Back To Basics

Ian McWalter worked for Technical Assessing Pty Ltd from 1991 until he was one week shy of twenty years at the company. In 2011 he left to start FT Adjusting along with co-worker Lesley Thompson. It’s a company which specialises in Construction and Engineering claims arising under Contract Works, Professional Indemnity and Product and Public Liability policies.



Last week I was lucky enough to sit down with Director Ian to pick his brains and have a quick chat about FT Adjusting.

Is FT Adjusting very different from other loss adjusting companies?


Ian: As much as you might think, you’re never going to get total buy-in from everybody.  The best you can hope for, I think, is that if you can be five or ten percent different – that’s enough. To think that you’re going to be radically different doesn’t work, and never will.  What distinguishes people, companies et al, are generally small, but important things.

Ultimately, it’s really down to the individuals who work in the company and probably more so the people outside of the company who can comment on that. I can say that I’ve tried it run it in a slightly different manner; this is a very open, flat structure. It’s a small team, but companies – and certainly the people who run companies – have a tendency to want to keep all the information to themselves. This company has a total open book policy, warts and all – you don’t often find companies running on that basis.



What are some of the values that FT Adjusting promotes?


Ian: We try and promote transparency – try and promote that everybody’s in it together. It’s teamwork but there can also be a danger in overemphasis on teamwork; as an individual you have to be responsible for yourself and your actions.  Similarly with competitiveness – there’s no point in being competitive within your own organisation, because you’re placing your competitiveness in the wrong place.

The one thing I’d say is, having worked in a corporate organisation for eleven years, in a small private practice for twenty years and in my own business for five years and a half years, I can say that I work twice as hard for half as much in my own business, but I’m twice as happy.

Thoughts by Ian McWalter

Words by Skye Jamieson

Ich möchte mich kurz vorstellen!

After spending one year studying abroad in Cologne, Germany, and after much travelling and beer drinking, I have made the difficult decision to come back to the real world of offices and paperwork as the new social media manager at FT Adjusting!

Very much looking forward to sharing with you all my love of pizza parties and eccentric ramblings: but here’s hoping that such an extended period of time living amongst Germans hasn’t dulled my sense of humour.

German Trumpet


Ich möchte mich kurz vorstellen – I’d like to quickly introduce myself! I’m currently completing a Bachelor of Communications and International Studies; I have recently rediscovered my love for all things Vegemite and am entirely obsessed with Border Collie puppies.

I would like to thank the team at FT Adjusting for their warm welcome and am looking forward to what’s next. I would also like to say a big thank you to Jenny and we wish her every success in her future endeavours!

Words by Skye Jamieson

So Long, Farewell

291 days ago, I said ‘hello’ and introduced myself on the blog as an expert Googler and lover of Tim Tams. Today, I say ‘goodbye’ in my final post as FT Adjusting’s Social Media Manager.

291 days (or 41 weeks and 4 days) is only 79.73% of a year. However, when you think of it as 6,984 hours, or 419,040 minutes, or 25,142,400 seconds, it sounds a little more impressive. All this is to say that, despite having worked at FTA for less than a year, I feel like I’ve been here for much longer.

It’s a true testament to the welcoming and supportive staff at FTA that the decision to leave has been so difficult. However, with no more studying and full time working life ahead of me, it’s time to hand over the reins and do what my wonderful co-workers have always encouraged me to do: follow the path that’s right for me.

So thanks to Ian, Lesley, Simon, Teddy, Richard, Ben, Geoffrey, Zack and Shay, for making me feel like part of the family. And thanks to the people who’ve read my blog posts and Tweets from week to week. I’m excited to announce that our new Social Media Manager will be making her debut on Thursday! I’m sure you’ll get along great and she’ll bring you plenty of great content.

But from me, it’s auf wiedersehen and good night!

Sound of Music kids


Words by Jenny Ryan

New Kid on the Block

Have you met Shay? He’s our latest Cadet Loss Adjuster and he’s been settling into life at FTA for about a month now. Shay has been studying Civil Engineering at UNSW and, now that the semester’s over, he’s been spending a lot more time around here. The perfect opportunity to ambush surprise him with a little Q&A! Here are his first impressions of loss adjusting and FTA in general.

