Learning outcomes from the Alarm insurance seminar

The Alarm North West Regional Group kicked off their events for 2016 at Weightmans’ offices with a day dedicated to insurance related topics.

Phil Farrar and Ian Ross-Bain from Risk Management Partners started by giving an insight into the importance and value the insurance manager brings to an organisation. The session was structured around a survey undertaken with the delegates in advance of the session. The interaction with the audience made for an enjoyable and informative workshop. Key points raised by the audience in raising the profile included: 

  • Engaging with all services on insurance matters
  • Incentivise good claims and risk management initiative
  • Regular reporting to services and departments
  • Highlighting common issues and focus on claims reduction.

The session also emphasised the importance the role has in highlighting the total cost of risk within an organisation and the need to review the appetite to risk in areas such as policy excesses, the value of which have eroded in many organisations due to the effects of inflation and these not being increased in many organisations for over ten years.

The next session of the day related to the revised Highways Code of Practice, Peter Wake from Weightmans gave an overview of the changes within the Code and the expectations that may be put on highway authorities.

Peter advised that there is an opportunity to consider the changes in practices required in order to get it right at the start and make it work “on the ground”. Thereby putting councils in a good position when matters are litigated and assist in any judge pulling apart a robust policy.  Areas to consider could include:

  • Collaborative working between councils ensuring a consistent approach to inspection criteria, especially in roads that cross boundaries
  • Risk assess areas based on claims and incident
  • Ensure inspection frequency and criteria are considered by an experienced person and the reasoning clearly documented to assist in a robust defence
  • Document retention
  • Consider a risk matrix for repairs.


The final session of the morning was delivered by Andrew Cavan from vrs Vericlaim, with over 30 years’ experience in loss adjusting, and extensive knowledge in flood claims, Andrew provided some observations that may assist Members when facing major losses. These included:

  • Importance of a nominated loss adjuster on the account with your insurer. This aids the speed of a response and, as highlighted by delegates, ensures there is a partnership working arrangement between the insured, insurer and loss adjuster.
  • Disaster recovery, consider mitigation measures in advance, such as hiring dryers or dehumidifiers in advance if flood is imminent, as these can be in short supply after an incident.
  • Social media and the importance in can play in getting a message out to residents in an area.


In the afternoon, Kevin Morris and Alix Bedford from Zurich Municipal gave an overview of the current insurance practice within the public sector and then facilitated an interactive workshop with all delegates being engaged in considering future insurance options around:

  • Consortia & joint procurement
  • Risk pooling
  • Higher deductibles
  • Risk management importance
  • Mutuals
  • Captives
  • Self-insurance.

Delegates considered each point and the risks and appetite towards each of these areas, while also considering other options they may identify. The session was the first of a series planned by Zurich Municipal to highlight the development potentially required by insurers in delivering their propositions, with output to be shared with Alarm.

Presentations from the Seminar are available to download from the Alarm North West Regional Group past events page.