The insurance industry sometimes comes in for some harsh treatment in times of crisis, particularly in the media. As a long-time insider I can say that, in my experience at least, via our parent company Allianz, much of the criticism levelled at the industry can be ill-informed or sometimes simply incorrect. That’s not to say that the motives of some in the industry are not always as benevolent as they might be. But by and large, I maintain that the industry tries to do the right thing by its clients.
Fundamentally, the industry’s role is to provide some peace of mind for its clients. Insurance is all about giving people protection in the event that the unthinkable happens. But in selected areas of the industry, and the marine sector in particular, our role occasionally goes beyond simply processing claims.
I’m speaking here of the recent floods that have swept their way through much of Queensland, Victoria and NSW. Elsewhere in this edition of Club Marine, you will read of our response to the floods and especially the damage wrought on the recreational boating sector in and around Brisbane.
Many members will already have seen the dramatic news footage of boats, pontoons and other debris floating down the Brisbane River. In many cases, the owners of the boats were already dealing with major losses in terms of their homes and other vehicles and had no time to be concerned about their boats being damaged or lost to the relentless torrents.
But I’m proud to say that, even before the full extent of the disaster was apparent, Club Marine’s Queensland team, headed by State Manager, Brett Edmonds, was planning and coordinating our response. A number of our assessors were drafted into the team and all efforts were put into identifying the risk areas and creating a plan to try and keep damage to a minimum. In other words, beyond our basic function of providing insurance coverage to our members, we were actually able to get out there and prevent damage and loss where possible for many boat owners already dealing with much more serious issues.
It is a function of Club Marine’s role that is worth considering – and one which, I can assure all our members, brings a great deal of personal satisfaction to our staff, who at times are able to make a major difference to member’s lives by acting on their behalf even before a claim is made.
Brett and his team spent days in sometimes perilous and difficult conditions salvaging boats from the murky waters of the river and out into Moreton Bay – regardless of who owned them and whether they were insured. Everyone in the salvage team are committed, hardcore boaties and appreciate how much time, effort, money – and memories – people have tied up in their boats.
So they attached lines to boats, towed them to safety and then went out in search of more. In one memorable case, they even had to draft a helicopter into the exercise to remove a stranded ski boat from the roof of a riverside house. Ultimately, we managed to reunite around 45 Club Marine members with their missing craft.
And importantly, there are a significant number of boat owners who don’t have policies with us who are also now back in possession of their boats because of the efforts of Brett and his team.
It is a satisfying and rewarding aspect of our mission at Club Marine that we can make such a positive contribution in times of need and peril. By preventing loss and damage before it is too late, we are able to enhance the boating lifestyle of our members – and even some non-member boat owners.
I’m proud of our team’s response to this major disaster, but I also want to take this opportunity to offer our sincere condolences to all those who lost friends and loved ones in the floods. Boats and other possessions can always be replaced, but human loss is something that we all have to deal with in our own ways.
CEO and Publisher,