Well done Chubb and Lockton on no longer selling Carry Guard (gun) insurance

I would like to add my support for the decision taken by insurer Chubb Insurance and insurance broker Lockton to no longer support the National Rifle Association (NRA’S) Carry Guard insurance program in the United States which did provide liability coverage for NRA members who use their fire arms in self defence.

This will leave a gap in coverage as most of the home policies I have reviewed do not offer this coverage.

This is another case in a long history for the insurance industry where they have shown a social conscience and used their influence for good.

Well done to both organisations.

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Vehicles requiring replacement airbags

Each week, I post a list of the items that have been recalled. Typically, these are a voluntary recall, but if something is dangerous a compulsory recall can be ordered by the Commonwealth or a State Government. Due to the reluctance of some manufacturers to carry out a voluntary recall of airbags that have reportedly killed 23 people worldwide, with one of these in Australia, plus 230 people known to have been injured around the world, many seriously, the Australia government has ordered a recall of some vehicles to have the potentially dangerous airbag replaced.

The government urges everyone effected to take this seriously, check if your vehicle is on the list below and if it is arrange to take it in for the free recall as soon as possible.

I have reviewed some of the injuries and they are horrific and involve people, including infants, of all ages. Therefore please take this one seriously and if you know anyone who drives one of the vehicles listed, please pass this on to them.


Here is the list:


It is critical that drivers with alpha airbags installed take immediate steps to have the airbags replaced because of a significant risk of injury or death involved in using vehicles with these airbags. Drivers with other recalled airbags should arrange for them to be replaced as soon as possible.

