Waffling On

If there’s one thing the staff at the FT Adjusting office can testify to, it’s the fact that food can be a great motivator. In the kitchen, we’re lucky enough to have a bottomless supply of Tim Tams and Mint Slices. But there’s also the added bonus of our monthly pizza parties and spontaneous cake days. All those treats makes for one productive and happy team of loss adjusters.

So it’s not too surprising that Belgium has taken up a similar tactic of culinary persuasion. According to a report from Insurance Business, Belgium’s deputy director of economic and financial policy reporting used their famous Belgian waffles to lure insurers. The temptation tactics also included the country’s strong regulatory regime and its high quality beer.

waffles

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The waffles might just be making an impact on insurers after QBE announced plans to expand their Brussels branch, establishing the Belgian capital as its new EU base. Belgium is hoping that similar moves from more insurance companies will lead to big operations in the long run.

While we’ve got enough tea and biscuits to sink a ship, we can’t help but enviously daydream over the thought of fresh Belgian waffles on a cold winter’s morning. Maybe there’s some truth in the saying after all – the way to a loss adjuster’s heart is through the stomach.

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

Expectations vs. Reality

Loss adjusting can be a difficult profession to understand. Even the name itself doesn’t give much away. When I first applied for the position at FT Adjusting, I had to google ‘loss adjuster’ to find out exactly what I was getting myself into. And after speaking with some of the staff around the office, I now know that I was not alone in my ignorance.

It turns out that most people about to enter the industry have very different expectations of what loss adjusting is, compared to the reality of the profession. Shay, our Cadet loss adjuster, admits that he didn’t really know what loss adjusting was until he googled it prior to applying for the position. Even then, he says, the explanation wasn’t clear and was very different to the reality. Tunnel vision is something that can happen in a lot of professions, so in order to get the most out of loss adjusting, Shay says that you need to have an open mind the entire time.

reality

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Zach agrees, saying that unless you know someone in the industry or work in the industry yourself, most people wouldn’t know what a loss adjuster is. Geoffrey is of the same mindset, as he says that understanding the industry is the key to knowing the reality of what a loss adjuster does.

So what is the reality of loss adjusting?

That’s a good question. A loss adjuster investigates and settles insurance claims on behalf of insurance companies. It involves finding out the details of a claim or incident – that’s the who, what, when, where and how. This usually happens by going on site and meticulously inspecting details, communicating with people and analysing all the available data and figures.

Phew, glad we got that one sorted. For some of you, this information might be completely out of your comfort zone. But for the staff here at FT Adjusting, it’s just another day at the office.

Words by Skye Jamieson

Burnout Balance

It can happen to us all – the weeks start adding up, the to-do list starts getting longer and suddenly you find yourself standing before a mountain of work. And despite all your tiresome efforts, the mountain only seems to get bigger and bigger as the days go on. Then you might find you’re having more trouble than usual falling asleep and staying asleep.

Things start to pile up. Soon enough, that mountain starts to take the shape of Mount Doom. You’re drained, both physically and mentally. Sort of like Frodo.

This exhaustion is called burnout and it’s pretty common. According an article from Insurance Business, burnout is a state of emotional, mental and physical exhaustion caused by excessive and prolonged stress. Burnout can seriously impact on your work performance and on your quality of life. It’s important to recognise some of the main triggers of burnout in the workplace. Because not all of us have a Sam to carry us up the slopes of Mount Doom.

Burnout

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Six typical drivers of burnout in business:

  • Over-committing – there’s only so much you can do in a day.
  • Avoiding – sometimes we need to make those tough decisions as soon as they arise.
  • Poor execution – as they say, failing to plan is planning to fail.
  • Aiming for perfection – no one and no business is perfect, and that’s okay.
  • Work-life imbalance – we all need time away from work to recharge.
  • Worry and regret – the worry cycle can quickly get out of control.

Knowing these key triggers of burnout may be the solution to avoiding it altogether. And if you’re currently in a state of burnout, knowing these tips might be the key to overcoming it, or ridding yourself of that burdensome One Ring in the fires of Mount Doom for good.

Words by Skye Jamieson

Adjuster’s Justice

In the Great Pyramid of careers, loss adjusting is a pretty niche field of work in itself. There’s a whole list of claims that loss adjusters can handle, including motor vehicle, personal injury and professional negligence claims. Then, on top of that, you have us. We’re pretty much as niche as you can be, because we only specialise in claims relating to construction and engineering. We’re a small business, but the members of our elite team are pretty great. There are some key areas that a loss adjuster has to excel in, in order to be the best at their job.

adjusters

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Top 3 Requirements for Loss Adjusters:

  • Loss adjusters are constantly communicating with different parties, including through interviewing, so it’s very important that a loss adjuster knows what to say and how to say it.
  • Loss adjusters need to be more on the ball than Sherlock in terms of their detective work. Loss adjusting involves going on site visits to review every minute detail of a claim.
  • Loss adjusters need to be masters at analysing their collected data for reporting. One of the most important processes is double checking and triple checking all the facts and figures to make sure that everything adds up.

Being a small business also means knowing your boundaries. We’re strong believers in the KISS principle (Keep It Simple Stupid) because we know we’re niche, and we know our business. We’re not trying to be a company that we’re not. Like Leonardo Da Vinci once said, ‘simplicity is the ultimate sophistication’.

But the one area we don’t apply our ‘less is more’ philosophy is when it comes to customer service.  Because paying special attention to customer service means a satisfied customer is likely to be a returning customer.

