Funding cuts to universities – how shortsighted is this?

It will come as no surprise that I am completely against the Federal Government reducing funding to universities by a staggering $2 billion.

As many readers know, I have been working extremely hard for quite some time to set up a Master of Insurance Law and Practice degree at Victoria University, Melbourne. This I do in the hope it will assist the insurance industry and those professionals that work in it. Not only in Australia,  but also in Asia Pacific.

This of course is not the first cut that universities have suffered under this government. Already nearly $4 billion has been slashed.

I cannot believe that any government that has the long term good of the nation at heart would take this sort of short term, Mao style, approach to the education of our young adults. Perhaps their plan is that  if there are more uneducated people in the community there is more chance they will vote for them.

Of course it is not just the government, but also the independents that are supporting these cuts. I urge every voter to really think about what this does for our country, our economy, our industries, the next generation and beyond, when they go to the ballot box later this year.

I compare this retrograde step with the vision of Charles Hoadley, who was so instrumental in the formation of what is today Victoria University or the political opposition that the far sighted then Chief Minister of the Northern Territory, Paul Everingham suffered to set up Charles Darwin University. It was the strength of men and women such as these that have gone on to create 22 of the world’s best universities in Australia.

I end by saying that this is the 299th posting I have made this year but this one has taken more edits than any other to get past my self censoring process. You are certainly reading the toned down version! They are, however, my personal views and not necessarily those of either Victoria University, or my employer.

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Feature in BRW Magazine

I was honoured to be chosen to represent Victoria University in an article on higher degrees that appeared in this week’s BRW Magazine. To read the full article by Leo D’Angelo Fisher please go to: http://www.brw.com.au/p/sections/focus/mba_take_it_to_the_next_level_B7INNY3g7cBYzYAAzpzAZO

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Encouraging news out of the APEC Summit

Adam Matteson of Arch Underwriting at Lloyd’s who is on the Victoria University’s Master of Insurance Law and Practice degree Program Advisory Board with me, wrote saying that he felt that the push at the APEC meeting regarding the recognition of tertiary education being recognised across borders is very welcome news.

What I understand is that various Ministers and education officials have already agreed on key elements of a program for the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (“APEC”) economies that includes sharing best practices, increasing transparency and quality assurance, accreditation, cross-border exchange and data collection.

I agree that this will certainly assist with the work that we are doing in developing the high level technical insurance degree which is not only for the Australian insurance industry but the Asia Pacific region as well which in many cases is finding a much greater need for general insurance as their economies develop.

To learn more about the degree which starts with a graduate certificate, please visit http://www.vu.edu.au/courses/graduate-certificate-in-insurance-law-and-practice-btip or write to me.

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End of Financial Year – Big issues for 2012-2013

The 2012 financial year was interesting to say the least. It ended with wonderful news for us at LMI in that 2 of our staff had children this week.

First up Prasad a senior researcher in LMI RiskCoach division had a baby girl on Tuesday 26th June. Today, Gloria, our graphic artist who works in both our IT division and LMI Media had a baby boy.

I wish both children live long healthy, happy and prosperous lives. They got the first part right, they chose wonderful parents.

When you think of year end it is time to check the score card and I am pleased to say that LMI Australia continues to grow. This year it was 31% over the previous year while over the past 5 years, LMI Group Australia has more than trebled. This makes the organisation one of the fastest growing private companies in Australia. This is on top of the New Zealand and Singapore operations and our first year’s operation in South Africa and the United Kingdom all of which have been successful. In this coming financial year we will also be taking our eServices to Ireland, Papua New Guinea and the big one, the United States. I travel to Europe and the US for a few weeks at the beginning of August to assist.

This could only happen with the work of a very hard working dedicated team members in Claim Services, Knowledge Management, LMI PolicyComparison, IT, LMI Media, Training and Publications, finance and support  and I thank them one and all.

My last comment on the past financial year is that it was the year that I introduced this blog. I have been overwhelmed by the support and feedback I have received and was blown away that over the last week the readership doubled again from what was already way above what I had hoped for. Thank you readers for your support and for sharing the posts with your friends and colleagues. As an aside, it was a real surprise to see so many people come from Facebook to the site. Nearly 4 times as many as LinkedIn.

