Meeting of the Minds

A meeting of minds can be a magical thing. And that’s precisely what happened in the FT Adjusting office this morning.

With (almost) all the staff gathered around the office conference table, it nearly felt like a family reunion. We even had Ben and Zack joining us from Melbourne via telephone (after some typical technical issues to begin with). We had our pens and notepads at the ready, and ‘encouragement’ in the form of brownies. And with special guest Simon Bohm joining us – the meeting promised to be a good one.

One of the main focus points of the meeting – what are some of the major problems the insurance industry is currently facing? We identified a few of them. But throughout the meeting we kept coming back to the idea of value. What value do we have as a small loss adjusting company? What is our ‘uniqueness’?

Meeting

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All businesses need to bring something to the table to give them a competitive advantage in any market. It’s this uniqueness that allows a business to thrive. For FT Adjusting, it’s our specialty nichepertise – the fact that we’re niche and we know it. We specialise in claims arising from construction and engineering, and we excel at it.

However, nobody is perfect. Sometimes mistakes can occur that are completely out of your control. It’s ultimately a loss adjuster’s job to determine exactly where the fault lies. But this isn’t always a clear-cut, simple process.

Ian, our director, made the excellent point that people can often expect us to be crystal ball gazers. Well, we’re not quite there yet. There’s no cupboard full of fortune-telling artifacts hidden in the FT Adjusting office. But we do have exemplary analytical and reporting skills that allow us to sift through data to arrive at the correct answer. And we think that’s real value.

Words by Skye Jamieson

Melbourne Marvel

It’s safe to say there’s been quite a bit of excitement in the FT Adjusting office this week. And it’s not just the Sydney office. Last week, we announced the exciting news that FT Adjusting is expanding. We’ve opened a new office in Melbourne!

And what a week it’s been. With the installation of the new IT system currently underway, it won’t be long until it’s all systems GO for the Melbourne office!

Taking the reins in the Melbourne office is our very own Senior Loss Adjuster Benjamin Chang, as the Victoria Manager, along with Loss Adjuster Zack Mun.

So far so good. The new FTA office is in the small suburb of Heidelberg. According to my Google searches, Heidelberg lies about 18 kilometres north-east of Melbourne’s CBD. It’s quite small, with a population of just over six thousand people.

Melbourne

Hello Melbourne! Image: Pixabay.com

So, what does Heidelberg have to offer for a small business like FT Adjusting? According to Domain, Heidelberg is a suburb of contrasts that has ‘something for everyone’.

From the fabulous Heide Museum of Modern Art, to the Warringal Parklands, Heidelberg has it all. There’s the chance to sit down in a hipster café and drink filtered coffee and dine on smashed avocado. Hell, that’s more than most hopeful homebuyers in Sydney can say. But it’s also changing rapidly. Thanks to some zoning changes, apartments are booming. People, and businesses (!) are buying.

And this is where Zack and Ben are now calling home (or rather, work). It’s a tough job to set up a new office – which includes organising insurance, phones, IT and filing systems and office furniture. Hats off to you guys, Ben and Zack, and congratulations to the rest of the team here in Sydney for making sure the operation has been a success. Watch this space for more information and updates about the magnificent Melbourne marvel.

Words by Skye Jamieson

Contact details:

PH: (03) 9450 7839
Suite 114, Level 1
486 Lower Heidelberg Road
Lower Heidelberg, VIC, 3084

Realist Talk

It’s said that there are two types of people in the world – pessimists and optimists.

Pessimists tend to see the worst in situations. They also need a lot of convincing before they jump on board with something.

Optimists, on the other hand, often expect the best outcome in life and events.

These two characters generally appear together in cartoons and as sidekicks in adventure movies. The dream team. Think Marlin and Dory in Finding Nemo, or Ariel and Sebastian the crab in The Little Mermaid. While I consider myself to be a glass half-full kind of person, there’s another type of person that often gets forgotten.

It’s the realist. According to Urban Dictionary (which, of course, is a reliable source of information), a realist is someone who has a firm grip on reality and can see things for what they are, not what they are told they are. Realists have their own views, writes aCanadianGuy. The realist sees the glass as exactly that – half a glass of water.

Realist

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Reading this inspired definition of realists made me realise that I’m most likely surrounded by them in this office. Realists work and live in the moment, and focus on what is currently at hand. Sound familiar? It’s because seeing things in a realistic light is one of the hallmarks of being a successful loss adjuster.

Although a loss adjuster investigates and settles claims on behalf of insurance companies, loss adjusters must act impartially. They report on the situation exactly as it is, being meticulous in what they see and how it is described. Loss adjusters cannot let their judgement be clouded by overstated or deliberately exaggerated items. Most importantly, they need to be certain of their own facts.

So let’s be realistic. There’s good and bad merits for all three personality types. But there’s a good saying that summarises them quite nicely: a pessimist sees a dark tunnel, an optimist sees the light at the end of the tunnel, and the realist sees the train.

Words by Skye Jamieson

Flushed Away

One of the most popular stories for Shakespearean tour guides is the supposed story behind one of the playwright’s most famous lines.

‘What’s in a name? that which we call a rose/ By any other name would smell as sweet’.

On the surface, it’s the musings of poor Juliet over the insignificance of a name.

