Australia, Research & Analysis, Safety

UAA goes the extra mile

When JD Rigging had an incident with its new Liebherr LTM 1230 5.1, managing director Jack Walsh turned to UAA for help. The response from UAA and that of other parties was immediate and designed to get the crane back and operating as soon as possible.

JD Rigging has been operating in Perth for close to 25 years. Specialising in heavy lift crane hire in tilt up and precast concrete construction. JD Rigging has grown in line with the exponential growth of its mining clients during the resources boom.

JD Rigging provides a range of services including erecting concrete tilt panels, erecting steel structures, shutdowns, heavy lifting and specialised crane services, heavy equipment recovery, panel layouts, lift Studies and consultative project planning with clients.

Jack Walsh is the Managing Director of JD Rigging and he’s been in this line of work for over 35 years.

“We do a fair amount of panel lifting work in and around Perth and some heavy lifting for clients in various industry sector including resources. We cater for these markets with heavy lift cranes including two Grove GMK5220 220t capacity all terrains and the brand new Liebherr LTM 1230 5.1,” said Jack.

JD Rigging has been insured by UAA for the last eight years explains Jack. He also confirms how quickly George Grasso, UAA Group CCSO – Chief Claims and Services Officer, and the team at UAA responded to a recent incident.

“We’ve been with UAA for about eight years and before that we were with Wesfarmers. We’ve never had a big claim that we’ve had to go to UAA with, so I really didn’t know what they were like and what to expect. I thought we going to be just another number, until we had this incident with the brand new Liebherr tipping over. The incident was nobody’s fault, just one of those things; soft ground which nobody knew was there, it can happen to anyone,” said Jack.

“After going through four boxes of tissues, I heard from our contact at UAA who said George Grasso, UAA Group CCSO – Chief Claims and Services Officer was coming over to Perth. He had other business to attend but he said he would catch up and have a look at our problem. I spent a day with George, and to be perfectly honest, it was the best thing I have ever done. I have never felt so relieved and happy with a person to deal with in all of my life. 

“There was no nonsense with George, he said, ‘Jack we’re right here to back you’ and when someone like George has your back, I tell you, I’d go the extra mile for him any day. I put the boxes of tissues away, and we got back to business,” said Jack.

Both Jack and George visited the Liebherr workshop where they met with Richard Gulpis and the team.

“Liebherr were really helpful and we’re now waiting on Germany to ship some parts required for the repairs. It’s not a big drama, but it’s just the inconvenience of not having the crane and not making any money with it. It’s also financially painful because we are still having to make the repayments on the crane. It’s a lesson for everyone to ensure you have the right levels of insurance including the loss of revenue cover.

Throughout the process, UAA has been cooperative and keen to see everything resolved – getting that crane out of the yard and back to work as quickly as possible

“George is working with us to try and get the crane back on the road as quickly as possible, through Germany and UAA, which I really was surprised at because I didn’t think they would help us so much,” said Jack.

Liebherr WA

Richard Gulbis is Liebherr’s Regional Service Coordinator for Liebherr Mobile Cranes in WA. He explains how Liebherr handled JD Riggings’ crane incident and how responsive a crane OEM needs to be when a customer is in trouble.

“It was first thing on a Saturday when I received a call from Stefan De Silva, Sales Manager, WA/SA Mobile Crane Division Australia & New Zealand. Stefan had received a call from Jack Walsh saying there’d been an incident and could I give Jack a call. I returned Jack’s call within half an hour and understandably, he was in a state of panic. 

“Obviously, I’d seen no pictures or anything by this stage, and Jack was just looking for support from us, for someone get to site, and what could we offer in support. So, I got in touch with young Brayden Lawrence, one of leading technical hands, and he headed to site to offer his assistance wherever it was required,” said Richard.

“The early stages of the recovery were quickly underway. Like we always say, we are not lifting specialists, we’re specialists in repairing cranes when they break down. At the end of the day, the lifting side of things is done by the customer, and we’re there to support and that’s essentially what Brayden did,” said Richard.

Brayden worked with the guys on site and saw no problems in the way they planned to manage the recovery. He also examined the machine and prepared a quick assessment of the damage he could see. So, in the background there two stages to the process. There was the recovery of the crane and the assistance required from Liebherr when the crane was back on its wheels.

“Brayden was working directly with their crane operator and the supervisors, and they had recovered the crane by the Sunday. By this time, we’d identified a few damaged axle components, and there was no way the crane was going to be driven back in this condition, the damage was too severe. Luckily, the two main damaged components were an axle strut and a suspension cylinder and Brayden ordered those parts,” said Richard.