Make & model Year Range PRA No.
BMW 3 Series E46  ALPHA 12/2001 – 03/2003 2013/13576
BMW 3 Series E46 9/1999 – 8/2006 2013/13576
BMW 5 Series E39, 3 Series E46, X5 E53 2002-2005 2016/15581
BMW 5 series E39, 3 Series E46, X5 E53 2000-2004 2017/15881
BMW E70 X5, E71 X6 2007-2012 2017/16230
BMW E70 X5, E71 X6 2007-2012 2017/16298
BMW E70 X5 & E71 X6 2013 2018/16566
Chrysler 300(LE/LX) 2005-2012 2016/15516
Chrysler 300, 300C 2005-2010 2015/14742
Chrysler 300, 300C 2013 2018/16617
Dodge RAM 2004-2010 2016/15516
Ferrari 458, California, FF 2008-2011 2016/15430
Ford Mustang 2006-2014 2015/14924
Honda Accord, CR-V  ALPHA 2001-2002 2009/10969
Honda Civic  ALPHA 2001 2010/11785
Honda Accord  ALPHA 2001-2002 2011/12633
Honda Civic, Accord, Accord Euro, CR-V, Jazz, MDX  ALPHA 2001-2003 2013/13549
Honda Jazz  ALPHA 2004 2014/14438
Honda Accord Euro, Civic Hybrid, CR-V, Civic, Jazz 2003-2004 2014/14498
Honda Accord Euro, CR-V, Civic, Jazz, City 2002-2009 2015/14703
Honda Jazz, CR-V 2005-2007 2015/14702
Honda MDX, Accord 2001-2007 2015/14737
Honda City, CR-V, Insight, Jazz, Jazz Hybrid 2006-2012 2015/14819
Honda City, CR-V, Insight, Jazz, Jazz Hybrid 2011-2014 2016/15197
Honda Civic, Legend, Jazz Hybrid 2006-2012 2016/15198
Honda Accord Euro, City, CR-V, Jazz, Insight 2007-2011 2016/15496
Honda Legend, Odyssey, Accord, MDX 2003-2011 2016/15495
Honda Civic, Accord 2006-2011 2016/15494
Honda Accord Euro, City, Jazz & Insight 2012 2017/15856
Honda Legend 2012 2017/15857
Honda Accord 2012 2017/15859
Honda Civic 2001 2017/15860
Honda Jazz, Jazz Hybrid, Insight and Accord Euro 2013 2018/16523
Jeep Wrangler JK 2007-2012 2016/15516
Jeep Wrangler 2013 2018/16617
Lexus SC430 2000-2003 2013/13545
Lexus IS 250, IS 250C, 350, IS F 2005-2011 2016/15425
Lexus IS 250, IS 350, IS 250C, IS-F, LFA 2011-2012 2017/15846
Lexus IS250, IS250C, IS350 & IS-F 2013 2018/16536
Mazda2 (DE) 2010 2016/15522
Mazda2 2007-2015 2016/15521
Mazda RX-8 2008-2012 2016/15521
Mazda6, BT-50 2005-2011 2015/14761
Mazda6, RX-8 ALPHA 2002-2007 2015/14761
Mazda B2500 & B2600 2002-2011 2015/14760
Mazda6, CX-7 & CX-9 2006-2012 2017/16232
Mitsubishi GA & GB i-MiEV 2010-2011 2017/15990
Mitsubishi Lancer 2003-2008 2015/14936
Mitsubishi ML & MN Triton 2007-2014 2016/15523
Mitsubishi Pajero NS, NT, NW, NX 2007-2016 2016/15617
Mitsubishi Pajero NS & NT 2006-2009 2017/15991
Mitsubishi Pajero NT & NW 2010-2012 2017/16025
Mitsubishi Pajero NW & NX 2013-2017 2017/16465
Nissan N16 Pulsar, Y61 Patrol 2001 2010/11761
Nissan N16 Pulsar, Y61 Patrol 2001 2017/15940
Nissan N16 Pulsar, Y61 Patrol, D22 Navara, T30 X-Trail  ALPHA 2000-2004 2013/13542
Nissan N16 Pulsar, D22 Navara, Y61 Patrol, T30 X-Trail, A33 maxima  ALPHA 2001-2003 2014/14182
Nissan N16 Pulsar, D22 Navara, Y61 Patrol, T30 X-Trail, J31 maxima 2003 2015/14751
Nissan N16 Pulsar, D22 Navara, Y61 Patrol, T30 X-Trail, J31 maxima 2004-2007 2015/14752
Nissan D22 Navara, T30 X-Trail, J31 Maxima, Y61 Patrol 2007-2008 2015/14821
Nissan D22 Navara, Y61 Patrol 2009-2012 2016/15769
Nissan D40 Navara 2008-2014 2016/15228
Nissan D40 Navara 2006-2015 2017/16363
Nissan Tiida 2006-2012 2016/15383
Nissan C11 Tiida 2006-2012 2017/16363
Peformax Silverado, Sierra, Mustang 2007-2008 2015/14789
Subaru Impreza 2004-2007 2015/14715
Subaru Tribeca, Liberty, Outback 2004-2013 2016/15507
Subaru Impreza, Forester 2008-2013 2016/15766
Subaru Exiga 2010-2014 2017/16012
Subaru Liberty & Outback 2010-2014 2017/16013
Toyota Corolla, Avensis Verso, Lexus SC430  ALPHA 2000-2004 2013/13544
Toyota Echo, Rav 4  ALPHA 2002-2003 2014/14456
Toyota Echo, Rav 4 2003-2005 2015/14700
Toyota Corolla, Avensis Verso, Yaris 2003-2007 2015/14701
Toyota Avensis Verso, Yaris 2007-2008 2015/14794
Toyota Corolla, Yaris, Avensis Verso 2006-2011 2016/15709
Toyota Corolla 2003-2005 2017/15950
Toyota Corolla, Yaris & Rukus 2010-2012 2017/16010
Toyota Echo, Rav 4 2002-2003 2017/16014


Make & model Year Range PRA No.
American Honda Motor GL1800 2016/15440
Honda GL1800 Goldwing 2012-2015 2017/15906
Honda GL1800 Goldwing 2012-2015 2018/16522


Make & model Year Range PRA No.
Volvo UD Trucks Quon & Condor 2011-2016 2017/16021
Volvo FH13, FH16, FM13 & FM11 2012-2017 2018/16581
Hino 300 Series Trucks 2011-2012 2017/16006
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When is it time to stop pretending to care about customers and actually start?

