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

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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

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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

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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

A Sight for Sore Eyes

We’ve all been there. It’s Sunday night, the television has been blaring away for the last six hours and you’ve probably barely moved a muscle in the same amount of time. You’re deep in a Netflix binge. You might even be starting to get a crazed look in your screen-strained eyes. The only time you moved an inch was to grab the remote when Netflix had the audacity to ask if you were still watching. The message on the screen may as well have read, ‘Are you seriously up to season five already? Jesus Christ, take a look at yourself – you are covered in biscuit crumbs.’ Yes, I’m still watching. Stop judging me, Netflix.

Netflix

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Well, there’s good news for those of you who’ve been in a similar position (and if you say you haven’t, you need to stop lying to yourself). The insurer ahm has announced the launch of binge watching insurance with a new ad campaign targeting every day health problems, such as ‘too much tele neck’.

According to Insurance Business, the idea for the ad campaign came about in order to show the mundane nature of many health insurance claims, and was created by ad firm Clemenger BBDO. According to the advertising firm, the injuries aren’t really spectacular – just modern day scenarios that the dysfunctional general public can all relate to.

With the new season of Game of Thrones set to premiere in just over a month, you may as well start trying to get comfortable now.

Words by Skye Jamieson

Top of the Class

What a day…the sun is shining, the tank is clean. (THE TANK IS CLEAN!) But in all seriousness, Sydney has definitely put on a show for us today. And with some special visitors from Mecon Insurance in the office, we couldn’t be more excited. It’s always nice when old friends pop in for a cup of tea, a few slices of pizza and a chat about loss adjusting and insurance claims.

This got me thinking about our other friends around the country, and around the world. We’re a relatively small business, so we’re not always expecting to be the most popular kid in the class. We’re more like the kids who get invited to play a game of touch footy on the oval on occasion. But I did happen to stumble across a list compiled by Forbes labelling the world’s largest insurance companies. These companies are more like the prefects and school captains of the insurance world. These are the players at the top of the teacher’s list in class.

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The World’s Ten Largest Insurance Companies

  1. Ping An Insurance Group
  2. Allianz
  3. Axa Group
  4. Japan Post Holdings
  5. China Life Insurance
  6. Prudential
  7. Zurich
  8. Chubb
  9. AIA Group
  10. Munich Re

And there you have it. Specialising in claims arising from construction and engineering means we’re pretty niche. So we’re pretty content with being likened to that one kid in the class who loves playing with Lego, if it means we can use our particular set of skills to the best of our ability and excel in the loss adjusting industry.

Words by Skye Jamieson

Solar Coaster

Renewable energy is a pretty hot topic at the moment. The world is looking towards energy sources that don’t rely on fossil fuels. Late last month, Britain managed to fulfil all of its energy needs for 24 hours without coal for the first time since the industrial revolution 135 years ago. And what’s more, some of its energy supply was met with a mix of wind, biomass and imported energy. It’s always a great thing when sustainable energy is being talked about in the media and within different industries. I’m personally all for it. Tidal energy? It’s a current solution. Wind turbines? I’m a big fan.

energy

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The good news is there’s a trend in the US which could soon spread to other countries, including Australia. The big talking point is solar energy. For both the environment and for the construction insurance industry, there’s going to be some big changes. In an article from Insurance Business, it’s said that solar energy is one of the hottest things right now in the insurance world. Exponential growth over the last three years has led to over a billion dollars in solar panel sales every year for one particular client. Business seems to be particularly booming in states with lots of sunlight, like California and Arizona. And guess which country also has a big sunny backyard? That’s right, it’s us.

solar

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According to the article, a study released this year found that solar energy accounted for thirty nine per cent of new capacity additions across all fuel types in 2016. The article reports that “the biggest things threatening our world these days are energy demand and climate change – and solar and wind fit right into that model of improving both those things.” Hopefully the energy situation will begin to look up (without staring directly at the sun, of course). That’s the thing about our sun – without it, we’d be in the dark.

Words by Skye Jamieson

One Pay at a Time

‘Happy Equal Pay Day!’

You can just file that straight away under things you will probably never hear a woman say on April 4th.

Equal Pay Day was founded in 1996 to raise awareness about the disparity between men and women’s pay. Did you know that Equal Pay Day falls on a different day each year? It’s because the date is determined by when a man would have to start working in order to make a woman’s salary for that year. And that is one big chunk of time off.

But this day isn’t just important to women – it’s important to all of us. In Australia in 2015, women made up 45.6% of all employees. In 2016, the Sydney Morning Herald reported that women were still earning about 83c for every $1 a man earns. For young women just starting out in their careers, those few cents are especially important. Over the years they can add up to hundreds of thousands of lost dollars for women.

Pay

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So there’s still a lot of work to be done. The first step, says the report, is providing men and women with equal opportunity in education and training.

‘Policies ensuring women have more equal access to science, technology and health care training, targeted initiatives to encourage career development and pay negotiation, and programs that support care for children and the elderly can help address some of the root causes.’

