Bob Eccles, Executive Loss Adjuster (Private Clients) at McLarens in Manchester tells us all about his role.
“I have over 30 years of experience in the insurance industry, having worked for GAB Robins, Crawfords, and Criterion, before recently re-joining McLarens on 12th July 2021.
My first working day at McLarens on Monday 12th July coincided with the London floods, and my first day on appointments was on that very Thursday. Instead of following the usual practice of spending two weeks on training courses, induction sessions and meetings with colleagues, I was literally in at the deep end seeing flood claims for the last two days of the week, staying over in London. My first visit was to a member of a Middle Eastern royal family home where two floors below ground were flooded!
On each claim I had to assess the requirements of the policyholder for assistance, such as in respect of drying equipment, as well as contractors to undertake strip out works. Where claim costs are considerable, a surveyor will also be appointed as well. I had to relay these findings back to my support assistant on each loss so as to co-ordinate the specialist suppliers that were available, and also call insurers on each claim where this was a large loss, as the reserves of some of the claims exceeded £0.5M. Issues that had to be managed included alternative accommodation, not only for the Insured but also in respect of household staff, many of whom lived on site. Some families were away on summer holiday at the time and interviews were sometimes difficult where the staff that gave me access had little knowledge of English.
The contents of the flooded areas were predominantly irreparably damaged, having been inundated with not only rainwater but also sewerage, and arrangements had to be made to remove these and also sanitise the affected areas as soon as possible.
Each property had it’s own features, and each Insured also had their own individual needs, so our assistance was tailored to the client accordingly. We had cases where strip outs had to be undertaken straight away, and the Insured had to move out for 6-9 months. In another case, a temporary kitchen has been installed to the first floor, as the basement housing the kitchen is inaccessible for months, and this allowed the Insured to continue to occupy their home. For some cases, repairs are being delayed until next year when the owners are leaving their homes for the summer, so as to minimise disruption. Guidance on all the above measures is provided on each claim as circumstances dictate.
In between appointments I was keeping contact with my assistant to organise the appointment of suppliers and also arrange visits for the next day.
By the time I reached the hotel in London I was ready for a nice meal and a beer in a local hotel, where I was able to relax and read my book so as to make sure I was ready for the busy day ahead seeing more flood victims.
The weekend was spent catching up with family and a nice jog by the river to unwind, before having to write all the Preliminary reports for insurers at the beginning of the next week. I worked long into the evening on Monday to ensure all the reports were ready to go to insurers, as I was on leave Tuesday afternoon and Wednesday morning to attend my daughter’s graduation in Winchester. Alan Titchmash was the Chancellor and hosted the ceremony in the cathedral, and Craig Revel-Horwood was given an honorary doctorate and also gave a speech packed with good humour. A celebratory dinner at The Ivy in Winchester rounded off an exceptionally busy few days.
Whilst this isn’t just a single day in the life of a loss adjuster, I hope this gives a flavour of some of the more exciting challenges we face during surge events.”