Words by Skye Jamieson

Water Cooler Conversation

It’s only my second day in the office here at FT Adjusting and I’ve already developed a slight attachment to the water cooler in the corner of the office. Like the animals in the African savanna, us office-dwellers have long been drawn to the nearest water source for refreshment, particularly when the air conditioning has been overworked in the heat of the Aussie summer.

Elephants

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For many years conversation around the water cooler was the perfect opportunity to ponder life’s unanswerable questions (like why on earth did Apple remove the headphone jack?) but with the rise of social media the office bulletin boards have been reduced to measly 140 character tweets.

And with the rise in social media use in the office, reports Insurance Business, comes a higher risk of cyber breaches in the workplace. Insurance Business believes that human error is one of the most common causes of cyber breaches. Yikes.

With mandatory breach notifications recently passing through Parliament, Lennon* noted that he expects to see the cyber insurance market continue its growth over the course of 2017 as businesses learn that cyber risk is an issue that reaches far beyond the IT department.

With this prediction we can expect to see even more ridiculously complicated password requirements. So stay hydrated, folks, maybe the water cooler isn’t so old school after all.

*Nick Lennon, country manager at cyber security firm Mimecast.

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

Image: Pixabay.com

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

Food Glorious Food

It’s no secret that, here at FT Adjusting, we love our food.

My office always smells like something edible (a consequence of working near the microwave). Monthly pizza lunches are observed as religiously as the Ten Commandments. We are still working our way through the Chinese New Year leftovers crowding our tea/coffee station. And speaking of Commandments, I’m pretty sure keeping those Tim Tam lookalikes stocked is one of them.

Coffee and macarons

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Now, I came across a transcript from a recent interview with Shankar Vedantam, a social science correspondent for NPR (National Public Radio). He was talking about how people often eat the same food when they eat together, and described a series of experiments run by Ayelet Fishbach and Kaitlin Woolley from the University of Chicago. Fishbach’s thesis was that:

Food is about bringing something into the body. And to eat the same food suggests that we are both willing to bring the same thing into our bodies. People just feel closer to people who are eating the same food as they do. And then trust, cooperation, these are just consequences of feeling close to someone.

PIZZA!

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So she and Woolley tested the effects of eating certain foods when people were together. In one experiment, volunteers played the role of managers and union reps agreeing on an hourly wage. Pairs were given either sweet or savoury snacks, and when they ate the same kind of food, they reached an agreement much faster than when one person ate sweet and the other savoury.

It might be unconscious, but it seems like food (specifically, eating the same food as someone else) plays a key role in promoting trust and cooperation between people. And frankly, I have no shame using that as justification for our ongoing pizza parties.

…not that we needed much justification for those in the first place.

Words by Jenny Ryan

RIP IT

Today has NOT been a good day for my computer. It’s rebooted itself five times in the last four hours, and the only indication I have of something being wrong is a wildly unhelpful “:(“ face. Because when you’re panicking about losing your work – and your mind, given how frequent this nonsense is – the “:(“ face is the ultimate reassurance.

Sarcasm aside, tech problems are pretty rotten, both to experience and to try and resolve. Geoffrey is our de facto IT guru, which means that he regularly gets dragged away from his work by people like me who provide vague descriptions and then expect precise problem solving. I am exaggerating my level of tech illiteracy, but the daily struggle of the truly IT impaired is all too real.

Teapot pouring water on laptop

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If you’ve ever felt like a bit of a klutz when it comes to computers, just read through these help desk stories from Spiceworks:

  1. I was walking through an office one day and a user said to me, “At last! It’s taken you long enough. I pressed F1 (help button) over 2 hours ago!”
  2. I got a call about a monitor not working. When going through the standard debugging steps, user said there were no lights, he could not find the power button, etc. Then I ask, “Is there actually a monitor on the desk?” and answer was, “No.” Someone had moved it.
  3. One of my favourite repeating requests is, “I can’t remember my email password. Please email me a new password.”
  4. Call from user: “my PC is screaming at me.” Found out the computer was beeping because the keyboard tray was holding several buttons down.
F1 HELP!

Image: freestockphotos.biz

And for the grand finale:

Person entering data on a floppy disk was told that she had to make a copy at the end of every day to provide a backup. About six months later, the disk became corrupt; so the technician asked if she had the copies. She opened a filing cabinet drawer and pulled out a stack of paper; on every sheet was a photocopy of the disk.

So rest assured that, even at your worst, you’ll never be in quite these dire straits!

Words by Jenny Ryan

Technical Difficulties

You may have noticed (or not – who am I to assume?) that there was no blog post on Wednesday. Well, friends, that’s because I ran into what you might call ‘technical difficulties’.

These past couple of weeks have not been kind to FTA’s social media. For one thing, I’ve been spending a good deal of time learning how to perform administrative duties around the office, and it’s hard to write blogs when you’re neck-deep in invoices.

Sorry, no Internet today

Image: linkedin.com

And for another thing, Twitter and LinkedIn have been playing functional tag with each other – as soon as I resuscitate one, the other grabs its chest, keels over and dies! You can’t manage social media if you can’t even log in to your accounts.

So it was that I found myself on Tuesday afternoon, with nothing to my name but a headache from all the hair-pulling and death-staring.

Things to do when your WiFi is down (infographic)

Image: pinterest.com

Thankfully, however (and barring any unfortunate relapses), things seem to be getting back to normal. Twitter is behaving itself (at least for now), and as for LinkedIn… well, even if I can’t get it to work simultaneously with Twitter, I can at least get it to work on a different machine. Good news for the blogosphere, even if it’s temporarily inconvenient for me.

In the world of technology, you win some and you lose some. As Clive James said:

It is only when they go wrong that machines remind you how powerful they are.

Words by Jenny Ryan