I reported on two claims recently which were completely and utterly off the rails. The first being a home where this would be the 4th Christmas the Insured would be out of their home despite having their insurers top of the range product. It was a bush fire situation and there was no suspicion of arson, it was just a case of the panel beater builders completely letting the Insured down. After 15 months of trying, we finally got a common-sense solution, but it has now been 6 weeks that the release has been stuck in legal. How to draft a release was one of the first things I learnt as a claims officer when I was 17 years old and I cannot understand how a claim that has been so terrible handled is dragged on so that it cannot be resolved before Christmas number 4.

I was equally dismayed this morning to see a comment in The Age (21st December 2017) where an Insured has said

“The insurance companies are hopeless I won’t use them, I’ll just try and sell these”

This is a response to the recent hail storm we had in Melbourne.

It is comments like these and the negative feedback from the Insured in the claims that I wrote about recently, which they are saying to their friends and relatives, which caused the great doubt of trust in our industry. An industry which has as its core principles, Utmost Good Faith.

If we don’t address this situation we will suffer as an industry in the long term.

Source: The Age Newspaper, Melbourne, 21 December 2017

Read Me 1

When does the Indemnity Period end?

At LMI Group, we have an issue which comes across, almost in waves, in regards to a number of claims which needs to be addressed before the next flavour of the month adjustment to reduce an Insured’s claim.

The one we have just overcome is where the adjuster has made a “notion” adjustment, without explaining the basis for it. Now, we have come across on a number of claims, particularly involving restaurants, clubs and hotels is for the indemnity period to be cut off by the loss adjuster and then the Insured being asked to prove that the loss extends beyond the period allowed by the adjuster and then also prove that the ongoing disruption is as a direct result of the damage or other insured event which gave rise to the initial claim.

One of the great frustrations for us is that often this judgment call is being made by a Forensic Accountant or an adjuster who has not been to the site, met the insured, or if they have, it has been only one short visit. Without understanding the insured’s business, their assumption that the business should have been back to normal may well be completely ill founded and at times appears to be linked to the fact that the initial reserve placed on the disruption by the adjuster or forensic accountant has proved to be inadequate. That means the claim is then being adjusted within the confines of that initial reserve.

With this background, I thought that it was appropriate to review the typical Business Interruption cover and in particular, to look at the onus of proof issue.

There are differences in the market with business interruption policies and so, for the sake of this exercise, I will use the Industrial Special Risks (“ISR”) Mark IV Modified wording.

The trigger for a claim under Business Interruption under the Mark IV ISR reads:

In the event of any building or any other property or any part thereof used by the Insured at the Premises for the purpose of the Business being physically lost, destroyed or damaged by any cause or event not hereinafter excluded (loss, destruction or damage so caused being hereinafter termed “Damage”) and the Business carried out by the Insured being in consequence thereof interrupted or interfered with, the Insurer(s) will, subject to the provisions of this Policy including the limitation on the Insurer(s) liability, pay to the Insured the amount of loss resulting from such interruption or interference in accordance with the applicable Basis of Settlement.

Assuming that the loss falls within the triggering provision of the policy, it advises that the claim will be settled in accordance with the “applicable Basis of Settlement”. The Basis of Settlement reads:

The insurance under this item is limited to actual loss of Gross Profit due to: (a) Reduction in Turnover and (b) Increase in Cost of Working and the amount payable as indemnity thereunder shall be:

(a)   In respect of Reduction in Turnover:

the sum produced by applying the Rate of Gross Profit to the amount by which the Turnover during the Indemnity Period shall, in consequence of the Damage, fall short of the Standard Turnover.

