Calamity Cladding

It’s the kind of thing that can cause headaches for many homeowners. Imagine paying a perfectly reasonable insurance premium for many years, only for it to suddenly spike out of nowhere. Well, that’s exactly what’s happened to the residents of an apartment in Brunswick, Victoria.

After their building caught fire earlier this year, owners of the Anstey Square building in Brunswick have been ordered to take immediate action to remove dangerous cladding on the building. The apartments are clad in a mix of polystyrene and aluminium composite panelling, the same material that was used on the Grenfell Tower. You can read more about this type of cladding in great detail in my earlier blog post here.

premium

Image: pexels.com

According to The Age, the overall costs to repair the building are estimated to be more than $2 million. But that’s not all that’s leaving the apartment owners out of pocket. The already-stressed Brunswick apartment residents now have another worry. Their insurance premiums have now more than quadrupled, to almost $134,000 this year.

Chairman of an owners’ corporation, Allister Hill, told ABC News that while he was thankful for the insurance, “it’s a bit scary how much they want.”

According to Insurance Business, legal action has already been filed against the builder. But for the moment, the residents are seeking government intervention. It’s not just these residents that could be caught up in the insurance premium spike, however. It’s estimated that thousands of Melburnians could be affected as understanding of how widespread the issue is becomes known. This could mean anyone who owns an apartment clad by builders using combustible materials in the past decade. Stay tuned, folks. These premiums could be going through the roof.

Words by Skye Jamieson

Piggy in the Middle

Claims, claims, claims. We just can’t get enough of them. As loss adjusters we thrive on our favourite type – construction and engineering. They often come in the form of contract works, public and products liability or professional indemnity claims. And at FT Adjusting, simplicity is at the heart of our claims philosophy, which is why we’re proud of our ‘niche-pertise’.

Now, before I get teary-eyed, I’ll try and get back on track with this blog (I had a point to make, I promise!). The fact is, the claims space is a volatile and diverse cycle. But it also has the potential to change dramatically. In fact, an industry expert has provided his recommendation for digitalising the claims space. And boy, it’s a doozy.

Claim Central Consolidated CEO Brian Siemsen told Insurance Business that we mustn’t “put lipstick on the pig,” when it comes to digitalising the claims space. You heard that right.

Pig

Image: Pixabay.com

“What we tend to try and do, particularly in the Australian and New Zealand industry, is put a different colour lipstick on the same pig,” Siemsen told Insurance Business. “The real challenge is whether we can think disruptively enough in the claims space. Can we map that customer journey and use digitisation to recreate potential operating models?”

While it’s a unique picture to imagine, Siemsen does make some excellent points here. He believes that the advent and acceptance of digital technologies provides the industry with an opportunity to rethink a customer’s journey. This could be all the way throughout the claims process, from researching and taking out a policy to making insurance claims.

In rethinking the operating model, it’s not all about bringing home the bacon. It’s about making successful processes between customer, broker, insurer and supplier. And that’s something you can take straight to the piggy bank.

Words by Skye Jamieson

Asbestos Awareness

In keeping with the theme of last week’s blog, today’s topic is all about the dangers of asbestos. It’s November, and that means it’s Asbestos Awareness Month! This is a particularly pertinent issue for Australians because we have one of the highest rates of asbestos-related diseases in the world, according to Asbestos Awareness.

Before we get down to business, it’s time for a little backstory on asbestos. One of the only places in Australia that produced blue asbestos was a small mining town called Wittenoom in Western Australia. The roads of Wittenoom were paved with asbestos, and the thriving town literally lived and breathed it every day. By 1961, a former Wittenoom miner was diagnosed with mesothelioma (an asbestos-related disease) and died, becoming the first of more than three hundred former mine workers to die of the disease, reported ABC News.

Today, Wittenoom is (almost) a ghost town. The Western Australian Government recommends avoiding the area and no longer recognises Wittenoon as a town. Electricity has been cut off, mail deliveries stopped and police patrols halted, reported The Age. But amazingly, Wittenoom has a grand population of three people, who refuse to evacuate their homes.

Awareness

Image: Wikipedia

Now to business. Asbestos is a serious danger in the construction and engineering industry. It’s not just tradies, builders and engineers that need to be aware of the dangers of asbestos in our homes and buildings, but all Australians. Many people wrongly believe that only fibro homes contain asbestos. In fact, asbestos products can be found in any Australian home built or renovated before 1987. This includes brick, weatherboard, fibro and clad homes.

The fact is that one in three Aussie homes contains asbestos. If you’re renovating this summer, check out this healthy house checklist to help you identify asbestos products and safely mange them. You can also check out the Australian Government’s Asbestos Safety and Eradication Agency FAQ page.

Words by Skye Jamieson

Roo’d Awakening

Thank God it’s Friday. It’s been pretty busy around the FT Adjusting office, with a flurry of people coming and going. We can’t wait for the weekend. Although insurance is generally pretty serious business, every so often a little humour manages to sneak its way in.  And sometimes, laughter is the best medicine.

