Staying Safe

The LMI Melbourne office was originally built as a small factory and then utilised as a warehouse and later partially converted to offices before it was acquired by LMI as its Melbourne base.

Over the years, the building has been slowly refurbished, including the removal of all asbestos and being in the risk and insurance business, we have been careful to always comply with the best safety standards as well as ensuring the building is as energy efficient as possible.

This has involved so many aspects such as solar, and of course, insulation of the building. When upgrading the insulation in the last part of the building, fortunately we have steered well clear of any foam or foam paneling in any of the construction. I find in my research that I’ve done along with several of our customers in the UK particularly, I would certainly be removing any type of foam paneling whether this be EPS or polyethylene cladding.

I was concerned when we did a face lift on the front of the building, where the architect had requested aluminium paneling for an awning and encased existing concrete columns that this may include foam but i’m not only relying on the specifications of the material but in physically inspecting the back and side of the columns I was relieved to see that there was no foam in behind the aluminium.

The purpose of my reporting all of this is just to remind any home or business owners that may be considering remodeling to seriously consider the insulation that you are using and for those with any foam panel insulation to identify the type used and consider its removal and/or the fire detection and prevention in place.

This is not only for the safety of families and employees, but I strongly suspect that the insurance industry will take an even tougher attitude to paneling of all types moving forward.

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Blog Question: Extra Cost of Reinstatement

Hi Allan, 

I am after some advice concerning older buildings and (non existent) open air hardstand areas. 

  • Their land size may be big enough to cater for, but because of the buildings age they do not have designated concreted or sealed car parks. 
  • Or their site size may not allow for in the event of a rebuild after a total loss. 

Understandably building regulations have now changed and local councils require new commercial properties to have adequate sealed open air hardstands for their size.

Where do we allow for such and how do we calculate a sum insured?  Can we insure for property that currently doesn’t exist?

I look forward to hearing back from you.


Leesa [Surname and Email provided]


My reply was:

Hi Leesa

First up top marks for identifying the risk.

With the sum insured / declared value you only should include the current replacement value of what was there. You do not include the extra cost of reinstatement (under most policies).

This is insured separately as a first loss (not subject to average) sub-limit.

On what this value should be you may need to involve a town planner to advise on the current requirements and then a good local builder or quantity surveyor to cost it.

I  hope this helps.


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Having the right values

I was honoured to be invited to a retirement function for Bruce Mather, who I’ve worked with since the start of LMI Group.

Bruce has had an impressive career with nearly 50 years within the insurance industry and all but 5 of them as an insurance broker.

I was most impressed with his speech in which he always appreciated how much risk his business clients had taken on just starting the business, often mortgaging their homes and putting so much time and energy into developing their business and he took it as a grave responsibility to ensure that they were well protected with their insurance program.

I could see this with the quality of the programs his clients had and the interest that he took in ensuring that his clients received a fair and equitable settlement to any claim. His settlements mirror my own when I take on the responsibility of assisting an insured with a major claim which can undo all the good work of the business owner in literally a heart beat.

I wish Bruce a long, healthy and enjoyable retirement, one that is certainly well earned and deserved.

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Need a good MC?

A good MC can make or break a conference or event.

Over the past three years I have been very impressed with Nathan Strempel who has been a big help in taking the Territory Insurance Conference to the next level.

At this 3 day event he not only MC’s the conference itself but also the opening ceremony, the YIP’s function and the gala dinner. All of which has been handled most professionally.

So if any one is organising an event where they are after a great MC please consider Nathan.

More details can be found at


Nathan is a consummate professional who researches each and every job meticulously. His precision, attention to detail and quick thinking ensures the audience across all levels is engaged from start to finish and always keeps things moving smoothly to plan. As the organiser I was able to sit back, relax and enjoy the conference.
In 2015 Nathan delighted the NT Insurance Industry with an amazing Game of Thrones introduction. He returned by popular demand this year and had the crowd in stitches with his version of The Bachelor -‘The Insurer’. We’re already looking forward to what 2017 will bring…

There is no question who our MC will be next year – do yourself a favour and book Nathan Strempel as MC of your function, you will not be sorry!”