The 2012-2013 financial year sees the end of Fire Service Levy in Victoria and hopefully progress on its removal in New South Wales. I will do my best here but have not forgotten Tasmania and New Zealand where all taxes on insurance need to be removed to protect insureds, the communities and the economy. The issue of the transition of the fire service levy in Victoria needs urgent attention as I have repeatedly explained in my postings.

The Carbon Tax comes in from tomorrow and I just want to remind readers that I expect the cost of all building materials to increase. Even humble plaster board causes an enormous amount of carbon dioxide to be produced during its manufacture. To learn more of the expected increase in the cost of reinstatement and replacement please see http://www.allanmanning.com/?p=1350.

At the request of a large number of broker users of LMI PolicyComparison, LMI will be introducing LMI ClaimsComparison within the next few months. The Insurers that we have discussed it with in the main have also been supportive as they seek to genuinely improve their service. I will advise more on this and the criteria that is being included in the comparison shortly. What you can count on is that like LMI PolicyComparison, the price of insurance will not be one of the criteria.

Finally, the new Master of Insurance Law and Practice kicks off this month with a number of keen students already signed up. I wish all of them the very best of luck. If you put in the work you will come out with a thorough technical understanding and a high quality degree.

I have posted a number of articles this week and I hope you find them interesting and informative.

 

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Victoria University Program Advisory Board Holds First Meeting

It was extremely pleasing to host the historic first meeting of the Master of Insurance Law and Practice, Program Advisory Board at Victoria University’s Law School on Thursday evening.

Despite it being a cold wet Melbourne evening, senior people representing a very broad cross-section of the insurance community attended and provided very useful feedback and information on the direction they would like the course to take.

The emphasis of the course will focus on, as per the original strategy, strong technical insurance training. In fact, other than the research component where the student will be encouraged to complete a work or insurance industry-related topic, it will be possible for the student to study purely general insurance-related subjects.

The first students have enrolled with another 40 showing interest in the course, which starts in a few short weeks.

Having said this, it is not too late to enrol. To learn more please go to http://www.vu.edu.au/courses/graduate-certificate-in-insurance-law-and-practice-btip or contact me direct.

The University provides great flexibility and those wishing to do insurance electives as part of another degree such as law, an MBA or virtually any other can tap into the program.

I thank the Program Advisory Board members for their invaluable input and support and look forward to working with them to deliver a world class pos- graduate insurance degree.

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Building an insurance library for all – Can you help?

I have been a bit of Bowerbird when it comes to books on insurance. I have retained every one used through my studies and have purchased a large number over the years. I find them useful as I go back to them time and time again for some reason or other.

When I was with GAB Robins in Melbourne during the 1990s, Mrs Iris Salmon, who worked with me and was a great educator within the loss adjusting fraternity, gave me her and her husband’s entire library once they retired and moved into their retirement home. When I left the company to start up LMI, I was not sure if Iris had given the books to me personally or to the company. It never mattered to this point. I was unsure and so I left them behind.

A few years later, I received a phone call from one of the GAB team advising that the Melbourne office was changing locations and as the new premises were not as big, the then manager had decided to dump the entire library and it was in a dumpster. I rushed into the city to explain the importance of the collection and to offer to buy it. By the time I got there, the dumpster was gone and the books on a very wide range of insurance subjects were gone forever. I really cried. To me, it was such a waste.

I also missed out on a huge collection of articles and papers which were thrown out by another great student of insurance when he retired. I am sure that many others collections of people who have retired or died have been similarly lost. The trouble is that much of this material is extremely difficult to find and yet can be invaluable to those that remain in the industry.

On the other hand I have been blessed with the donation of some wonderful books that have been given to me. The biggest collection was 55 archive boxes of books given to me by Zurich Insurance when they merged the head office of Associated Marine into their Melbourne operation. They knew I would like after the books and put them to good use. To make the most of this generous act, I am having this collection plus all of my own catalogued and there will shortly be a link to the entire database of books, magazines, articles etc from the LMI Group website and this blog so that anyone within the insurance industry or elsewhere that needs access will be able to gain it.

