The Higher They Climb

Loss adjusting – specialising in construction and engineering claims – is a niche area of expertise. Or, as we like to call it, ‘niche-pertise’. Construction and engineering is our forte (as is making up nonsensical words) and we pride ourselves on that.

Because it is such a niche area, it’s not often that the general public are able to see high profile examples in the media. Just recently, however, a construction incident occurred in Sydney’s south which became front page news.

The incident in question? A crane toppled and crashed into the units of an apartment block in Wolli Creek, injuring three people. Emergency services evacuated the building and a number of other apartment blocks in the area out of fear that the collapsed crane could shift. For this crane, it was a case of high climb, hard fall.

Crane

Image: pexels.com

Fire and Rescue NSW Superintendent Josh Turner told the Huffington Post that “work is being done to assess the damage the crane has caused in the first instance and what work can be done to secure the crane — our priority here is no further risks to persons on the site or surrounding the site.”

So, in terms of insurance, what happens next? Well from a loss adjusting perspective, it might be a lengthy process to determine exactly what caused the collapse. For the loss adjusters, it will involve a thorough investigation of the circumstances, one or more site visits and a whole lot of data and material analysis.

Loss adjusting is about finding out the who, what, where, when and how of the incident. This can also involve a lot of interviewing and communicating with people who are involved in the claim. In the end, it’s about finding the correct answer as quickly and efficiently as the situation will allow.

Words by Skye Jamieson

Kiwi Crush

The bonds between Australia and New Zealand are much like those between siblings. Anyone who’s travelled to either country will know that there’s a near-constant battle for the title of the superior nation. New Zealanders love their ‘fush and chups’, their Jandals and their sheep. We Aussies love endearingly shortening words to things like ‘arvo’ and ‘servo’.

From the dawn of time, Kiwis and Aussies have made fun of each other’s accents. One-upping has become a national pastime. And sporting rivalries have escalated into a maelstrom of simmering resentment.

Naturally, this writer is slightly biased.

New Zealand

Point New Zealand. Image: pexels.com

Australia and New Zealand have a lot of shared history together. Beneath the friendly banter and sledging about sport, there’s a strong familial love. We stand with one another in times of hardship. It’s always nice to check in once and a while. For starters, they may be gaining a new citizen – Barnaby Joyce.  But overall, it seems that New Zealand is still reeling from the storms and natural disasters that ravaged the country in recent months.

Storms that tore through parts of the South Island in July have resulted in tens of millions of dollars’ worth of damage, contributing to a US$10 billion damage bill for the Australia Pacific region, according to a report from Insurance Business. Thousands of New Zealand residents were evacuated, with emergency declarations made across five council areas. In addition, hundreds of homes and buildings suffered damage from the impact of the storm.

New Zealand is also still recovering from the 2016 Kaikoura earthquake. The Earthquake Commission revealed that sixty-two per cent of building claims have had their initial assessment completed. The report from Insurance Business says that the insurance focus had been on areas that were hardest hit – Marlborough, Kaikoura and Hurunui.

While New Zealand has had a rough couple of months, Australia will be standing right behind them. We’ve got a rivalry with our neighbours that will probably go on forever. Although we have our differences as countries, we’re both completely unique to anywhere else in the world.

Words by Skye Jamieson

Sleep Thought

It’s something that we do every night – sometimes without trying, and sometimes after a long struggle. Sleep is something that we all need, but often don’t get enough of. And it’s having an impact on our workplaces. Lack of sleep is considered one of the greatest contributors to lost working hours in Australia.

Add on to that the high rate of sleep disorders, such as sleep apnoea and insomnia, and we’re looking at a serious problem.

It can be frustrating trying to get some Z’s, and it’s easy to slip into what’s known as the ‘worry cycle’. Lying there, wide awake in the dark, you become hyperaware of your inability to sleep. This creates a feeling of anxiety that you won’t get to sleep. Rinse and repeat. It’s a vicious cycle. Luckily, inc. has some suggestions for those who become overwhelmed with life decisions and mental challenges right before bedtime.

sleep

Image: Hernan Sanchez on Unsplash

Avoid Blue Light

Exposure to blue light from electronics and mobile phones can have a severe impact on your REM cycle and make it a lot harder to fall asleep. Try and avoid using your phone before bed.

Avoid Caffeine

Caffeine, in the form of coffee, tea or energy drinks, can impact your ability to fall asleep. You should try and stop drinking caffeinated drinks around 3 – 4 hours before bed.

Create Routine

This one may seem too good to be true – but our bodies love routine. Try to go to bed at the same time each night and importantly, wake up at the same time each morning. This can make a huge difference within weeks.

These small changes could drastically reduce the chances of you falling asleep at your desk. More sleep means more productivity and focus in the workplace and a healthier and happier you.

Words by Skye Jamieson

Insurance Obsolete?