(b)  In respect of Increase in Cost of Working:

the additional expenditure necessarily and reasonably incurred for the sole purpose of avoiding or diminishing the reduction in Turnover which, but for that expenditure, would have taken place during the Indemnity Period in consequence of the Damage, but not exceeding the sum produced by applying the Rate of Gross Profit to the amount of the reduction thereby avoided.

In both Section (a) and Section (b), the policy makes note that the Insured is to be indemnified during the Period of Indemnity. It is therefore important, that we look at the definition of Indemnity, which reads:

INDEMNITY PERIOD: The period beginning with the occurrence of the Damage and ending not later than the number of months specified in the Schedule thereafter during which the results of the Business shall be affected in consequence of the Damage.

In Summary, this definition states that the Policy starts on the date of the Damage, which may be before any disruption to the business starts and ends when the business is no longer effected in consequence of the Damage, or the number of months stated in the Schedule.

Often, it is a case of res ipsa loquitur which simply means, the facts speak for themselves.

Naturally, as part of the calculation and/or assessing process, the person preparing the claim and/or assessing the claim, would carry out tests to determine whether or not some other factor has arisen which has caused a downturn in the business, and for that matter, may have caused an upturn of the business, unrelated to the Damage which would have taken place had the Damage not occurred.

The reasoning behind this, is that at its heart, the traditional business interruption policy is a contract of indemnity. That is, of course, to put the Insured back to near as money will allow to the position they would have enjoyed but for the loss. I stress that this is the underlying principle of the majority of business interruption policies in the market, however, there are some policies which are in fact agreed value policies, where the Policy stipulates a formula which may well over or under indemnify the insured.

To ensure that the principle of indemnity is maintained, the policy contains what to me is arguably the most important clause in the contract of insurance and the one that creates the greatest conflict between the insured and the insurer.

This clause is the adjustments clause, which reads:

Adjustments shall be made to the Rate of Gross Profit, Annual Turnover, Standard Turnover and Rate of Pay-Roll as may be necessary to provide for the trend of the Business and for variations in or other circumstances affecting the Business either before or after the Damage or which would have affected the Business had the Damage not occurred, so that the figures thus adjusted shall represent as nearly as may be reasonably practicable the results which, but for the Damage, would have been obtained during the relative period after the Damage.

While the Indemnity Period is not specifically mentioned in the clause, what is in effect occurring when the indemnity period is being cut short, is that the insurer or their agent is suggesting that the turnover that would have been achieved had the business not been affected by the Damage, would have been reduced for some other event, and as such, the period of disruption caused by the Damage is at an end.

Just as an insurer would take a dim view of an insured who came along with an unsubstantiated request to increase the standard turnover of the business, I’m of firm belief that if the insurer or their agent suggests that there is a special circumstance that reduces the standard turnover, then the onus of proof is on the insurer to prove this and not simply make an unsubstantiated claim that the business ought to have been back at that point.

I’m the first to admit that the adjustments clause is not an exact science and that no one can ever be 100% certain as to what the business would have achieved but for the loss, other than in the rarest of circumstances. There is always room for negotiation but both sides ought to provide some logical reason for any adjustment that they wish to make to the standard turnover. For the sake of completeness, I include the definition of standard turnover which reads:

STANDARD TURNOVER: The Turnover during that period in the 12 months immediately before the date of the Damage which corresponds with the Indemnity Period.

To further put this into perspective, the position I hold is that it is inappropriate for an insurer or their agent to simply say that the business should have been returned to normal, say a week after a restaurant reopens when the business had a track record of performing well prior to the event and has recovered to their pre-damaged position at a period longer than was expected by the insurer for the Indemnity Period to be cut off unilaterally and the Insured required to prove that the ongoing disruption beyond their stipulated cut off point is as a result of the Damage.

In fairness, how can this ever be proved?