Civil engineering students basically have three avenues: work in construction, on the commercial side, or in design and consulting. Although I found elements of all three quite interesting, what interested me the most was the commercial side where you’re dealing with claims and project costs. You’re still seeing a lot of design and construction, because you go onsite and do inspections. So when I was reading this job advertisement, it ticked all the boxes for me. I saw a lot of opportunities to get my foot in the industry and get a feel for the different parts of it.

Name tag


A day in the life of a loss adjuster is pretty varied: you don’t know whether you’ll be at the office doing desktop reviews or going onsite. I really like that. I did a lot of shadowing for the first couple of weeks, and since then I’ve been able to do a few desktop reviews by myself. For me to be able to prepare reports of my own is pretty rewarding. Learning not only about engineering and construction, but also about insurance, has been a challenge – but once you see how things come together and relate, it becomes a lot easier. Learning about two different industries and seeing how they merge together has been the most interesting thing for me.

Everybody here is really friendly. The fact that we have regular meetings is quite good – waking up early can be a stretch, but when you get here and see everybody and how lively they are (even on the slower days) it’s worth it. And the fact that you can knock on anybody’s door and chat to them – it’s really cool to have an abundance of information at your fingertips.

Shaymal Chand

Shaymal Chand, Cadet Loss Adjuster extraordinaire!

I’d definitely recommend a loss adjusting cadetship! The extent of my recommendation spans beyond people who are doing engineering; I’d recommend this role to people in construction and project management, and law students as well. It gives you a great background in different claims and circumstances where insurance policies, law and construction methods all come in. For anybody interested in those things, I’d recommend it for sure.

Opinions by Shaymal Chand; words by Jenny Ryan

Harping On

The FTA team are a people of many talents, and not all of them related to loss adjusting. It’s like Winston Churchill said: ‘The cultivation of a hobby and new forms of interest is a policy of first importance to a public man’. Well, I’m not sure about the ‘public’ part, and I certainly wouldn’t restrict this to men alone, but the point still stands. It’s good to do a wide range of things with your free time!

It may surprise you to know that our esteemed office manager, Lesley, is a harpist. She’s been learning to play since January and, for the past eight months, has been eagerly awaiting the arrival of a custom-made instrument. Feast your eyes, Internet!

Lesley's new harp

The spiffiest harp around.

I mean, it’s purple. Purple. What’s not to love?

Lesley was practically dancing out of the office on her way to collect her new harp. Like most things in life, I’ve been assured that it’s only going to get better with age.

Lesley can tell you a lot about harps: hers is electric, for instance. I didn’t even know you could get electric harps, but apparently they’re great! I also learnt that harps don’t have to be made out of wood – carbon fibre is another option. A big selling point of that is the weight, since carbon fibre is a lot lighter than wood. However, Lesley prefers the sound quality of a wooden harp to anything else.



So there you have it: Christmas has come early for one Lesley Thompson. We’ve always said that our staff members have diverse backgrounds, skills and experiences, and in fact we encourage it. Variety is the spice of life and keeps us well-rounded and satisfied human beings. Those are the sort of people you want to work with!

Words by Jenny Ryan

Bravo, Ben! (2/2)

If you recall, way back in July we featured this post about good ol’ Ben Chang. You might also recall that we were congratulating him for winning the Carey Bird Scholarship for the best essay on a hypothetical claims scenario.

Well, fast forward two months, and Ben now has the coveted scholarship in his possession! The little birdy (i.e. Ian) is back at it again, informing me that on Tuesday 20 September Mr Chang attended the 10th Claims Convention (CC16) at the Sofitel. This is the leading insurance claims event in Australasia, co-hosted by AICLA and ANZIIF. And it’s where Ben was officially presented with the Carey Bird Scholarship 2016 by AICLA’s president, Michael Collins.

Ben Chang with Michael Collins (President, AICLA).

Ben Chang with Michael Collins (President, AICLA).