Northern Territory Insurance – 2016


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Should Australia follow the US with Travel Pre-Approval

I caught my first flight following the upgrade of security after the latest terrorism arrests that took place last week.

I was concerned, as when I was called over for explosive testing the official tested two other people I did not know at the same time. Even though I was the first called, he wiped the swab over me last and tested us all with the one swab.

What would have happened if either had traces on them or their baggage and it was then wiped all over mine? It seemed an extremely unprofessional way of doing things which could at worst have severely delayed my travel and worst damaged my reputation if I was caught up at the same time as a terrorist.

It could be that they are just trying to look like they are doing something, but do it properly or do not do it at all.

The airport check in was, of course, a nightmare and I suggest that the government consider introducing a similar system as the United States government with a pre-approval travel system.

For those who travel frequently for business, within Australia and internationally it continues to get harder. We all appreciate the need for security but if you have say an APEC Travel Card which means you have been checked by not only our government but many within Asia, you have no criminal record and are not on any terrorism watch list then allow them to get on with their business and tax paying ability.

The benefits to government and the security system would be:

  • More revenue for government as there would no doubt be a fee to get the pre-approval. I think the APEC Card costs $700 and at present offers absolutely no value within Australia, going in or out at present. The value is in countries that honour the system.
  • It would reduce the congestion currently seen at the airport making it more pleasant for all travelers.
  • It would allow the security officers to focus on those that have not had the stringent security clearance and therefore likely improve detection.

Naturally, I would still suggest a random check of pre-approved travelers and if they were found to be carrying something not permitted they lose their pre-approval status which in itself would be reason to take care of what they take.

While security is the new norm for all our sakes, if the United States, who you would suspect would be one of the highest if not number 1 on the target list, can develop a workable solution, there have been no successful circumventing of the system that has been such to have it disbanded after many years of successful application.

This was the first of 6 flights I am to take between now and Thursday evening. Meanwhile, I am not looking forward to the rest of the week spent in airports. While I do not wish to be difficult, I certainly will not be allowing the explosive test to be conducted with others again. We will see how that goes down.

Oh, and please check your travel insurance to make sure that it has no exclusions for terrorism that may prevent a claim being made for cancellations or heaven forbid something worse.

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US Patents and Trademark Office grant LMI a Trade Mark

LMI Granted Trade Mark in the US

This year is rushing along and we at LMI are certainly not standing still. On top of launching LMI BASIC in the UK last month we are working to launch a new app later this week, an updated version of three of our major products in Australia, New Zealand and the UK AND launch US versions of  LMI and LMI RiskCoach next month.

As the US do things slightly different to the rest of the English speaking world when it comes to insurance, the development of the US versions has meant a great deal of work for the IT and LMI Forensic teams.

Before launching it was important for us to protect our logo and intellectual property and after working on it for nearly a year, I was pleased to receive the Trade Mark certificate today from the US Patents and Trademark Office.

LMI ran with the project after initial advice from lawyers specialising in Intellectual Property (“IP”) protection in the US and Australia. The process did get slowed down when one of the major US insurers, or their lawyers to be technically correct, put up an objection on the very last day of the objection period. We nevertheless worked through their concerns explaining a) we were not competing with them in any shape or form and in fact were assisting them in educating customers and getting the sums insured right which would only be to their advantage and b) our logo looked absolutely nothing like theirs!

At the end of the day, reason won out and the all important trade mark has been granted. After all that we went through, we certainly will be having a little celebration tonight!

We already have the logo and several of our products trademarked in Australia, New Zealand and the United States.

Protecting your intellectual property is something that all businesses need to consider and obtaining the trademark was seen as a key step for us in doing so.

While LMI Legal did a great job for us, their expertise is in insurance and I would recommend Millens in Melbourne who have an expert in IP in their team and who helped us with the unexpected objection and gave us advice that we followed and that worked in getting our certificate.

We continue now with innovation patents where appropriate.


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Latest book – The Great Fire of London – 1666 – The Birth of Modern Fire Insurance.

Front and back covers of The Great Fire of London – The Birth of Modern Fire Insurance

Following the wonderful reception that my book first photobook, Carter v Boehm celebrating the 250th anniversary of Utmost Good Faith received, I returned with Steve Manning’s assistance to my first love, that is, research and writing on insurance and have recently published a second book in the coffee table format/series. This time celebrating the 350th anniversary of the Great Fire of London and how this in turn led to the development of modern fire insurance companies, lead by Nicholas Barbon.

