One stop shop for contractors all risks insurance:
how a construction engineer who joined forces with us gives us a competitive edge in the market
Construction insurance presents various different challenges, and the gaps arising from the fact that insurance personnel are not experts in engineering can affect the professional service the client receives on the one hand, and the quality of the information presented to the insurance company on the other hand.
We have bridged this gap to provide a comprehensive solution, based on a team that not only includes insurance experts, but also an in-house construction engineer with extensive experience in the design and construction of civil engineering projects for large building contractors. For this reason Itzick Simon Insurance Agency is a “one stop shop for Contractors All Risks insurance” as I shall explain.
The idea of a one stop shop is based on the concept that employing an in-house construction engineer enables the insurance agency to communicate in two professional languages – insurance and engineering.
Our in-house construction engineer is akin to a mediator who bridges the information gap between insurance and engineering, giving us a competitive edge in the underwriting process as well as in handling claims.
The underwriting process
No prudent underwriter will take a shot in the dark, and their willingness to write new business is based on various considerations, amounting to a calculated risk. The synergy we create between insurance and engineering involves mapping out and mitigating risks and formulating engineering solutions to take the uncertainty out of the risk analysis, with the ultimate aim of arranging the optimal insurance coverage.
To demonstrate our approach, here is a case we recently encountered.
The Tower of David Museum in Jerusalem recently launched a major project involving the construction of a new visitors centre and exhibition hall. Since the project is taking place in close proximity to the walls of the old city, dating back 3,000 years, the museum’s insurance consultants initially found it impossible to find an insurance company that was willing to insure the project.
When we entered the picture, we managed to bridge the gaps between the parties thanks to involvement of our in-house engineer, who assisted in overcoming various challenges such as the risk of the walls collapsing and restrictions imposed by the Antiques Authority on the construction method.
Our engineer department, headed by Eng. Omri Nissani, suggested carrying out a geological survey involving excavating a trial pit to sample and study the composition and structure of the subsurface under the wall and establish whether the wall stands on ancient soil, or on residues of the historical wall from the era of Herod.
After ascertaining that the wall stands on ancient soil, Omri conducted a brainstorming session with the design engineers of the project, which lead to a creative solution to perform the works in a much safer manner. The outcome of making a minor alteration to the construction method substantially reduced the risk and alleviated the concerns of the insurance companies.
It's clear that an insurance agency with an in-house engineer has the ability to analyse the projects and their inherent risks from the client’s and the insurance company’s perspective. Aspects of a project which make it an unattractive proposal at first glance (such as in the case of the Tower of David) can quite often be resolved by way of creative solutions to “square the circle”, by reviewing the design plans, altering the construction methods or considering other alternatives to enable the client to execute the project efficiently and alleviate the concerns of the insurance company at the same time.
The claims stage
Construction engineering expertise is a matter of paramount importance in the case of a major insurance claim. Experience shows that many clients are not au-fait (to say the least) with the process of making an insurance claim involving a construction project and in the insured is obviously not on a level footing with the insurance company and their extensive team of loss adjusters and experts.
The insured can counteract this with the aid of a professional insurance agent with an in-house engineer, who can analyse the insurance claim together from an engineering and insurance perspective and ascertain the optimal reinstatement method.
I would like to cite another example of a case involving damage at a construction site that needed to be repaired with robotic pipes rather than by conventional methods. The client was assisted by our engineer who is familiar with robotic engineering and genuinely understood the situation. The client benefitted from the involvement of an expert who could address the technical aspects of the claim in line with the scope of the insurance cover and counteract the arguments of the insurance company. Our engineer liaised directly with the loss adjusters appointed by the insurance company and a rather complex claim with potential pitfalls was settled to the client’s complete satisfaction.
As a leading construction insurance agency we pride ourselves on our ability to offer our clients a unique and innovative approach which creates a synergy between insurance and engineering to the benefit of our clients.