It leaves the insured in a helpless position, starved of cash and with no logical way they can prove the ongoing loss, other than for the fact that their revenue has not returned to normal. Whether I am acting as a loss adjuster or claims preparer, my role would be to carry out an analysis and look at industry figures, the possibility of new competitors entering the market and all other factors to see whether the position I have adopted in my calculation of the claim is fair and reasonable to all parties concerned.

I have never attempted to cut off an Indemnity Period without any reasonable foundation for doing so. It appears that we will be taking at least one of our current claims to court to examine this whole issue of onus of proof and I look forward to the outcome which may resolve this, to me, inequitable position that many insureds are confronting.


Read Me 1

Are we just giving lip service to the customer experience?

I attended an insurance breakfast last week and heard a number of people talk about the customer experience. I thought I would share just two claims that have crossed my desk.

Yesterday, one of the LMI team attempted to report a landlord claim on behalf of a family who have lost a loved one. He thought he was speaking with the insurer but it appears that it was a joint number of the international insurance broker and the insurer. On the one hand, the person taking the call asked the full name of our team member, the name of our company and then sought to get the date of birth of LMI team member. This is after refusing to provide his full name to us for our records. All we know is that it is Tom.

Clearly, the person would not allow us to report the claim but insisted that one of the executors do it. The executor thought this was a complete waste of time when he had provided authority to us to act on their behalf and he was also put through the same experience. The executor, concerned of identity theft, refused to provide his date of birth, he knew neither his sister’s broker nor the insurer would have his date of birth to check against anywhere. He too could not believe that despite asking all this information Wayne from the insurance company would not provide his surname so that he had a record of who he was talking to. He hung up in disgust.

Attempt three, the executor emailed the notification of the claim through to the insurer, only to have someone from the Philippines ring our office asking for “Wayne”. Our office was not permitted to report the claim, Wayne was not the executor but the second claims officer spoken. To my knowledge the claim has still not been set  up, none of us know a claim number nor if an adjuster is to be appointed. All I know is that any insurance, both personal and business, the executor has with that insurer will be reviewed on renewal, and to be fair so it ought to be.

Not for the first time since it was announced has an insured said to me, a full enquiry into the general insurance industry cannot come soon enough.

I try to defend our industry but how do I justify this stupidity.

In another example, a long standing client has been financing a personal loan of $500,000 to have their home fixed. The Insured has invoices for all trades totalling over $400,000 and we had a test quote from a builder who we know well and has done a thorough scope of works which has come in higher. The issue is the cash settlement offer is around $250,000, naturally the Insured will not accept it.

While this goes through the disputes process it means the client has had to find the extra funds to meet the repayments which means no treats, no holidays, no nothing. There is no doubt in my mind that what has happened is that a builder who knows they will never have to do the repairs and is on the insurers panel has provided an unrealistically cheap price to win favour with the insurer and the insurer are trying to force the client into accepting a low ball offer. This insured will not do so and will tough it out and again is anxious to make a submission to the enquiry.

Here I think it is down the actions of one person within the insurance company who appears from our side not to be treating clients close to fairly.

Whether the inquiry goes to this level is unlikely but we ought not be surprised if we continue to fail Insured’s when they need us that we will be faced with enquirers and greater regulation.


Within minutes of posting this I received the following email which I have since received the okay to publish without any names.


Hi Allan,

That is just disgusting.

I also happen to be [X]’s Claims Manager as well as running my own book as an Account Manager.

Confidentially I can tell you that no less than 6 times in the last 2 months I have had the identical ridiculous situation with [Y] of all Insurers.

3 claims were landlords. 3 claims were motor vehicle.

Again; the attitude displayed by the person on the other end of the line was nothing short of arrogant…and again no names were forthcoming from them.

I was a little sarcastic a couple of times, & mentioned that my own personal details (DOB etc) were of no assistance or consequence to them.