Last week Mrs Pamela Spratt, the widow of Walter Spratt, the highly regarded insurance expert, kindly gave me all the books and articles that Walter had in their home. This was very kind of her and to me it is helping build a very important resource. Mrs Spratt who baked some delicious scones for my visit and we had a good chat. She and her family were very pleased that the books were going to a good home and would be well looked after and used and not end up in some op shop or in a council tip.

Others too have been kind and passed on insurance books etc and these include Max Salveson, Ivan Vojlay, Martin Walker, The Australasian Institute of Chartered Loss Adjusters, Tony Morgan (with copies of his books), and John Quinn. John replaced my copy of Peverett on Insurance Claims which was borrowed by someone and not returned. In fact, I have lost more copies of this book than any other I have ever owned.

The library is proving of great benefit as Associate Professor Neil Myhre and I as we develop and write the course material for the new Master of Insurance Law and Practice. It will also be of use to the students.

Could I ask that if you have, or know someone who has, insurance text books, articles, lecture notes, old tarrifs, journals and or the histories of any insurer or entity from the insurance entity that they no longer need and or would like to donate to this library please let me know and I will arrange its collection and cataloguing.  To contact  me please use the “Contact Me” button above.

One of the series of books I am trying to a full set of is “Insurance in Australasia”. This is a yearbook of who was trading in insurance during that year. Once I have a complete set, I intend to complete a family tree of births, mergers, demergers, name changes, and departures of all the insurers in the Australian and New Zealand markets from 1900, which I have been working on for some time.

We already have by far and away the largest collection of insurance policies (over 13,000) in www.policycomparison.com but again if you have any or know of anyone that does have some old ones tucked away, please let me know. We do not want any of this material to be lost. By the way, we are now building this policy library for other countries as well.

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Was this the most important court decision of the 20th Century?

Today, May 26 2012, is the 80th anniversary of what (to me) is the most important judgment to the insurance industry delivered in the 20th Century.  While this case is introduced in the most basic of law studies, many fail to appreciate the momentous change that the decision heralded.

While five Law Lords of the English House of Lords decided the case, the ruling by one, an Australian by birth, is what, in effect, changed the law on negligence so dramatically.

The case itself was over such as a humble matter involving a claim for only £500. It was brought by an impoverished single mother, and part-time shop assistant, who did not have £5 to her name outside her clothes and the action itself. In other words, a pauper in the eyes of the law.

Background

On the 26th August 1928, Mrs May Donoghue (nee McAllister), who resided at the time with her brother in Kent Street Glasgow, was invited by a female friend to a night out at the Wellmeadow Cafe, Paisley.

Mrs Donoghue’s host ordered the popular ginger beer floater. This was a large tumbler with 2 or 3 scoops of ice cream. The owner, Mr Francis Minchella, then filled the glass of ice cream with ginger beer from a black glass bottle supplied by the nearby drink maker, D. Stevenson. Stevenson’s factory was only 600 metres from the café in Glen Lane, Paisley.

The ever-attendant owner of the café, Mr Minchella, returned and topped up the glass and as he tipped up the bottle (what is described as) a decomposed snail fell into the glass.

The best known photograph of the Wellmeadow Café.

Mrs Donoghue was extremely upset and later complained of stomach pain and 3 days later she visited her doctor who diagnosed her as having gastroenteritis and being in a state of severe shock. She later attended the Glasgow hospital as she did not fully recover from the initial visit to her doctor.

How the snail got into the bottle is not explained in the court documents but in his submission, the lawyer acting for Mrs Donoghue, states that snails and the tracks of snails can be seen at the factory operated by Stevenson. I would expect that the snail has got into the empty bottle while it was sitting the yard waiting to be filled.