It’s the news that has the entire office talking. No, it’s not the fact that there’s only TWO Tim Tams left in the jar (although that topic has been a major talking point). It’s the news that was recently received, in article form, from Insurance Business. According to their sources, insurance could soon become obsolete.

I’ll give you a second to pick your jaw up off the floor. Believe us, the news was shocking to us as well. See, to a loss adjusting company, insurance is pretty important. You could even say it’s integral to our existence. So what exactly is the reasoning behind this alarming statement?

Obsolete

Image: pexels.com

According to Nick Spooner of PwC, insurtech is rapidly changing the insurance industry. So much so that he foresees a day where people’s lives are so safe – due to increased technology – that insurance won’t be necessary. It’s all do with the Internet of Things – smart, connected devices that can exchange data. A smart water heater, for example, could recognise a potential rupture before any damage occurs, meaning no need for a claim.

And while he could be right, we’re hoping that insurance won’t be rendered obsolete any time soon. The market for many types of insurance, including life and health insurance, remains strong. And after all, technology stands little chance against natural disasters such as floods, fires and cyclones. Our technology may be ‘smart’, but it’s certainly not smart enough to prevent unavoidable events. Insurance is necessary because the unexpected does happen and things do go wrong. And FT Adjusting loss adjusters will be there when it does.

Words by Skye Jamieson

Up Close and Personal

Life can sometimes make you feel like you’re a tiny, insignificant cog in a well-oiled machine. You might spend hours waiting patiently in a queue, or enduring classical music on hold. You might cross every ‘t’ and dot every ‘i’ while filling out paperwork. After a while, these processes can become very tedious. And this is particularly true for the processes involved in the insurance industry.

Insurance can be a minefield of fine print, confusing clauses and long waiting periods. For customers, this can be pretty frustrating. And according to an article from Insurance Business, the model will have to change if insurance companies want to keep up with (and keep) customers.

The chief technology officer at SSP, Kevin Gaut, believes the insurance industry needs to utilise personalisation when interacting with customers.  But what exactly is personalisation, and how does it work?

Personalisation

Image: pexels.com

Personalisation is the tailoring or customisation of a service or product to a specific individual. Let’s say, for example, that I’ve recently binge watched an unhealthy number of seasons of ‘House of Cards’ on Netflix. Netflix then uses this data, and a complex algorithm, to personalise my subsequent viewing options. I’m probably going to see similar shows, such as ‘Suits’ and ‘Narcos’, in my suggested viewing section – because Netflix thinks I will enjoy them.

So how can this apply to insurance? According to Gaut, the best option is to start small with personalisation. It might be a service that allows customers to see their documents online through a secure portal. It could be through push messages, or even product lines that customers can self-serve. As the industry moves away from the traditional, it’s about allowing customers to be in control. The end goal is that customers feel less like an insignificant cog, and more like a steering wheel.

 

Words by Skye Jamieson

Dress to Impress

First impressions can be everything – especially when it comes to your outfit. A crinkled shirt or messy tie can make or break a prospective employer’s first impression. You could be one mustard stain away from sinking that job interview.

In the business world, suits are staples. But here at the FT Adjusting office, we tend to keep things relaxed. In our office, every day is casual Friday. There’s no two-piece suit and definitely no ties. And we’re on the path to the future, according to an article by Inc. Goldman Sachs, it says, has relaxed its dress code policy in the hope of attracting young tech talent.

Dress

Image: pexels.com

Millennials thrive off immediacy and the fast-pace exchanging of information. For us, it’s less about looking sharp in a suit and more about achieving goals and optimising productivity levels. And yes, that may be with the assistance of a mobile device. We’re not perfect. So can a relaxed dress code really attract more Millennials? Time will tell for Goldman Sachs. According to the article, the change is one of the first to be made by the bank’s chief information officer Elisha Wiesel.

In our office (although the Millennials are severely outnumbered), the relaxed dress code has garnered no complaints. I, for one, would be much more at ease spilling my $18 avocado toast on casual Friday clothes rather than an Armani suit. Here’s hoping this change is here to stay.

Words by Skye Jamieson

Adjuster vs. Assessor

At the ripe old age of eighty-seven, Michelangelo wrote ‘ancora imparo’ – I am still learning. Despite his age, the celebrated and largely self-taught sculptor, painter and inventor believed that learning is a never-ending adventure. It’s a mindset that is certainly inspirational, especially in the FT Adjusting office. Knowledge, and any form of learning, should not be restricted by time, and certainly not age.

Which is why I was chuffed to stumble upon a crucial titbit of information about loss adjusting. Admittedly, I am a little ashamed of discovering this after working in a loss adjusting office for almost five months. But alas, ancora imparo!

assessor

Image: pixabay.com

The fun fact of the day is that a loss adjuster and a loss assessor are two very different titles. While I’ve been blogging away at my desk happily believing that the two terms are interchangeable, I’ve recently been informed of the fundamental differences in the roles. By this stage, I’m quite familiar with the role of a loss adjuster. So how exactly are they different?