What is frightening is that, if your issues were NOT with [Y], then are we facing an endemic problem starting to materialise across our whole industry??

It is just so disappointing.

Keep up your good work.

Cheers – [Z]

Sadly I had to write to [Z] that our experience was not with the insurer he named! Clearly this is more wide spread than I appreciated. Why are they collecting all these dates of birth when the risk of cyber attacks is on the rise and at least with the claim we are dealing with inexperienced people cannot even read an email?

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Cheapest is not always best – Lessons for procurement officers

I spend much of my time speaking at conferences for various industries, where I encourage the business owners not to purchase their business insurance on price, but to carefully consider how important their insurance program is and the protection that it offers.

Increasingly, over the last few years. I have been questioning the true value of a procurement officer, for regardless of what the tenders say, it seems to come solely down to price, without considering the true value that a good service provider to the insurer provides, nor the cost of what getting it wrong does to the average claims cost and potentially to the brand of the insurer and insurance in general.

I will give two examples to demonstrate what seems to be happening more and more.

The first involves a couple in their 70’s who have had their home destroyed during a bushfire over 4 years ago. Clearly, the builder that won the rebuild never expected to win the job and thought the matter would be cash settled. They were then horrified to find that they in fact had won the tender to rebuild. After 2 years, work had not started on the property and the Insured, naturally, complained. The builders found themselves busy at that time and engaged another building firm to do the work and it went along swimmingly until the first progress payment went in from the second builder to the first and they realised that they were going to lose more money in having someone else do the work than they themselves completing it. The first builder, original tender winner, dismissed the second builder and took the project on. Sadly, they did not start doing any work since the dismissal of the first builder, by which time I was then asked to get involved rather than the client go to the media.

I carried out an inspection of the property and then attempted to meet with the claims officer concerned to express some very valid concerns of the Insured and items that I had seen during my site visit. My first email was ignored, so I sent a follow up one setting out just some of the issues, three of which were:

  1. Between the second and first builder, the floor had been propped up in the centre of the home with nothing more than a piece of 19mm x 35mm pine framing. This may have been acceptable while the home was being built to floor level, but once the upper level was on it, the floor had bowed by at least 10mm and I was concerned that when the home was jacked up to be made level again, any works inside including plaster finishes, tiling etc may crack.
  2. The builder had held discussions with the Insured and it was agreed that the home would be rendered at the Insured’s expense. No credit however had been given for the fact that the builder would therefore be able to use seconds bricks rather than first quality as originally quoted/agreed.
  3. Because the home had been left without a roof covering for so long, there was mould clearly visible on the floor, framework and particularly between the floor plate and the floor.

I got a very disappointing reply back suggesting that to the untrained eye the timber prop may appear dangerous, but it wasn’t, and secondly that the bricks were not seconds but mixed, and thirdly they completely ignored the mould.

Ultimately, an engineer confirmed that not only was the timber ‘support’ dangerous as I predicted, but was so weak that it may have caused the entire home to collapse. The claim officer had also misunderstood the difference between seconds bricks, being that they were not first, and second hand bricks which means they came from another site. The day after they received my letter, the builder was advised and immediately sheared up all the framework, hiding the mould that I had pointed out, without treating it first. Because of the hype around mould at the time, coupled with the age of the Insured’s (I would remind you they are in their 70’s and the wife quite frail), I thought I would have it tested. I then received a note advising I had vandalised the home.

I took the entire issue to the national head of claims for that particular insurer and while someone with more experienced was appointed, it still took a full 15 months to get resolved with the insurer agreeing to cash settle the claim. The cost of the claim had blown out by several hundred thousand dollars, combined with the fact that they will be paying rent until they can get a new home built themselves.

Insurance should be there to help people in their time of need.

This was a completely innocent fire from the Insured’s perspective (it was clear it was from the bushfire) and they will have been without a home for coming up to their 4th Christmas. This is unacceptable in anyone’s language.