The Law at this Time

Up until this point in time, the law was such that only where there was a contract between the manufacturer and consumer. In fact, only 3 weeks before, the same lawyer, Walter Leechman of W G Leechman & Co, situated less than 1 mile from Mrs Donoghue’s brother’s home, who ultimately agreed to take on Mrs Donoghue’s case had failed in two similar cases where it was alleged that a mouse was found in a bottle of a fizzy drink. These were Mullen v. Barr & Co. Ltd.  & M’Gowan v. Barr & Co. Ltd. ([1929] S.C. 461).

The man who believed in social justice, lawyer Walter Leechman

Lord Norman acted as trial counsel for Mr David Stevenson and asked that the matter be thrown out of the courts on the grounds that it showed no course of action. In the Court of Session (the first court to hear the matter) the Lord Ordinary, Lord Moncrieff, disagreed and found in favour of May Donoghue. But, on appeal,  Stevenson  won 3 – 1 in the Second Division with the majority of judges following their own decision in Barr judgments. In effect, they reaffirmed their earlier position that that the manufacturer of the soft drink owed no duty of care to the end consumer; only to the person such as the café owner or shop keeper. Interestingly, in both cases the single judge in the first instance found in favour of the claimants.

With consumer protection laws the way they are today, it staggers me that this was the position in the United Kingdom, Australia, New Zealand, Canada and the United States at the time that my own father was born.

For the law to have been challenged toward the consumer during the great depression is equally of interest and demonstrates the depth of feeling of Leechman for social justice.

The Legal Obstacle to Overcome

In summary:

  • Although there was a contractual  relationship between the café owner and  Ms Donoghue’s friend, the friend had not been harmed by the ginger beer.
  • No contract existed between café owner and Ms Donoghue.
  • Ms Donoghue had to prove negligence
  • Café owner Minchella was not negligent, he did not manufacture the drink nor did he fill the bottle
  • Ms Donoghue would have to prove negligence against the manufacturer David Stevenson to obtain any compensation.

What Unfolded

Believing the existing law to be an unjust state of affairs, lawyer Leechman, who must have had a heightened regard for social justice, decided to test the position in the House of Lords.

Despite the importance of the House of Lords, the petition shows McAllister spelt incorrectly!

The document signed by Ms Donoghue stating she is a pauper.

It is my belief that he did not run either the Mullen or M’Gowan matters even though they were similar events as it would have meant the plaintiff would have had to stump up a sizeable amount of funds as security to cover the legal fees of Barr and Co. Ltd. should the appeal fail. By selecting Ms Donoghue’s case and petitioning the court that she be permitted to prosecute her “Appeal in forma  pauperis” [Latin, In the character or manner of a pauper] the need to put up the security was avoided.

Leechman took Donoghue’s case to the House of Lords less than four weeks after he had failed in his attempt to, in his eye right the law, with the two cases against Barr & Co. Ltd. He himself did the case pro-bono and located barristers who also agreed to prosecute the appeal at no cost to Donoghue.

The petition to hear the case was granted by the House of Lords and it went to trial on 9th September 1931. Five Law Lords heard the case. They were Lords Buckmaster, Atkin, Tomlin, Thankerton, and Macmillan. It is Brisbane born Lord Atkin whose judgement changed so dramatically the law of tort.

The Law Lords that heard Donahue v Stevenson. I have circled Brisbane born Lord Atkin

Leechman ran a very narrow argument setting out his belief that a manufacturer that puts a product on the market (in a fashion that it is to be served in the container in which it is sold) has a duty to ensure that it is fit for human consumption (i.e. that it is fit for purpose).

I am not sure if Leechman was aware of it, but Lord Atkin had delivered a paper approximately 5 months before in which he set out his position on English Law.

In his talk, Lord Atkin stated that in his opinion: “It has always been the position in English Law that it has ingrained in it the moral sense, that it lays down standards of honesty and plain dealing between man and man.”

He went on to say that: “He is not to injure his neighbour by acts of negligence and that certainly covers a very wide field of the law. I doubt if the whole of the law of tort could not be comprised in the golden maxim to do unto your neighbour as you would have him do unto you’.