You don’t need a certificate, however, to be a valued member of FTA’s team. Congratulations once again, Ben, on this well-deserved award. We know you still have that trip to Bali for the Asian Claims Convention to look forward to, but in the meantime, enjoy the kudos!

Words by Jenny Ryan

First for Fiji!

Remember when I said that FTA has some pretty great staff members? Well, Teddy is no exception, and he had some pretty cool news for us the other day.

You’ve probably heard the recent news about Fiji’s rugby team: they defeated the Brits 43–7 to claim their first ever Olympic gold. An historic moment! But it’s not just their performance on the field that has everyone’s attention. As Teddy explained:

The team received their gold medal from Princess Anne with humbleness and humility never before seen in any Olympic sport. As Princess Anne stood before each player, they would kneel down on both knees and bow their head to receive their medal, which is a traditional way of showing respect.

Fiji's rugby team receives medals from Princess Anne


Needless to say, this has earned the admiration of many. But Teddy has another reason to be excited: one of the players is also one of his villagers!

He grew up on my Island with nothing more in his life than the desire to play for Fiji. He moved to the mainland and was working on a sugar cane farm, cutting sugar cane and watching aeroplanes fly overheard. I remember he asked me about where those planes were flying to, and what it may feel like flying in them. I knew at that point in time the skills he had playing rugby, and today he plies his trade as a professional rugby player in France who has amassed the highest number of tries in his club. He is a beast on the field, knocking over would-be tacklers like ten pin bowling. In my last conversation with him before he flew to Rio, I said to him, ‘Well, remember you used to ask me where planes flew…’ His response: ‘Maaan, now I’m sick of flying everywhere!’

So there you have it: FTA has a roundabout connection to this year’s Olympics. Huge congratulations to Fiji (and thanks to Teddy for sharing this great story)!

Bravo, Ben! (1/2)

You know, there are some pretty spiffy people who work around here. Take Ben Chang, for instance. In addition to being a swell guy (as is everyone around here, really), he’s also a dab hand at this loss adjusting thing. And now, he’s got the scholarship to prove it!

A little birdy told me (i.e. Ian dobbed him in) that Ben was recently awarded the Carey Bird Scholarship by AICLA. This is an annual award that asks candidates to assess a scenario – this year it was a material damage case – and pen a response to it. It just so happens that this is another one of those things Ben is good at. So it’s not surprising that he entered and came out on top!

Fist pump!


Ben informs me that he now gets to go to Bali for the Asian Claims Convention; AICLA’s website informs me that he’ll also get a framed certificate. You can judge for yourself which of those is the more exciting prize!

Congratulations, Ben – we had no doubts you could do it and we’re all very happy for (and proud of) you!  Enjoy your well-deserved trip!

Words by Jenny Ryan

Richard Kranz

FT Group are excited to announce another addition to our team.

Richard Kranz, a mechanical engineer specialising in machinery breakdown, will be joining us at the beginning of May 2016.

Richard has a Bachelor of Engineering (Mechanical), was a Marine Engineer (Royal Australian Navy), is an ANZIIF Senior Associate, a fellow of the AICLA and is a certified insurance professional.

He has experience handling a range of complex claims relating to machinery and engineering losses. Examples include power stations, motors, transformers, generators and air conditioning plants. Richard has also been an expert witness in several marine and engineering matters.

We are looking forward to him joining our team.

FTAnnouncement: Welcoming Simon Hovian

FT Adjusting is excited to announce that Simon Hovian, former National Manager of Construction and Engineering at Crawford & Company, will be joining our offices in the New Year.

Simon specialises in Contract Works claims, and has been in the insurance industry for fifteen years. His background in engineering and vast work in the field means that he brings with him an astute knowledge of the market and a great capacity to mentor our loss adjusters.

We often talk about the value of experience, and in Simon’s case, his portfolio speaks for itself. Through operating both in the insurance world and closely with the construction industry on certain jobs, Simon has demonstrable expertise in this category of claims.

With the addition of Simon to the team, FTA has consolidated its position in respect to construction and engineering claims in the construction liability (public and products liability and professional indemnity) and contract works areas. We are now the largest specialist claims provider in this area in Australia.

We are looking forward to Simon’s arrival.