"My first priority is to make sure all our staff and adjusters are safe, know their location and team up or get an independent survey depending on whether the claims needs it."
Zakky Cheng joined Crawford & Company in 2013. With a civil engineering background, he has worked as an underwriter, within the reinsurance sector and as a loss adjuster. He has acquired considerable experience dealing with major catastrophes.
Crawford’s response to a huge earthquake loss at a semiconductor factory
In Feb 2016, a massive earthquake struck the south of Taiwan and devastated a major semiconductor manufacturer. The company had suffered earthquake damage before but nothing on this scale. Zakky acted as the loss adjuster on this US$200 million insurance claim.
“The building suffered severely, there was damage to the product line, the building, and the utility; it was a mess,” Zakky says. The complexity of the claim meant that site inspection was conducted over several weeks.
“In the first two weeks, eight members from the Crawford team stayed in the factory to inspect and verify every loss,” says Zakky.
The company harboured much sensitive information and documents and part of the dialogue involved instructing the company on exactly what information was required and how to verify the documentation.
At the end of the first month, the extent of the claim and the fact that it involved a major semiconductor manufacturing facility piqued the interest of the local insurers and reinsurers who one day turned up to satisfy their curiosity. “I think about 30 people showed up. They had never seen a semiconductor claim before, so they wanted to know. They knew this was a very big loss,” Zakky says.
In this claim, Zakky played an important role in leading his team of adjusters to determine a result to present to the insured, broker, and Insurers.
“We had teams from across liability, engineering, and property. The mission was clear and together we knew what needed to be done – we had to collaborate with the insurers to survey and inspect the loss,” he says.
He says the process was not difficult but involved “a massive quantum of work. We had to inspect many, many items. ”Zakky always follows the same protocol to handle claims and remains calm at all times.
Zakky says, “Our standard operating procedure is to contact the Insured first, get to know the condition of the risk site, is it stable or safe to survey? Then arrange an inspection. But my priority is to make sure all our employees and adjusters are safe, know their location, and team up or get an independent survey depending on whether the claim needs it.”
Adding value to the claims process
As an adjuster, Zakky believes he and his team are not just selling their adjusting skill, but beyond that are providing a professional service. This service offering extends to situations where the insured is unlikely to be covered for a particular incident.
He cites one example where he instructed the insured - who was not covered by the insurance policy after typhoon damage - to request a ‘change of circumstance’ of the contract with their Principal in a construction project. The advice paid off says Zakky, “In the end, the insured stopped their original contract first and acquired a new business/contract to repair the downward slope.”