The second example, involves an insured who had water damage in their home. Rather than engaging a loss adjuster to oversee the claim, the insurer decided to save money and send out a restoration company. It took 8 days for the company to even attend site, and rather than take a detailed inventory, they simply packed everything up, put it into a shipping container and assured the Insured that it would be unpacked at their warehouse, separated between wet and dry and that the wet items would be cleaned carefully and sterilized.

6 months later, it was found that the items were still in the shipping container and a vast majority of the contents, even those that were not originally damaged by water, had become affected by moisture and mould etc. Some antique furniture which had been beautifully French polished had been stripped back and sprayed with a cheap lacquer. Here, the insurer is trying to distance themselves from their agents, which of course, is unconscionable. Here again, a claim has blown out dramatically due to poor service delivery.

These are just two claims that have come across my desk, and for every one that does, I question how many others are out there. In both of these cases, how many people have these insureds discussed and expressed their disappointment with the insurance industry and the particular brands involved. The first one I had to get LMI Legal involved to resolve, and it appears from the approach on the latest water damage case, I will have to do the same, for at this stage there still appears to be absolutely no empathy for the Insureds position whatsoever.

While I am annoyed with the claim process, I think it all starts at the procurement stage. Buying services is not like buying washing machines. If you have a highly competent professional who has studied, has years of experience, then of course their hourly rate is going to be slightly higher if they are honest and only charge the hours they work. The existing procurement process, appears to favour the shortcut takers, or those who cheat the hours. Either way, the insurer misses out on engaging the right person for the job.

What disappoints me, and I feel should be called out more is that despite this being a huge dispute, the Insured has not been given any advice of the internal complaints procedure, their rights with the Financial Ombudsmen Service (FOS) etc. This confirms one of the many examples I have that some insurers are able to obtain a better rating with FOS.

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Mansfield Awards – the movie

The Mansfield Awards for Claims Excellence hosted on the 13th July 2017 were a great success. InsuranceNEWS and LMI Group as organisers and hosts were delighted with the support received about the concept, from sponsors and from attendees.

Here is a link to a highlights video to remind those that attended what happened on the night or if you did not make it, what you missed out on. Either way, I hope you enjoy it and look forward to seeing you at next year’s event.

Special thank you to the award sponsors, Steadfast and icare. Also to our Master of Ceremonies, Martin McAvenna and Mark Doepel for the Mansfield Oration.

Details of the winners can be found at www.claimscomparison.com

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The need for continued learning

One of the great things about general insurance claims is that it covers such a wide diversity of issues, industries and of course people. Whenever I can, I attend seminars or conferences alike that will add to my professional knowledge.

Last night, I attended an excellent one run by The International Association of Arson Investigators at the Police Forensics Laboratory in Macleod in Melbourne. For the very modest cost of $20, we were provided the choice of a hot meal, followed by coffee. The reason I raise this is that the cost should not be an issue.

What was the key reason for attending was 4 excellent speakers from the Victorian Institute of Forensic Medicine. While there were well over 100 attendees, I was personally disappointed that there were no loss adjusters present where as 20 years ago there would have been 10-15.

Good claims adjusters cannot be arm chair detectives, and while they should never pretend to be something they are not, they should be satisfying themselves that the reports they receive are credible and is in keeping with their own observations.

It has been quite a week for me in reflection as to how we can do things better as an industry, which again flows from the Mansfield Awards last week and the work we have been doing on ClaimsComparison.com.

One of the issues I had to confront was whether or not my membership of the Australasian Institute of Chartered Loss Adjusters was value for money, and when I considered the cost vs the benefit, it was overwhelmingly apparent that my subscription was better spent elsewhere. This again, was extremely disappointing for me as I was the deputy president of the Australasian division of the Chartered Institute of Loss Adjusters and along with the then committee worked extremely hard to merge three separate loss adjusting associations. Instead of it raising the standard of the profession, it appears to me we have slid down below the lowest common denominator.

