June 2019


AILA President's message - Cameron Roberts

Updates on Shorter and Gill awards

Entries have closed for the annual Ron Shorter Public Speaking Award.

The award provides industry young professionals (YPs) with public speaking training and exposure to industry peers and luminaries. More than 300 YPs have benefited since the award began in 2012.

The competition is open to YPs from all fields of insurance and insurance law in all states and territories.

Successful applicants will attend public speaking training workshops in Melbourne, Sydney, and Brisbane at award sponsor Colin Biggers & Paisley’s (CBP) offices. The Perth workshop is hosted by Kott Gunning.

Invited applicants from South Australia, Tasmania, the Northern Territory and the Australian Capital Territory will join a workshop by videolink.

Workshop participants receive training from Polaris Coaching and then give two-minute presentations on their topics. Three finalists in each location will progress to the finals and receive additional training.

At finals in Sydney (18 July), Melbourne (25 July), Brisbane (8 August), and Perth (15 August), competitors speak for 10 minutes on their topics and battle for the four regional awards before judging panels and audiences of industry professionals.

The four winners each receive economy airfares, two nights’ accommodation and registration for the AILA National Conference (31 October – 2 November 2019) in Hobart and deliver their winning speeches at the conference.

Finalists receive $250 gift cards.

Gill Award entries open soon

AILA will soon call for entries for the annual Gill Award, in honour of an AILA founding father, Michael Gill.

Michael is a past president of the international insurance law association, AIDA; chair of the National Insurance Brokers’ Association’s code compliance committee; a former partner and chair of DLA Piper, where he remains a consultant; and has served AILA at many levels, including as the inaugural president. He is an AILA life member.

Michael co-founded AILA after attending the AIDA 1982 World Congress in London, where he was urged to establish an AIDA chapter in Australia. That occurred the following year and Michael has been involved throughout AILA’s history.

The Gill Award will be open to financial members of AILA who are Australian-based residents.

Entrants will submit a paper on a topic relevant to an AIDA working party. Current working party topics are:

Accumulation of claims and subrogation Climate change Civil liability insurance
Consumer protection and dispute resolution Credit insurance and surety Distribution of insurance products
Marine insurance Motor insurance New technologies
Personal insurance and pensions Reinsurance State supervision and insurance

Alternatively, applicants may write a “thought piece” or submit a new product proposal or a new technological solution to an insurance industry “pain point”.

Shortlisted entrants will deliver a 25-minute presentation to the judging panel followed by five minutes of questions.

The panel is me; CGU’s Allison Grice; insurance academic Samantha Traves; Aon’s Wendy Ford; and Carter Newell’s Patrick Mead.

The winner’s prize, valued at $A10,000, includes attendance at a major AIDA international event.

The award further strengthens the AILA-AIDA bond and builds on AILA’s reputation as Australia’s leading insurance law body.

Senior industry representatives will form the judging panel. The winner will be announced at the 2019 AILA conference in Hobart, Tasmania.

The Gill Award’s supporting partner is DLA Piper.

Book now for apple isle annual conference

The annual conference, themed Off the map – Charting new territory, is at the Hotel Grand Chancellor Hobart from 30 October to 1 November 2019.

The conference promises to be a thriller, covering topics from cyber security, claims analytics, and driverless cars to aluminium composite panel (ACP) cladding, claims abuse, Lloyd’s restructure and the royal commission’s ramifications.

Click here to book. Early bird registration is open until 6 September.

Cladding fire victims awarded $5.7m

Unit owners who incurred losses in Melbourne’s 2014 Lacrosse Towers aluminium composite panel (ACP) cladding fire have been awarded $5.7 million as part of a $12 million damages claim.

Trade newsletter Cover Note reported that the Victorian Civil and Administrative Tribunal (VCAT) Vice President Judge Ted Woodward’s award included $701,270 for increased premiums to the end of FY20, when flammable cladding was expected to be removed from the Docklands building.

Judge Woodward disallowed $194,414 of the owners’ total claim and acknowledged $6.8 million was yet to be resolved.

VCAT heard owners, including retail occupants, owner occupiers on the floor near the fire’s ignition point, and 209 individual unit owners on the upper floors, had sought damages from Lacrosse’s builder LU Simon (LUS).

LUS argued liability for installing ACP rested with building surveyor Gardner Group Pty Ltd (GG), architect Elenberg Fraser Pty Ltd (EF), and fire engineer Tanah Merah Pty Ltd, trading as Thomas Nicolas (TN).

It also sought contributions from the unit owner where the fire started, Gyeyoung Kim, his French guest Jean-Francois Gubitta, whose discarded cigarette caused the blaze, and building manager Property Development Solutions Victoria Pty Ltd (PDS).

Judge Woodward found LUS had breached Victoria’s Domestic Buildings’ Contracts Act by not ensuring construction materials were compliant and fit for purpose. However, he said LUS “did not fail to exercise reasonable care in the construction of Lacrosse by installing” ACP.

Liability mostly rested with the surveyor, architect and fire engineer for breaching their consultant agreements and not ensuring the building was compliant and safe.

He found Mr Gubitta had a duty of care to ensure the cigarette was safely extinguished.

Judge Woodward ordered TN to pay 39% of the damages, GG 33%, EF 25% and Mr Gubitta 3%.

Mr Kim and PDS were cleared of liability.

Because Mr Gubitta had returned to France, played no part in the proceedings, and no party had sought judgement against him, Judge Woodward ordered Mr Gubitta’s share be paid by LUS.  

You can read the full judgement here: Owners Corp No 1 of PS613436T v LU Simon Builders Pty Ltd [2019], VCAT 286, 28/02/2019     

The Lacrosse ruling has sent shockwaves through the building consultancy industry and will have ramifications for professional indemnity insurers.

University of NSW adjunct lecturer in architecture Geoff Hanmer said in an opinion piece in The Conversation: “The decision reminds architects and other consultants … abiding by common practice is no defence if that practice is inadequate.”

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