The devil is in the detail

With more than 33 years’ experience in the building industry as a licensed builder and contractor, Morse Building Consultancy’s Andrew Morse says it’s the little things that make the big differences when it comes to investigating and reporting on insurance claims.

If there’s one thing I have learned from my years working in the building and insurance industries, it is the importance of being meticulous as the devil really is in the detail.

It doesn’t matter if the cause of the claim relates to fires, floods, storms, cyclones or any other everyday event, we all know that all insurance claims must be appropriately investigated to facilitate them being resolved in a cost effective, timely and accurate manner for both the insured and the insurer.

A critical aspect of reporting on claims is the investigation, gathering information and evidence both on and off site. Thoroughness and accuracy around what are the basics of the ‘what, where, when, how and who’ ensure we can provide the detailed reports our clients expect from us.

Reports require a level of detail that can not only provide the information required to determine an outcome and stand up if disputed, but also aid in the reduction of additional loss, damage and/or costs caused by delays in being able to get a decision on a claim.

A scope of work should contain enough detail that it can be used as a bill of quantity, providing specific information for tendering which in turn allows for a realistic reserve to be obtained. Having a detailed scope of works can also reduce the chance of cost overruns and builder variations.

The benefits of working with independent building and engineering consultants shouldn’t be underestimated as it not only ensures all reports and/or scope of works are being undertaken without bias or a predetermined outcome, but also eliminates the insured and/or AFCA questioning the impartiality of the decision.

This is vital in the reputation management of any insurance company, as in this day and age of review sites and social media it is not uncommon for aggrieved claimants to unleash on their insurer due to a lack of understanding of the process or worse yet, questioning of the impartiality of the loss adjustor handling their claim.

While there are industry standards and practices to follow when investigating an incident, length of time in the industry is also a critical factor of getting the detail right as nothing can compensate for experience.

A personable approach is also important as our role requires clear communication with the client to explain what our role is, in the process.

I’m also witnessing technology becoming an increasingly important part of site investigations in the industry with the use of drones. While drones are being touted as a cost saving measure in some areas, there is no substitute for industry knowledge and being on the ground to potentially save costly mistakes further down the track. When there is a need for a drone at an inspection, we can provide this service, with the added benefit of it being piloted by a CASA licensed pilot who is a licensed building consultant with extensive experience in the building industry.

Morse Building Consultancy provides unbiased, independent, qualified and experienced licensed building and registered engineering consultants to assist with any kind of claim from the everyday to CAT events.

We have expanded and can now offer our services in Queensland, New South Wales, Victoria, Australian Capital Territory, South Australia, Northern Territory and Tasmania to better support our clients.

About Andrew Morse

Andrew is a trade qualified, licensed carpenter and builder in Queensland, New South Wales, Victoria, Australian Capital Territory, South Australia, Northern Territory and Tasmania.

He founded Action Construction Pty Ltd in 1998 and established the trading name Morse Building Consultancy in 2012 and continues to lead its operation and expansion.

Andrew’s experience provides a vast knowledge-based reference source, which is available to assist both insurers and loss adjusters in resolving claims or private clients resolve disputes.

During his career as a building consultant he has investigated and reported on over 2,100 cases, most of these involving insurance claims, damage to structures and issues of non-compliance.

This experience includes work across cyclones, storms, water damage, fire, building defects, impact from vehicle damage, poor workmanship, flooding, ageing and deterioration, leaks and burst pipes, all giving him a broad skill set in investigating these cases.

Andrew’s experience and knowledge in both the building and insurance industries allows him to offer the further services of project manager, tender assessment and expert witness.