At FT Adjusting, equality in the workplace is one of the values we cherish. However, it’s also the case that men far outnumber women in the loss adjusting industry and in the insurance industry in general.  For most workplaces, pay disparity is the elephant in the room that needs to be solved before anything else. It’s time to stop short-changing women.

Words by Skye Jamieson

Happy Hour

We’re about to turn over a new calendrical leaf, and hasn’t the start of this year just flown by! It’s almost time to say a teary farewell to the month of March, with its grey Sydney skies and unusually high amount of rainfall. And if the weather’s been getting you down and disturbing your productivity in the office, you’re probably not alone.

Luckily, the delightful realm of the internet is full of advice for situations just like these. Apparently, hidden beyond the cat videos and ‘dank’ memes, there also exists helpful life-hacks for creating a better workplace environment. A list of top tips has been compiled by Inc., and here’s a few of the best:

Light It Up

Productivity

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It may sound too good to be true, but psychologists say that ample access to sunlight can have a positive impact on an employee’s well-being. Throw open some windows, or even take a walk in the sunlight during your break. If that’s not an option (I’m looking at you, Sydney weather), try and shotgun that window desk. Studies show that employees who sit near a window show higher levels of productivity and are more motivated. Moving your co-worker’s possessions while they’re on a lunch break probably won’t win you any brownie points though.

Bring Sprinkles To Work

Productivity

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That’s right. Your eyes are not deceiving you. As well as helping employees relax and lifting the mood in the office, bringing your pet to work can also be advantageous for customer perceptions of the business. With Fido around the office, the company image is not only softened but is also more likely to be seen by customers as forward thinking and progressive.

Have A Snooze

Nap

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We’re not talking about bludging off here. Psychologists say that twenty to thirty minute naps allow employees to recharge and boost productivity. While most offices might have a long way to go, companies like Yahoo! actually encourage employees to visit local spas and sleep in private rooms, with aromatherapy and recordings of nature. Yes, really.

More tips for productivity and happiness include creating an office fitness program, listening to white noise and extending your goals to include work, family and personal life. So there you have it! Feel free to include those tips in the next office email or leave them surreptitiously placed around the office.

Words by Skye Jamieson

Talkin’ ‘Bout My Generation

Millennials are an elusive and enigmatic breed. You may have seen some in their natural habitat around The Grounds of Alexandria or pouting behind a selfie stick. But what do we really know about Millennials? For one, they seem to have an unhealthy obsession with smashed avocado, hipster cafes and anything made with soy. They also have a puzzling reluctance to enter the Sydney housing market. Ahh, nothing like a bit of generational scorn to get you through to the weekend…

This blogger is, admittedly, a Millennial through and through. Aside from the crushing student loan debts and crippling realisation that I may never own my own home, I can say that it definitely felt good to have a shelf full of participation trophies as a kid. But that’s not all folks. Apparently Millennials are predicted to have a greater impact on the insurance world than previously thought.

Millennials

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According to a report from Insurance News, Millennials will have a fundamental impact on product development in the insurtech (insurance technology) landscape. But how? I hear you ask. Well, it’s related to the ‘always online’ tendencies of Millennials and the expected change in consumer demands.

The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission warned that ‘not all the consequences of fast-moving technologies and digital disruption are positive for the people it aims to protect’. This makes the rise of insurtech a virtual inevitability. According to the report, technological innovations such as artificial intelligence, peer-to-peer insurance and robo-advice are likely to result in dramatic changes in the nature and type of risks covered. Changes in the relationship between insurers and policyholders will also likely occur.

Millennials are rarely seen without a phone in hand or internet enabled device within reach. As technology increasingly governs our lives, there may also be ‘issues concerning the use, ownership and protection of data.’

You heard it here first, baby boomers: although we may never own property or appreciate the value of hard work, we know you’ll be looking to us for tech advice pretty soon.  At least in the insurance world that is.

Words by Skye Jamieson

March Madness

It’s been a great start to the month of March with a flurry of activity in the insurance world. But what exciting events and changes lay ahead in the near distant future? Allow yourself to relax as you gaze deep into this crystal ball…

Crystal Ball

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With reports that the Australian economy has once again dodged recession with a reported 1.1 per cent growth in the December quarter, that’s good news for businesses all over Australia.

And while 1.1 per cent might not seem like anything to write home about (much less write a blog post about), insurance brokerage giant Jardine Lloyd Thompson (JLT) believes a market turn is imminent as the company itself reported a profit rise, writes Insurance Business. JLT predicts that the implementation of President Donald Trump’s new infrastructure policies will bring a boost to the building sector. In addition, JLT believes stable oil prices and a reduced cost of exploration are sure signs of an inevitable turn in the market.

So despite the dreary weather we’ve been having in Sydney this week, it’s time to break out the sunglasses because the future is looking bright! Here at FT Adjusting, I for one can strongly predict the event of pizza arriving at the office in the near future.

Words by Skye Jamieson