June 2022


David Farmer meets a friendly kookaburra at a Hobart reserve.

Fact digging captures adjuster’s imagination

Resolve profiles David Farmer, who is serving on the AILA Tasmanian branch committee for the 20th time and has now joined the National Board. He has served as Tasmanian treasurer, president and immediate past president, and is a committee member of the Tasmanian branch of the Australasian Institute of Chartered Loss Adjusters. David was admitted as a legal practitioner in 1987 and moved to loss adjusting in 1997.

Q. How long have you been a member?
A. I can’t remember when I first joined AILA, but I joined the Tasmanian branch committee in 2001.

Q. Why did you join AILA?
A. It is an excellent way to keep up with developments in the insurance industry and to learn from others.

Q. What does AILA mean to you?
A. I love the seminars. I also have made many good friends over the years in various meetings or at the fabulous National Conferences.

Q. What is your current job?
A. I am a loss adjuster involved mainly with investigating claims for work-related injuries, public liability matters and commercial conflicts.

Q. What do you do in your role?
A. I dig for facts by interviewing people, rummaging through documents, examining equipment and workplaces and looking at systems. It is the perfect job for me, apart from having to constantly explain to people that I have nothing to do with accounting.

Q. Some background on your career path?
A. I worked as a lawyer for about 11 years, in litigation, before switching to loss adjusting in 1997. I was a director of a Tasmanian loss adjusting company for several years before setting out on my own in 2009.

Q. Why insurance?
A. Torts and contract law, with a touch of legislation, throw in a human-interest component.  What’s not to love?

Q. What do you do in your spare time?
A. Fly fishing, boating, hand tool woodworking, reading and messing about with old cameras.

Q. What sports do you enjoy watching and/or playing?
A. I played rugby union for longer than was medically sensible. I love watching test cricket and the Tour de France.

Q. What's your favourite holiday destination? Why?
A. At every opportunity, I head to the Central Highlands of Tasmania. I started going there for bush walking and the wild trout fishing. Now, I spend days just walking round the lake edges, often not bothering to cast a line, simply enjoying the peace and beauty and listening to the bird noises.

Q. Describe your family members:
A. I am married to Alison. We met at university and have been married since 1985. We have a daughter who works as a nurse and a son who was recently admitted as a lawyer.

Q. Do you have any pets?
A. We have two dogs. Henry is an aged mongrel from the dogs’ home. Rosie is an 11-week-old spaniel whose diet consists mainly of furniture and fingers.

Q. Who do you admire most and why?
A. Boffins of all stripes. They are fascinating to talk to and I love their enthusiasm. I once interviewed a boffin at length about a matter which had nothing at all to do with him. I just called him interstate, shortly after 5pm, at another expert’s suggestion, and put to him several questions about a piece of equipment which had not been made in Australia for decades. He was immediately engaged, generous with his knowledge and enthusiastic to share with me his relevant views. Only at the end of the interview did it come out that he had taken the call while in the process of clearing out his desk because the factory where he worked for many years had shut down.

Q. What would you never give up?
A. Cheese.

Q. What are your favourite books/movies?
A. Books – I love books based on history. The Surgeon of Crowthorne and Grapes of Wrath come to mind but I don’t have any particular favourites.
Movie – Casablanca.

Q. What’s your most embarrassing moment?
A. No idea. Whatever it is, I have obviously blocked it. I will have to work on something new.

Q. Scariest moment?
A. My wife once prevailed upon me, at short notice, to adjudicate a debate between teams from two neighbouring high schools. The kids were fine but, at the conclusion, I was savaged by a mother concerning my clearly flawed adjudication. I have not yet recovered. It was many years ago.

Q. What do you fear most?
A. Clothes shopping.

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Resolve is the official publication of the Australian Insurance Law Association and
the New Zealand Insurance Law Association.