Diary of an Insurer: Charles Taylor Adjusting's Adam Donovan

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Adam Donovan, head of major loss at Charles Taylor Adjusting, heads to Vietnam to help a hotel resort damaged by typhoons and manages to buy some souvenirs for his children.

Adam Donovan

Having waved goodbye to my two young daughters and wife the previous day, both myself and a colleague board the first of three flights to Hoi An, Vietnam, to undertake site inspections at a hotel resort which had been damaged by typhoon storms.

In this particular instance, the eye of the storm passed directly through the hotel resort, causing extensive damage throughout.  

While a local policy was in place through the local insurance market, we were considering difference in conditions (DIC) and difference in limits (DIL) implications through the master policy and needed to get a greater understanding of the damage, to liaise with the local parties. 
Having travelled for almost 30 hours, we arrived safely in Da Nang and were greeted by the hotel representatives and informed that it was a further two-hour drive to the hotel resort.

As we left the airport, we experienced rainfall as we had never seen before. We boarded a minibus that travelled through the dark lanes at speed, crashing into flooded roads. We did question whether we would make it in one piece.
We arrived at the hotel resort at 9pm local time, where the resort had experienced another major incident: this time, flooding as a result of heavy rain.

We had to jump onto dry land as we left the minibus as the flood waters were wading through the bus door. 
We were then shown to our rooms, two of few rooms with minimal damage to get some rest before a long day inspecting major damage. 


I woke up to a view of the beach and sea, which should have been beautiful but was covered in debris from the storm and the waves were 15ft high crashing onto the sand as it continued to rain. 
We met with the hotel manager and his representatives to discuss our role in the insurance claim and assist them in piecing together the parties involved. During our meeting, we received detailed information on the history of the resort, lodging numbers and impact data. 
We then undertook a walkaround of the hotel resort with the manager, which had more than 30 separate buildings spread across a vast landscaped area. 
The insured provided us with a master key card to gain access to empty and damaged rooms. We put together a plan of action to inspect all rooms, working our way through the damage and debris caused by the typhoon, taking photos and scheduling the damage room by room. 
That evening, the hotel manager invited us to dinner at a local restaurant. We were able to sample local favourites and the local culture.

It was a good opportunity not only to discuss the claim in further detail, but to build a working relationship which has assisted us in gaining key information. 
Given the time difference, it was difficult to reach home and speak to the family, however, timing was on our side that evening and we were able to speak to our children just after they finished school. 

Flooded forest land

I woke up to the sound of blustery winds and on opening the curtains, saw that the weather was unchanged, with continuous rainfall and strong winds. 
We met in the hotel lobby and continued to inspect room after room. We assessed damage to contents, fixtures and fittings, and liaised with the insured to ensure that affected areas were stripped out to prevent secondary damage by mould growth and damp. 
We held conference calls with the master policy insurers and brokers to discuss the potential of instructing damage mitigation specialists to assist the drying out process – something which was excluded under the local policy. 
Unusually, landscaping was covered under the master policy and we made an inventory of all areas of landscaping which needed reinstatement, such as palm trees, vegetation and loss of sand from the private beach areas. 
After a long day assessing the damage, we met up in the evening and took a trip to Hoi An, a local and ancient town that the insured had recommended visiting. 
Having arrived, it was clear that Hoi An had also suffered extensive flooding, with the river only just subsiding to allow passing of roads. Our first stop was to The Irish Bar to obtain a refreshment before heading over to a restaurant, which was recommended by the insured to sample more local produce. 
Before heading back to the hotel, we were able to buy some souvenirs for our children. 


We continued to undertake inspections of the damaged areas, including the rooms that were directly affected by the flooding upon our arrival earlier in the week. 
We were due to fly home Thursday late afternoon and had arranged several meetings with the insured to finalise our discussions and provide feedback on the work undertaken while in resort.

The hotel management were very thankful for our assistance, especially as we had helped arrange drying equipment with the approval of the master policy insurers. 
Time for the journey back to the airport to start the first of three flights home. 


We landed at 6am into London and I was able to get home just before my eldest was going to school – greeted with a massive hug.

I was lucky enough to be able to take them to school before heading back to my desk and preparing for the next chapter – writing the report to advise insurers of the reserve. 
A busy yet very productive week, which has greatly assisted the handling of the claim from day one.

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