“All this was done with good will towards the customer, because you want to support the customer in these difficult situations. The last thing the customer needs is you asking for a purchase order. We contacted Matt Clark in spare parts who confirmed everything was available. To make the situation a little easier for the technician on site and to demonstrate our spare parts support to Jack and his team, Matt decided to quickly jump into a ute and deliver the parts directly to Brayden. This allowed the repairs to be conducted in a much more efficient time frame,” said Richard.

“There were a number of calculated risks in driving the crane back. I had a question regarding the condition of the engine. We needed to know how long crane had been on its side with the engine running? Oil starvation always needs to be considered, but we checked the oil, and we had a listen to the engine, and everything sounded okay. We replaced the spare parts that needed replacing, and we managed to get the crane back. It arrived in the Liebherr yard on the Sunday evening,” said Richard.

With the crane being brand new it was still covered by the warranty, says Richard. 

“I don’t think there’s any doubt insurance companies would prefer to repair a crane which is brand new. If it were five or a 10-year-old crane, maybe the repairs go out to tender, but because it was such a new crane, UAA Groups’ CCSO – Chief Claims and Services Officer George Grasso said, ‘It’s going to come to you guys. It’s as simple as that. We want the repairs to be right, and we want the warranty to still be valid for the remainder of the crane’s warranty period,’” said Richard.

MCT Equipment preferred UAA repairer

MCT Equipment is UAA’s preferred repairer thanks to its hugely experienced team, its industry-leading expertise across a diverse range of mobile lifting equipment, and its commitment to innovation and efficiency.

MCT will soon host a 5000m2 facility in Henderson, with almost a third of the facility dedicated to workshop space. The workshop houses one of WA’s largest teams of specialist mobile lifting equipment technicians and has the capacity for the team to complete up to eight major works at any one time. These works regularly include UAA insurance claims and range from large structural repairs to minor repairs. The new facility boasts the ability to accommodate overhead cranes, which allows MCT to minimise turnaround times and costs, without compromising quality or safety.

MCT Equipment’s hugely experienced team features industry-leading expertise across a diverse range of mobile lifting equipment.

MCT’s customer satisfaction can be accredited to the team’s efficient workmanship and the savings that are passed on. As a privately owned company, the team is able to make fast in-house repair decisions to hasten the insurance claim process.  

The relationship between UAA and the MCT team goes back more than 10 years, with MCT valuing the partnership we have formed during this time. The long-term relationship is reflected in the strong, solid workflows across the entirety of their business, and is particularly noticeable in the workshop’s refurbishment section. MCT looks forward to continuing the successful partnership with UAA long into the future. 

UAA and Mecon Insurance WA

Martyn Shirley is UAA’s Regional Manager, Central and West and he has been with the organization for 15 years. 

“The crane sector is a large part of our portfolio, but we also insure earthmoving equipment, concrete pumps, drilling contractors, road making equipment, aerial access equipment in fact most types of mobile plant.

“The crane sector has been a fundamental pillar for UAA over the years and we insure most of the large crane hire companies here in Western Australia. But servicing an industry like the crane sector has its challenges and maintaining a profitable book due to high volatility and claims costs for cranes, is a major one. When cranes go wrong or when they are involved in incidents, they are very expensive pieces of equipment to fix,” said Martyn.

“The crane sector in WA is resources driven and cranes are involved in a lot of mine work. This work including shutdowns, servicing of equipment and the number one priority for a crane hire company is the safe operation of the crane and this is generally the result good lift studies and planning before the work has started. Planning has to be a major responsibility when operating in a high-risk environment,” he said.

Martyn discusses the Western Australian team and how claims are managed. He also confirms how the merger with Mecon Insurance will impact the WA market.

“We have a team of eight here in the WA operation and we are all underwriters and business development managers. Claims are handled by our specialist WA claims team based in Newcastle, the birthplace of UAA. The merger between UAA and Mecon is exciting. We complement each other because Mecon is in construction insurance and insure the actual construction side of the industry, and we insure the plant, so they go hand in hand, and we dovetail nicely into each other’s activities.

“We are fitting out new office accommodation which will enable to the two teams to come together under then one roof which is exciting for everyone. This will enable to teams to work even more closely together which will ultimately see our customers benefit from a more comprehensive and responsive service when it comes to insurance,” said Martyn.

In July of this year, Underwriting Agencies of Australia and MECON Insurance announced they had agreed to merge the businesses. Daniel Joiner is MECON Insurance’s State Manager for Western Australia and has been in the role since 2015. 

Daniel originally started at MECON Insurance in 2013 as an underwriter in the Melbourne office as a construction underwriter before transferring over to Perth to manage MECONs newest branch. Daniel explains how the business has grown in WA and how the merger is going to benefit customers.

