brit. 

– Oh! What happened? 

– I had dinner with my son and suddenly he said he could hear a sound, then we saw flames coming out from the back of the refrigerator. We managed to kill the fire, and stop the water that was flowing because of the plug connected to the ice machine. That is why the insurance company meant this damage was water related, but I clearly thought it was fire related. I mean, the whole wall behind the refrigerator, the ceiling above it and the two sides of the kitchen cabinets were totally black from soot and quite damaged, says Brit and looks at Lene with a smile. 

– And that is when you arrived! 



The little extra: A hunt for the right shade of color

Brit gets up from her chair in excitement. 

– I remember it clearly! You said: “Look at this! It's totally black. It needs to be painted!”. And that is how the insurance company agreed to listen to her. So she knows what needs to be done. That gives me peace, says Brit. 

To find the correct light, clear peach shade of the kitchen cabinets, prefabricated by a kitchen producer 25 years ago, Lene brought with her a piece of the cabinet to her store, where she after several tests managed to find the exact same color palette. Lene even gave a small box of the right color to Brit, in case she would need it for some small corrections in the future. 

– These are examples of something I myself, and everyone who works at HG, are able to do, because of the national agreements we have. We all get the same professional training, says Lene. 

– Honestly, it gives me a feeling of being able to help our clients the best way possible. Because quite often many people think a damage means they get to repaint the whole house “for free”. Which is rarely the case, but to correct any damaged color, a situation caused by an accident, we will always handle with a smile.