For those of you interested in insurance and/or history, you will be intrigued to note that Barbon also invented the concept of town houses. He was truly a remarkable and innovative man, a medical doctor and politician as well as land developer and insurer.

One of the items in our insurance memorabilia/realia collection is a copy of a policy from 1698 signed by Dr Barbon. A photograph of this features naturally in the book.

The image accompanying this post is of the front and back covers of the book.

If you are attending either the upcoming Steadfast or AIMS conferences, call past the LMI Group booth and have a look at the book or the earlier one on the birth of Good Faith in insurance.

To order either book, please visit

I am already working on the next revisiting Donoghue v Stevenson, the most important case in the 800 years of English Common Law and a non insurance related one on the Normandy Landings in World War II.

No doubt the major conference that I wrote about earlier this week on the history of marine and general insurance will be the source of a future book as well.

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Risk and the Insurance Business in History – The Conference – Save the Date

Knowing how much the people who attended the Carter v Boehm 250th Anniversary conference on Utmost Good Faith enjoyed and learned from that Conference, I am pleased to bring advance notice of a another great event coming mid 2019. This conference will be exploring over four days the history of risk management and the insurance business since its earliest times. This will be a conference of the very highest quality when it comes to learning and technical training.

At a time when many of us are genuinely concerned about the direction of the insurance industry, the lack of trust in us etc, this conference could not come quick enough as we look at our heritage and look to see where we can improve for the future.

The Dates: 11 – 14 June 2019 (Not next year, the year after)

The Venue:  The wonderful campus of UNIA (Universidad Internacional de Andalucía), Seville, situated on the Isla de la Cartuja, in the grounds of a former Carthusian Monastery and Charles Pickman’s ceramics factory, a highly unusual fusion of medieval religious and modern industrial capital. (It is worth attending just for the venue).

The Hosts: Prof. Robin Pearson of Hull University (One of the Key Note speakers at Carter v Boehm Conference) and Prof. Jeroia Pons, University of Seville.

My involvement: I have been asked to be one of an 8 person scientific committee to assist in the conference and in particular seeking session proposals, and promote the event. I am honoured to be involved in such an important event.

So please block your diary, start saving or put it into your budget, you have plenty of time remembering that the cost of attending including fares etc is a legitimate tax deduction.

If you would like to be kept informed of the event as it gets closer and or would be interested in presenting a paper,  please let me know at otherwise I will post more articles on it as it gets closer.






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The importance of damp course

Omd2ne of the common problems that we see in both domestic and commercial situations is when people, perhaps a neighbour, uses an exterior wall of a building as a retaining wall. This can often lead to water problems on the inside of the room on the other side.

This often occurs with brick structures as people think that this can hold back the soil.

What many people don’t actually realise is that bricks themselves are porous. During heavy rain or being buried they can absorb water and it can weep through to the other side. View full post…

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New look to celebrate 5 years of blogging

thanksThis month sees the 5th anniversary of this blog with now over 850 articles published.

I would like to thank all the readers and particularly those that share the articles and/or pose questions and comments. It remains a privilege to share my thoughts, research and knowledge with such a wide and diverse audience.

Two things stand out.

  1. First is just how much I have learned myself by researching answers to questions put to me.
  2. Secondly just how wide the readership is now with people from at over 60 countries reading regularly. Only yesterday I was asked to allow many of the posts to be translated into Slovakian to assist the local industry educate the public on insurance. I naturally agreed immediately.

YouTubeThe blog has also encouraged my son to start becoming a vlogger or video blogger through his series on YouTube called Insurance Bites. He publishes a new video with the help of LMI Media’s Andrew Pitts each Wednesday. If you have not visited the site I encourage you to do so.

I do get a great number of requests for a guest post and while I do permit and encourage this, I do vet the content carefully to ensure it is not a product flog and that the topic is of relevance to the majority of readers in the countries where the bulk of the readership is.

The old site was looking a bit dated so the site has had a refresh.

A very warm thank you to Ashleigh White, Executive Assistant for your work on this.

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