You have many different items here.
First, is it just your opinion that the materials or items are cheaper? Second, under whose direction are the items being replaced?
Third, you may need to review your documents again. The fact that the association has coverage does not mean that they HAVE to file a claim. Under most documents, the Association is named as "attorney in fact" regarding the insurance matters. Unless individual homeowners are responsible for the deductible (and even if they are, it is not a good idea) they cannot and should not be filing the claims. Most agents won't allow it, because the board is the duly elected persons responsible for these decisions.
Maybe the restoration is under or near the deductible. For example, if you have a $2,500 deductible and the damages are estimated at $3,000 I would advise not filing a claim. Taking the hit on your loss history is not worth $500.
Most documents have a reconstruction and repair section, near the insurance. Often people read the insurance section and not the reconstruction and repair, or vice versa. You need to read both. However, in most cases they both read that it must be restored to condition "as good as existing prior to or before the damage."
Before you make claims, why don't you meet with your board?
I have to say that if the manager isn't being communicative with you, part of this is his or her fault. If they are telling you and you're not listening because you think it is wrong or not up to standard, then you (or the homeowner) bear responsibility. Of course, this doesn't mean that the board can withhold the name of the insurance company. Most documents state that homeowners have access to records during normal business hours. Every homeowner should have access to the name of the insurance company. Often, lenders want this information and you have to have it for your mortgage. You are paying for it and entitled to it. That doesn't mean that homeowners have the right to file claims. Those rights you give up when you move into a condo or other similar property situations with legal documents defining how these issues are handled.
If the homeowner doesn't think that the board is doing the right thing, they should file a claim with their own insurance or contact an attorney.
Sounds like plenty of blame to go all around. Let me say that being nice goes a long way toward getting things done right than being confontational. That doesn't mean anyone should give up their rights - just be nice and be reasonable.
It may be a good idea to call a meeting and vote on this. Also get other opinions as to the quality of the material. Many times it may look fine but just be less expensive.As long as it does the job that is the important thing. Sometimes it is not worth it to call the insurance company.In this case you lose out.
Also people should work together and not argue over stuff like that.Taking a vote will make everyone feel involved and speed up the process of getting the needed repairs accomplished. In a case like this keep in mind that we are dealing with people who have feelings and opinions.Everyone has a right to speak their mind on the matter. I myself would not involve the insurance company in this case but I would certainly not decide this on my own. Mari
According to your bylaws what qualifies "equal to or better than..."? What verbiage comes after better than? If you have a water damaged floor, for instance, is the replacement floor supposed to be equal to or better than the original floor the builders put in or a flooring that you installed that may be a much greater replacement cost than the builder's floor? Such a case happened at our association. The builder's flooring would have cost approximately $5,000 to replace but the homeowner had installed flooring that would have cost $9,000 to replace. The board didn't think the other homeowners should cover the excess $4,000 so we asked that the owner of the damaged unit get their own insurance to cover the $4,000. They did get their insurance to do that. Maybe that is an option for you.