Earlier this week I spotted an article from WA Today that has gone completely viral. The reason? It’s the most typical Australian insurance form you could imagine. And it’s hilarious.

Last month, a Mingenew woman was driving home to her farm at approximately 7pm when she was involved in an accident with a kangaroo.  She alleges that “a massive dinosaur-like creature” jumped out of the scrub in front of the car.

Kangaroo

Image: Pixabay.com

“The massive marsupial had done a number on the left hand side of our Kia Sorrento. He bounced from the front bumper down the side of the car, smashing out the fog light, bending the wheel arch out of place, totalling the mud flap and then destroying the front passenger door,” the woman told WA Today.

But it’s her detailed drawing of the accident in question on the insurance form that would have left her insurer in stitches. Whether it’s a T. Rex or a kangaroo in the diagram, I’ll leave you to decide. You can read the article here. When answering who she believed was at fault, she wrote “Kangaroo for jumping out of the scrub.”

Luckily, this thrilling tale has a happy ending. The woman and the rest of her family in the car were fine.

As she explained to WA Today, “Luckily I’m an extremely experienced bush rally driver and I was able to complete the rest of the journey without incident, allowing my three children to carry on sleeping and my husband to continue to tell me how to drive.”

Words by Skye Jamieson

Island of Positivity

It’s Friday, and according to Google, it’s also Cranky Co-Workers Day. Many people work in an office with slightly overbearing co-workers, and I’m happy to say that it’s definitely not the case here at FT Adjusting! We’re lucky enough to work in a relaxed office where the people are good-natured and friendly. There’s banter galore and more smiles than you can poke a stick at.

Cranky Co-Workers Day, according to this particular website, is a day in honour of all the complaining and just plain cranky co-workers you have to endure all year. This is the day to let them go with it and enjoy their miseries. Sounds enticing, doesn’t it? Fortunately, this is one holiday FT Adjusting won’t be celebrating.

There’s someone in the office who knows a thing or two about positivity. Our very own loss adjuster Teddy Matailevu, was born and raised on a small Fijian island of around one hundred people. On an island that remote, with limited electricity, running water and no technology, your perception of positivity is dramatically altered. Teddy describes the island as paradise. It’s untouched land that takes fifteen hours by boat to travel to. On his island, the sea is teeming with life and the ocean is every colour imaginable. Most people he takes there don’t want to leave.

 

Positivity

Image: Pixabay.com

*Sigh* As enticing as that daydream is to slip into, we’ve got to snap back to the office. Because it’s Friday, and somewhere, somehow, co-workers are finding ways to become cranky. If only every office could be like the FT Adjusting office. If that’s the case for you, please feel free to use that fantasy as a coping mechanism. Just picture a white sand island, palm trees blowing in the breeze, the smell of salt and firewood in the air…it’s easy to slip away. Please note that FT Adjusting is not responsible for any cranky co-worker repercussions that may occur.

Words by Skye Jamieson

Weather the Storm

Storms are on the horizon this month, it seems. No, we’re not talking about Geostorm, the newly-released film that’s been receiving exceptionally bad reviews. It’s been reported that the ‘disastrous’ disaster film is mostly about people staring at computer monitors. If you’re a particularly overbearing manager who enjoys spending several hours watching people watch computer screens, then you’re going to love Geostorm.

Otherwise, we’re talking about actual storms. Wind, rain, hail – all that jazz. Sydney sure does get its fair share of storms. And it’s about to get even easier to predict exactly where these storms are going to hit. It’s said that the best predictor of future behaviour is past behaviour, but could the same hold true for the weather?

Storm

Image: pexels.com

According to Insurance Business, NRMA Insurance has revealed the Sydney areas worst hit by damaging weather events in 2016-17. It’s not looking good for the northern and northwest Sydney regions, which incidentally is home to the FT Adjusting office. NRMA reports that Kellyville was the Sydney suburb worst affected by the storms, then St Ives, Rouse Hill, Wahroonga and Turramurra.

With October marking the beginning of storm season, the NRMA believes many people don’t take the impact of storms seriously. Storm damage is the leading cause of all home insurance claims in the state. All the while, less than one in ten New South Wales residents believe that storms pose the biggest threat to their property.

So, Sydneysiders, it’s time we got our acts together. Approximately 46 per cent of residents and their homes aren’t disaster ready! So what can we do to weather these imminent storms? Apparently, it’s the little things that can make the biggest difference. You can prepare you property by doing things like trimming branches, cleaning gutters and securing loose items in your garden. For more tips you can read the full article here. And hopefully at the end of this storm season we might see a rainbow.

Words by Skye Jamieson

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

Image: pexels.com

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

Image: pexels.com

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

Image: pexels.com

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!