“We’ve seen significant growth over the last few years due to an increase in the number of construction projects throughout WA and continued with the Government investment into the industry during the ‘COVID pandemic period’. Because MECON is based in the state, we can remain engaged with the changes throughout the construction market in Western Australia. Although our connection with builders remains entirely through insurance brokers, we work with our broker partners to provide flexible insurance solutions for builders throughout the construction sector whose projects range from owner builders, small to medium businesses taking on speculative projects, to larger commercial, residential and civil builders requiring annual policies. 

“Over the years that MECON has been in Perth, we have seen Perth and Western Australia grow immensely, and I take much enjoyment that we have been involved in the expansion in some small way,” said Daniel. “Being a construction underwriting agency in Perth has allowed us to be involved with many major and exciting projects within WA, such as certain portions of Perth Stadium, Elizabeth Quay and more recently Busselton Jetty redevelopment” 

With the merger with UAA, MECON has moved its mobile plant portfolio across to the UAA team to manage.

“UAA is the best in the market for mobile equipment, and I know that our existing portfolio is in great hands being managed by Martyn and the UAA team. This will allow our team at MECON to focus on our core strength, which is construction insurance. From that point of view, the merger has been great, and it’s gone hand in hand with what we’re looking to achieve as a business,” said Daniel.

The WA team at MECON is experienced and customer-focused. 

“We have a team of seven based in Perth, managing business from WA as well as business from South Australia and the Northern Territory. We have built a formidable team with what I consider to be the best construction underwriters in the state, our underwriters actively engage with our brokers and are passionate about finding the best solutions for our mutual clients” said Daniel.

The teams at MECON and UAA are planning to physically join forces and will be moving into the same office.

“Our new offices are currently in the process of being fitted out. Due to both MECON’s and UAA’s Perth-based team’s rapid expansion, joining offices was the most logical solution, however, we will still operate as two brands, one family”.

“Martyn (UAA WA State Manager) and I have a solid relationship. We share a good level of banter and have been mates for some time before the merger. One of the most surprising things which came from the merger was how well our teams get along and how similar our company cultures are. We are looking forward to exploring the obvious synergies that the merger brings, and offering a more comprehensive service to our customer base,” said Daniel.

Knightcorp Insurance Brokers 

Knightcorp is seen as a market leading Insurance broking firm. The team at Knightcorp approaches business with  customer centric values and passion. A key business objective is to create a company where professionals can thrive and be their authentic selves. This has resulted in a culture where clients feel completely secure and valued through strong relationships and stand-out personalised service.  We have a national portfolio of customers across Australia with our head office being based in WA where the company was founded. 

Knightcorp has been servicing the insurance and risk management needs of customers in the Civil, Mining and Construction industry for over 13 years, we are very familiar with Small and Large Mobile Plant Fleets and are very experienced with providing strong solutions In this sector, we have a combined industry experience in excess of 60 years and are experts in this field. 

 The Knightcorp team has vast experience in dealing with clients within the Crane industry sector, whether you are an owner, operator or are in the crane hire business, they understand the sector and are able to help customers of all sizes and complexities says Bernie of Norwest Crane Hire. 

“Our decision to partner with Knightcorp Insurance Brokers for all of our insurance needs has been a great decision for our company, they understand the Crane Industry very well and always deliver great solutions and professional service. The Crane sector and the contracts within it can change so quickly and it was important to us that we had an insurance partner that understood this and could come on our journey with us. The construction industry also comes with a lot of risk and potential insurance claims, Knightcorp have always been in our corner and they are a team we have been able to rely on.

When next considering your insurance broking partner we would recommend you get in contact with the team at Knightcorp.”

The Knightcorp team has an in-depth understanding of crane hire agreements and are able to assist with the insurances clauses found in industry contract reviews. From a claims handling perspective, they understand that if a client suffers damage to its fleet, there is a need to act quickly and effectively to begin the process. Our large network and high level of claims services is a significant part of the difference Knightcorp make to our customers. 

Recovering, assessing and repairing a crane is an intricate and costly operation that involves all parties working closely together and Knightcorp’s expert claims team is the perfect conduit to ensure this process happens seamlessly between all parties involved.

Over the years, Knightcorp has found UAA to be a great supporter of insurance for plant & crane fleets,  with a product that consistently performs. Knightcorp continuously finds UAA policies have special benefits that can be negotiated. Their breadth of cover is amongst the best in the market. 

 UAA’s team are realistic, commercially minded, technically proficient and always approachable. Their claims service is consistent and knowledgeable, which reflects positively in reaching a favourable, fair and reasonable outcome for our UAA clients. 

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