The paper that Lord Atkin delivered 5 months before his famous decision in Donoghue v Stevenson

Many believe that Lord Atkin drew his inspiration for this from the Christian parable of the Good Samaritan and this may be correct. The fact is, however, that statements that mirror the do unto others approach to society can be found in virtually every religion. As such, it does have extremely wide appeal.

The Important Ruling

In his written judgment in the Donoghue v Stevenson case, which as I said at the start of this post, he delivered on 26 May 1932 , Lord Atkin started with a summary of the existing law:

If one man is near to another or near to the property of another a duty lies on him not to do that which may cause a personal injury to that other or that may injure his property. “

Lord Atkin, using the concepts that he had outlined in his speech at King’s College London, then merged these with the current legal position and espoused that neighbourhood was a mental rather than a physical state and that those like David Stevenson must have those who use your product in your mind when manufacturing a product.

If one man is near to another or near to the property of another, a duty lies on him not to do that which may cause a personal injury to that other or that may injure his property.”

 He then went on and outlined his famous neighbour principle.

You must take reasonable care to avoid acts or omissions which you can reasonably foresee would be likely to injure your neighbour.”

These words have a very broad meaning. For example, a large supermarket opening next to a general store or a large warehouse-style hardware store opening in the same town as a much smaller hardware store will cause the smaller store an “injury”. I return to this point shortly but I would make the point at this time that Lord Atkin’s words state that not only “acts” that can be brought to account but also “omissions” to act. (I started to go off here and explain the difference between nonfeasance and misfeasance but will safe that for next week.)

Nineteen pages later in the ruling written in beautiful English prose, Lord Atkin explained who your neighbour is when it came to exercising reasonable care to protect them.  In this regard, he stated:

Persons work are so closely and directly affected by my act that I ought reasonably to have them in contemplation as being so effected when I am directing my mind to the acts of omissions which are called into question.”

 The test was not on the extent of the damage, but whether there was a sufficient proximate relationship to the person suffering a financial loss. Another way of looking at this is that it moved the position of a neighbour from someone who is physically close to you to someone who is or ought to be in your mind.

Significance

The significance of the judgement is that in this one ruling Lord Atkin swept up all the existing torts (a tort being a civil wrong) such as the Tort of Nuisance, the Tort of Trespass, the Tort of Conversation and others and taking what most accept is the great noble idea not to injure your neighbour and created a new general law within English law of the Tort of Negligence. A principle that could be used in any case subject to limits.

Going back to the issue of the opening of a new larger store next to or in the vicinity of a smaller one. There is nothing in Lord Atkin’s judgment that limits a right for damages to only those involving physical damage or injury. Some argued that it applied to pure economic losses as well. The big struggle that continues to this day is to find ways within reason to limit claims for pure economic loss such as the store opening situation and yet provide protection where it is appropriate, for example a dredge digging up an under-sea cable as occurred in the Australian matter of Caltex Oil (Australia) Pty Ltd v The Dredge ‘Willemstad’ [1976] 136 CLR 529 or where a auditor has failed in their duty as was found in Hedley Byrne & Co Ltd v Heller & Partners Ltd [1964] AC 465.

On the other hand, in our capitalist society you cannot expect people to gratutously not develop new ideas, produce new products, open new factories or shops just because it may hurt a competitor. The bulk of society and the economy would suffer as a result of Lord Atkin’s decision was taken to the extreme.

Initially, in the Anns v Merton London Borough Council [1978] A.C. 728 the House of Lords established a broad test for determining the existence of a duty of care in the tort of negligence and this became known as the Anns test or sometimes the two-stage test. The High Court of Australia disagreed with this approach and would not adopt it. In Canada they did agree with it.

However, in the years that followed the Anns case, the House of Lords backed away from the Anns approach and instead decided on a more category-based reasoning. The test was finally put to rest in the United Kingdom with the case of Murphy v Brentwood District Council [1991] 1 AC 398.

The Canadians, rightly or wrongly, are still relying on the Anns approach.

Lord Macmillians agreed with Atkin and added, as part of his reasons for finding in favour of Donoghue as well, that:

The categories of negligence are never closed.”

