26th October, 2015

The Tail of Tropical Cyclone Olwyn – a claims experience

Perth insurance broker, Bruce Insurance, know they are only as good as the claim service they provide to their clients. When clients appoint brokers to act on their behalf, they not only appoint them for their services in arranging their policies, but arguably, most importantly, they appoint them often in faith, for their support and expertise when a claim does occur. Following his own claim experience with Bruce Insurance, long term client, Alistair Brogan, recently said, “you hear of horror stories and we didn’t experience that.”

Mr Brogan owns and runs a number of properties and businesses – in the accommodation and tourist industry – located in the coastal town of Coral Bay in Western Australia. Tropical Cyclone Olwyn hit the coastal town on 13th March 2015. The cyclone was a severe category 3 when it hit Coral Bay and the surrounding region on the Friday.

Asking Mr Brogan what his main concern was when he heard about the tropical cyclone he said “to be honest, we weren’t really that concerned. We have lots of cyclones come close and always take precautions and lock down, but we haven’t had a cyclone hit in 40 years so it was a lot worse than we expected.” The aftermath was a shock, the cyclone wasn’t really expected to hit with the force it did, and the damage bill to Mr Brogan’s properties totalled approximately $1.5m.

Having been a long term client of Bruce Insurance, Mr Brogan was accustomed to receiving  a high level of service from his Account Manager, and Bruce Insurance Managing Director, Murray Bruce. Speedy contact was made following TC Olwyn hitting Coral Bay allowing a claim to be lodged with the insurer on the same day. In addition to the prompt claim lodgement, Mr Bruce obtained confirmation from the insurer to access additional cover for Claims Preparation Costs on the policy appointing an independent claims preparer. The associated fees for this claims preparation service on behalf of the Insured were covered under the policy. This appointment was a major contributing factor in the success of the claim as highlighted by Mr Brogan “[We found the service] very useful, having someone to fight the battle for us, to have support on our side.”

One of the businesses owned by Mr Brogan suffered significant damage to the steel work and canopy on their charter boat. The repair quotes were emailed to Bruce Insurance on Sunday and the settlement of approximately $30,000 was agreed the next day.

16 weeks after the event – during which time those involved with the claim worked together to obtain all information the insurers required – Mr Brogan received his final settlement. During the course of the claim the insurers provided interim payments to assist with the financial burden on the business. Given the severity of the damage caused to the property by the cyclone and the complex nature of the claim, it was especially remarkable to receive the final settlement in just 16 weeks resulting in minimal interruption to the business.

The whole experience was summed up quite simply by Mr Brogan – “it all went smoothly.”

Author: Murray Bruce