But folklore has it that Shakespeare was also making a joke at the expense of a rival theatre, The Rose. The story goes that The Rose had a notorious sewage problem. Legend has it that Shakespeare was throwing some serious shade about its smell.

Sewage vs rose

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But not all things are grounded in folklore. There’s some real-life exciting news that just so happens to be sewage-related (hooray?).

According to Insurance Business, Allianz Worldwide Partners has forged a five-year partnership with Unitywater, a statutory authority that provides water and sewerage services.

The article says that Allianz will offer water-related insurance to Unitywater’s customers in the Moreton Bay, Sunshine Coast and Noosa areas. The cover will include concealed leak protection insurance and emergency home assistance, designed to protect homeowners against unexpected expenses. And the number one priority? Providing local residents with better assistance and insurance options.

That’s about enough toilet humour for today. On to a more serious note: what will this insurer think of the urban legends about alligators in the sewers? Don’t worry, Allianz – it’s a complete myth. Everyone knows you get crocodiles in northern Australia!

Cracking Up

Most of the time, insurance is no laughing matter. With all the site visits, investigation and report writing going on in the office, it can be a long time between chuckles. But sometimes, it can be fun to see the light side of a serious situation. Especially an insurance situation.

We had to bite our tongues when a certain loss adjuster attended a site visit that was very messy. As in, sewerage-pipe-burst messy. The walls, ceiling and floor of the building had been completely covered in liquid sewage.

In order to conduct a thorough investigation of the site, the loss adjuster had to get up close and personal. Including wading. You’d better believe we made that loss adjuster shower before he came back into the office.

insurance

Actual evidence of ‘the situation’

I guess you can say that our loss adjusters are highly dedicated to their jobs.

The situation sure did cause some laughter back in the office. And on a Friday afternoon, it’s reassuring to see that some people are in a crappier situation than you.

Literally.

All that laughter reminded me of this cracker of an insurance joke that I heard some time ago:

An insurance agent goes to a museum and accidentally knocks over a statue.
The museum administrator says to him: “That’s a five hundred-year-old statue you’ve broken!”
The insurance agent replies: “Thank God! I thought it was a new one.”
insurance

Image: pexels.com

Words by Skye Jamieson

Weapons of Mass Distraction

Keeping motivated and alert can sometimes be difficult late on a Friday afternoon. The weekend is just out of reach, the office feels unusually stuffy, and you find yourself side-tracked by amusing animal videos while scrolling through Facebook.

Maybe you’ve even been distracted from a conversation or writing an email by this blog. I don’t blame you. Everyone knows that loss adjusting blogs are the most entertaining! Well, it’s time to stop watching adorable puppies falling asleep in their food bowls (aww!!). Inc. has gathered some of the most useful tips to eliminate distractions in the workplace.

Distractions

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Create a sanctuary

Having your own space, free from noise, distractions and even your phone, can lead to the best kind of creative thinking. In a solitary space, it’s easier to get in the zone and complete the project you’re working on. Think J.K. Rowling, who isolated herself in a suite adjacent to a castle while writing the seventh Harry Potter book. Where’s your castle?

Plan your hours

Allow yourself a set time during the day, maybe thirty minutes, to check social media and email. Then switch off any notifications. By not allowing yourself to get distracted in the first place, your performance will greatly increase. Not even by cat videos.

Log your good work

Keep a tally of your focused, undistracted working hours. Apparently, it’s a good way to confront reality, something that I generally try to avoid. Sometimes you think you’re working undistracted, when in actual fact you’ve forgotten about that Buzzfeed quiz you did that tells you what kind of potato you would be.

So next time you catch yourself slipping away to the world of Twitter or Instagram, try and remember one of these helpful tips. It might just save you time in the long run.

Words by Skye Jamieson

Moving and Shaking

Australia is no stranger to natural disasters. Fires, floods, cyclones – we’ve had our fair share over the years. But there’s one natural disaster that doesn’t often come up on the radar – earthquakes. Or does it?

Way back in science class we were taught that earthquakes occur due to tectonic plates moving and shaking against each other. So you can be forgiven for assuming that Australia is safe, given that it lies in the middle of the Indo-Australian plate.

The reality is that Australia is shaken by roughly one small earthquake a day. Turns out there’s a lot more going on under the surface than we know about.

Earthquake

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In December 1989, an earthquake that struck Newcastle became one of Australia’s worst natural disasters. The quake killed thirteen people and caused an estimated $4 billion worth of damage. According to National Geographic, the devastation was unusual for a relatively low magnitude quake. Experts say soft sediments may have intensified the shaking, the strength of which older buildings could not withstand.

It’s somewhat related to the parable about the wise and the foolish builders. Now, this bible story, taken at face value, actually has some sound structural building advice. The first man builds his house on rock, and it stands tall in the face of natural forces. The second man, however, watches his house fall after building it on a bed of sand.

Australian Geographic says that magnitude six earthquakes occur every five years or so due to pent-up stress from neighbouring plates.  Kim Henshaw, CEO of Strata Community Australia (SCA), says that people need to be more aware of their insurance arrangements in relation to earthquakes.

“We want people to abandon the complacent ‘this won’t happen to me’ psyche, because contrary to assumptions, Australia is a very active location for seismic events,” said Henshaw.

Guess there’s something in common with loss adjusting and seismology – they’re both trying to find out where the fault lies.

Words by Skye Jamieson

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