With these words, he deserves his share of the credit for changing the law so dramatically and for the ongoing struggle to place reasonable limits – in particular, in cases of pure economic loss.

While Mrs Donoghue was awarded damages, the amount is a pittance compared to the billions of dollars that have since been awarded where the plaintiff has been successful in proving that their someone owed them a duty of care; that the person has breached that duty of care and as a result of that breach they have suffered injury or damage.

Tribute to the Importance of Donoghue v Stevenson

So much has developed from this one case such as the concept of consumerism that in 1990, a Memorial to the case was, unveiled by Lord Mackay of Clashfern in front of legal figures from around the Commonwealth who travelled to the site of Mr Minchella’s cafe.

What I like is that in the park bench beside the memorial, the designers have incorporated bottles.

In yet another twist of fate that threads itself right through this case is the fact that in the Thomas Coates Memorial Church directly across the road from the memorial is a marble monument to the parable to the Good Samaritan that inspired Lord Atkin in the first place.

The fact that I remembered that it is the 80th anniversary of Lord Aitkin’s decision is due to my reviewing this and many other cases in preparation for one of the introductory subjects in the Master of Insurance Law and Practice degree that I am the course director of that will commence in July this year. To learn more of the course, please go to: http://www.vu.edu.au/courses/graduate-certificate-in-insurance-law-and-practice-btip.

Lord Atkin

Baron Atkin in 1939 near the end of his life.

I finish with a quick biography of Lord Atkin. He was born James Richard Atkin on 28 November 1867 of Welsh-born parents in Brisbane.
His father, Robert, with his wife, Mary, came to Australia to operate a sheep station. Atkin’s father was injured in a horse riding accident about one year into the venture and they moved to Brisbane where James and two younger brothers were born.

In 1871, his mother left his father and returned to the Wales with the young Atkin and his two siblings. Atkins father died in Brisbane within a year.

Atkin is regarded as one of two great English judges of the 20th Century (Lord Denning being the other). When I first read Lord Atkin’s judgement in Donoghue v Stevenson (1932) All ER Rep 1 back in my twenties, I immediately understand why he was so rated.

While he only lived in Australia for the first few years of his life, I claim him as ours!

Was the change of law really necessary?

As I was reading all the material on the case, I went to Google Maps and looked at the location of the Bethany Café in Wellmeadow Place, Paisley and also at the location of D. Stevenson’s factory in Glen Lane, Paisley. As the crow flies, they are less than 600 metres apart. The question then raises itself, was not the Bethany Café, and all who visited the establishment, neighbours of Mr Stevenson. If so, the matter should have succeeded under the existing law. In view of the ramifications that Donoghue v Stevenson brought I am glad Lord Atkin did not have access to the internet in his day.

The humble snail that changed the law

 

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Preview of this weeks postings

It has been a big week for both LMI and I this week. I was part of a training program that has been travelling around Australia and this week we delivered sessions in Newcastle, Canberra and Sydney. The concept is a mock trial involving matters based on real cases. I do not want to say more as it has next week to run in Hobart, Melbourne, Adelaide and Perth and I do not want to give away any of the surprises. What I can say it has been very well received.

I also spoke at back to back conferences in South Australia, namely the NAS and Insight. Besides delivering a paper at both I also took part in a industry panel session which covered many interesting topics. I cover off on one in this week’s postings.

The Course Advisory Board for the new Master of Insurance Law and Practice degree is now fully subscribed and it was pleasing to me as the course director that every person that was approached agreed to participate. I thank them all in their support which I am sure will ensure the course is beneficial to the insurance industry.

Home page www.policycomparison.co.uk

The big news this week, however, was the launch of LMI’s flagship product, PolicyComparison.com into the United Kingdom market at the British Insurance Brokers Association. Steve Manning, Product Manager for BIcalcualtor which he launched so successfully this time last year at the same conference  handled the launch on my behalf due to my pre-existing speaking commitments. Early reports suggest the product was very well received.

