Andrew Collins is proof that no matter where you are in your career, there is always more to learn. As someone who has thrived because of his time in the Crawford Academy and now acts as a mentor for others going through the program, he is a clear advocate of the need to grab hold of every opportunity to advance your skills.
Andrew started his career as a loss adjuster back in 1995 after working as a broker for several years.
“I would say that a career as a loss adjuster found me,” he recalls.
“We had a lot of dealings with loss adjusters at meetings and social events. It seemed like an interesting career, where you didn't have to sit behind a desk for five days a week. And every day was different.”
His curiosity led him to apply for a job in the loss adjusting sector and he started his career as a trainee adjuster in 1995. Almost 23 years later, he walked through the doors at Crawford.
Since then, Andrew has blazed a trail and is now a major & complex loss specialist. This year, through a combination of skill, experience, resilience and hard work, he helped Crawford win the coveted Major Loss Award at the British Insurance Awards.
The multi-million pound claim that grabbed the attention of the eagle-eyed judges related to a huge fire at a multi-use premises in Southwark in 2020. The affected premises consisted of commercial units, leasehold flats and social housing, plus car parking.
Andrew was on top of developments from the first notification of loss, rushing to assess the damage and helping the businesses and householders affected by the blaze despite the lockdown restrictions in place at the time. The outcomes, speed of restoration – the repair project was completed in just six months – and care shown towards the victims of the fire are why Crawford took home the award that night.
The successful outcome from this particular claim is in part due to Andrew’s involvement in the Crawford Academy which supports adjusters to develop their career.
He had always wanted to work in the major loss arena, and it was joining the Crawford family that enabled him to achieve his ambition. Andrew explains that moving into major loss is a big step for anybody, but he felt enabled by Crawford to grow and thrive thanks to the support structure the business put in place at the Crawford Academy.
He says: “I had a senior person, Bill Russell Redman, who I could call on regularly. The fact that I could pick the phone up to someone of experience anytime during the day and have a chat about a difficult case or if I was struggling with something gave me a huge sense of confidence.”
The Academy sees senior team members mentor more junior employees. They are encouraged to have regular meetings and review casework. The Academy also helps adjusters to link up with specialists within the team. Andrew points out: “I’m not a buildings expert so I can go to my building specialist and say, Is this right? Do you agree with this? What would you do? No matter what the situation you always know that you’ve got the expertise in the team to call upon.”
All Crawford new major loss starters go through the Academy and are assigned a dedicated mentor when they join the business. The difference with Crawford is that these mentors, while experienced, no longer have their own caseloads so their time is devoted to developing up-and-coming employees.
Participants move up the Academy levels by dealing with larger and larger claims starting with £250,000. Claims that fall above that will be overseen by a more experienced adjuster - eventually moving up to becoming a tier one adjuster capable of dealing with £5 million plus claims without oversight.
According to Andrew this ensures that Crawford is “a better loss adjuster” on the whole and individuals see their skills develop with precision, while potential mistakes are curtailed before they even occur.
In addition to the hard skills, Crawford is also supportive of the softer skills required to be a good, empathetic loss adjuster. Andrew adds: “I think I'm a sensitive person and I've learned some skills in empathy. I do like to help people.”
For him, the Crawford Academy has boosted his career beyond his wildest dreams. He says: “If you’d said to me four and a half years ago, you're going to handle a £7m claim then I would have said ‘I do not think so’.” Now he leads on award-winning major loss claims.
He also takes pleasure in seeing a claim completed.
“When you see people move back into their reinstated property it does give you a sense of satisfaction,”