Loss Adjuster vs. Loss Assessor

First and foremost, a loss adjuster acts on behalf of an insurance company. The loss adjuster advises the insurers whether the claim is covered under the policy, how much the claim is worth, and how the claim should be settled.

A loss assessor, on the other hand, acts exclusively for the client. The role of a loss assessor is to represent the client through all aspects of the claims process, including negotiation and settlement of a claim.

So, while the labels are extremely similar, the roles of a loss adjuster and a loss assessor couldn’t be more opposite. Or rather, they’re more like two sides of the same coin. Based on the long hours the loss adjusters spend at the FT Adjusting office, they’re definitely masters of their craft.

Words by Skye Jamieson

Selfie Esteem

If a picture is worth a thousand words, then what’s a selfie worth? Well, our selfies could be worth a lot more to insurance companies in the near future. According to an article from The Sydney Morning Herald, a selfie could become the new way to obtain life insurance.

In the United States, new technology in the form of artificial intelligence is being developed that could analyse a selfie in about as much time as it takes to take one. It works by scanning an applicant’s driver’s licence photo against a selfie taken by the applicant. The software can tell a lot about us – for example, our age, body mass index and even if we’re a smoker by the lines on our faces. Getting away with a low insurance premium with a few little white lies might be a thing of the past.

selfie

Image: pexels.com

It’s estimated that the technology could speed up the process of buying life insurance, with no need for a medical examination. But the technology could raise quite a few ethical concerns, such as privacy. According to the article, the biggest disruption of all could be if the technology and the results were made available to individuals.

Although the technology is pretty ground-breaking at the moment, it’s still in its early stages of development. In the meantime, we can safely embrace our Snapchat filters and pout to our heart’s content.

Words by Skye Jamieson

The A-Team

Ever watch the series The IT Crowd? Then you’ll know how seriously some bosses can take teamwork. There’s a great skit where the boss (Denholm) fires an entire floor of workers for not working as a team. He then threatens to fire the security team escorting them from the building if they themselves fail to work as a team. Well, although our boss Ian is pretty passionate about teamwork, he’s not quite on that level (yet).

Loss adjusting requires a lot of independent site visits, in-depth analysis and detailed report writing. It requires good self-management skills as you can often be swamped with multiple claims at once. But teamwork and communication are integral in the office. Whether it’s working together on a claim or seeking advice from a co-worker, there’s always a need for communication.

teamwork

Image: pexels.com

On a slightly-related note, there’s an insurance team in America that’s totally got the grasp of the whole teamwork thing. Their company is making ripples in the insurance world – and for a good reason. Capitol Special Risks is a unique insurance company that is entirely female-run and female-staffed. And in the male-dominated industry, that’s no easy feat.

According to an article from Insurance Business, the company doesn’t go out of their way to try and be all-female. In fact, they try and promote diversity on all levels. At one point the company employed three male staff members, but they all moved on.

It just goes to show that there are still a lot of challenges facing women in insurance. Company president and co-founder of Capitol Special Risks, Dorothea Westin, even admits that they lost a lot of business in the early days “because there wasn’t a man leading the company.” These days, the company has found its niche and clients who share their vision.

Teams can come in all different shapes and sizes. But the most important thing about a team is that they do their work together.

Words by Skye Jamieson

Play That Funky Music

Here at FT Adjusting we have a pretty tight knit team. There’s just ten of us, to be precise. A team of ten, tackling the treacherous world of property damage, contract works, public and products liability and professional indemnity claims. Working in such a small team means that everyone gets to know each other quite well, and nothing is hidden behind closed doors. Seriously. My office doesn’t even have a door.

This sense of openness means that everyone’s happy to poke their heads in and have a chat. You can learn some interesting things, like the fact that our very own loss adjuster Zack is a huge fan of metal music. He’ll often plug his headphones in behind the desk and listen to some head-banging tunes. Zack says it helps with his concentration and focus.

Music

Image: pexels.com

Personally, I’m also a big fan of listening to music to help stay focused at work. There’s nothing like the dulcet tones and soothing synths of Enya to help you concentrate while registering claims and composing engaging and hilarious blog posts.

But recently I’ve been delving into something a little bit different. It’s the sound of The Avalanches. With samples weaved throughout the psychedelic melodies, it’s hard to pin it down to a genre. But let me tell you, it makes the perfect autumn playlist. It’s funky enough to make you want to have a boogie behind your desk while you’re filing invoices away. The only downside is the irresistible urge to keep turning the volume up. I’m in serious danger of not being able to hear the office phone ring over the music.

Words by Skye Jamieson