I will retain my membership of the Chartered Institute of Loss Adjusters out of the United Kingdom, the International Institute of Claims Preparers and work with The Financial Services School to develop a comprehensive course for claims professionals.

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Latest claims rating now available

As an addendum to the Mansfield Awards which were presented last week in Sydney (see here for article), I am pleased to advise that the latest claims ratings as determined by complaint data recorded by the Financial Ombudsmen Service, where appropriate, and insured feedback and our regular survey are now available at www.ClaimsComparison.com.

As always, I encourage people to consider the claims service when purchasing insurance and not relying on price alone.

Policy coverage and claims service and financial strength rating are all VERY important criteria when choosing the insurance program that is protecting your assets or those of your client. 

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Mansfield Awards kick off in Sydney

Last night I was extremely pleased to witness the great response that The Mansfield Awards received from all those who attended.

The night started with a video of an insured who went through a major fire and was so appreciative of the support he received from the insurance industry to allow him to put his “baby” and life back together.

This was followed by the evening’s MC, Martin McAvenna who really nailed the reason behind the awards which were to recognise the often unsung heroes of the insurance industry, the claims teams, and to start pushing the need to move the focus away from the price of insurance to quality products backed by good claims service.

Mark Doepel, partner at Sparke Helmore and Chairman of Lloyd’s Australia kept up the very high standard with an excellent presentation on Lord Mansfield and why it is so fitting that the awards were named after the Chief Justice who enshrined Good Faith as an underlying principle in insurance back in 1766.

The first awards were presented by Mr Vivek Bhatia who was representing the first of our two major sponsors, iCare, who announced the winner of the SME category, with the winner Chubb Insurance and the Specialty category with NTI taking the award.

Martin then introduced a short video on the Amal Mulia Orphanage where all funds raised from the evening will be donated to. Both insurance news and LMI Group donated all their time to this important cause and therefore all monies by way of sponsorship and ticket sales over and above the cost of physically running the event will go to this very worthwhile charity.

Our second sponsor for the event was Steadfast, who was represented by Samantha Hollman to present the awards for Corporate Property & Casualty with the winner Berkshire Hathaway Specialty Insurance and Personal Lines category, Allianz Australia Limited.

I then had the opportunity to speak and I stressed the need to continue to invest in our claims teams and their service providers, such as loss adjusters, investigators and the like, and that the evaluation of these services purely on price is equally as silly as buying insurance on price alone. One of the big issues facing the industry is training and recruitment and the government with their changes to the 457 Visa is putting enormous stress on the loss adjusting fraternity in particular, with 34 adjusters in Australia operating on a 457 visa with another 14 in negotiations.

But, the night was more about the positives and I congratulated all winners and finalists, all of whom deserve to be on the finals list, before Terry thanked everyone involved in putting it together, in particular, Madison Seymour from Insurance News, Ashleigh White and Andrew Pitts from LMI Group, our MC, Martin McAvenna and keynote speaker, Mark Doepel.

Then the final pleasing duty was to announce the overall winner of The Gold Mansfield Award for the best claims team in Australia, as Chubb Insurance Australia. Just jumping above finalists Insurance Australia Limited and Vero.

Speaking to people after the event, it is clear that they were so pleased to see so many senior executives from the industry to attend and support their part of the insurance industry and their strong support for this to become an annual calendar event which both Insurance News and LMI Group are committed to.

Today, ClaimsComparison will be updated to reflect all the survey results in 20 classes of insurance, to learn more please visit: www.claimscomparison.com


The categories and their nominees and winners (highlighted gold) were:

Personal Lines




Defence Service Homes



GT Global


Terri Scheer




Capricorn Mutual


Insurance Australia Limited via their brands NRMA, RACQ, RACV, SGIC



Berkshire Hathaway Specialty Insurance

FM Global




The Gold Mansfield


Insurance Australia Limited


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