Topics in this week’s postings include questions on removing co-insurance and accommodation bonds, as well as an article on the recent High Court decision involving the responsibility of retailers and finally, sanity preserve us, Tasmania joined the Federal and Victorian Governments in adding yet another financial burden on those that insure.

I end by recording my sincere condolances to the wife, family and friend of Vin Gallagher who passed away on Saturday. I had the privilege of working with Vin at GAB Robins and with him on claims where he was the loss adjuster and I the claims preparer. He was top in his field and a thorough gentlemen and  his passing is a great loss to the Australian insurance industry.

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Where Does All the Knowledge Go? Give It a New Home!

With insurance being such a complex product, you never stop learning and we build our knowledge from the shoulders of those that came before.

Recently I have had the need to ring a senior insurance expert for advice and have learnt that they have retired and while they are still happy to assist where they can, they have advised me that they have dumped all the reference files that they had built up over a lifetime.

This is not a new phenomenon. It is often at the insistence of their spouse or just a need to make a symbolic break from the past that they make the trip to the recycle centre.

The first time I came across this was nearly 18 years ago. John and Iris Salmon, both very talented loss adjusters and very supportive educators for the Chartered Institute of Loss Adjusters, had an large collection of text books and articles. With downsizing their home to spend their retirement on the Mornington Peninsula, Iris came to my office, at that time with one of the international loss adjusting firms, and said she would like me to have them. I gratefully took the books and added them to the firms library which I put into a room, which I named the Iris and John Salmon Library.

When I left the firm to start my own practice, I had to make the call as to whether the books and article collection from Iris and John were given to me or to the firm. I have always tried to do the right thing and so I decided it was probably in my position as the regional leader of the firm, rather than to me personally, that the books were donated and so I left them all behind.

About 3 years after I left the company, the new management decided to move offices and as the new offices were smaller, they decided to trash the library and had them put into a mini skip for dumping. One of the staff rang me to say what was happening and I rushed into the city to offer to buy the lot, only to find that the books and articles, all cross-referenced, and very difficult to replace, were gone. I know that some of the books were over £400 to buy back in the early 1990s.

At LMI, we have an extensive library of books, insurance articles and insurance policies. With the articles and policies, we scan them and have them online so that they are available to students and a valuable resource to the industry. Any books that we have duplicated, we donate to the Victoria Univesity Library who are, themselves, building a good insurance library.

It was equally heartbreaking to hear, as I did twice last week, that a large important collection has again been lost by someone who had recently retired, throwing away their collection.

On the other hand, I would publicly like to thank Interlink in WA, Karl Barduras in Queensland, Ivan Vojlay, Max Salveson and David Goodlad who have kindly donated policies, insurance texts and articles to our insurance library.

Before you throw anything out, no matter how old or seemingly out-of-date, please let me know and one of the LMI team will collect and store it. Naturally, you will have access to your own material, and the entire library, should you ever require it.

You can be assured it will be given a good home and be put to very good use in that it will be helping train future generations of insurance professionals.

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Sad Passing of Sir Zelman Cowen

As some of you know I am a Research Fellow at Victoria Univesity and am attached in that capacity to the Sir Zelman Cowen Centre. It with this background that I join the staff and students of the Sir Zelman Cowen Centre in mourning the death of Sir Zelman Cowen, AK GCMG GCVO QC, who passed away on 8 December 2011.

Sir Zelman’s lifelong commitment to education was demonstrated by his involvement with Victoria University

Sir Zelman Cowen, remembered with fondness

from its earliest days, and, in particular, his strong support for the Victoria Law School. Sir Zelman remained a staunch friend of the University throughtout his long and illustrous life and his contribution is acknowledged in naming the Sir Zelman Cowen Centre in his honour.

For those, who do not know much of him, Sir Zelman was one of Australia’s most distinguished jurists. He was born in St Kilda, Melbourne  in 1919, and studied Law at Oxford University.

From 1951, he was Professor of Public Law and Dean of the Faculty of Law at Melbourne University. He was knighted in 1976 and appointed Governor-General of Australia in 1977.

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