Five Minutes With… Darryl Cowan, Cunningham Lindsey

Five Minutes With… Darryl Cowan, Cunningham Lindsey | Insurance Business

Five Minutes With… Darryl Cowan, Cunningham Lindsey
Why insurance loss adjusting?
I went straight from university into a big accounting firm, and stayed there for 8-9 years. I think I’d got to the point where I’d done enough of auditing so I went for an interview with the predecessor of Cunningham Lindsey. I liked the people, and even though it was less pay it looked like it had really interesting variety. So it was a little bit going into the unknown, but I have been there ever since. I started off as a junior adjuster in Business Interruption, I became a partner in that business, then an executive adjuster, I have had various management roles in the business over the years culminating in elevation to CEO at beginning of last year.

What’s the strangest case you’ve ever worked on?
A Fidelity Guarantee claim where the perpetrator juggled the books and in so doing lost his employers over $500k, but we established that he didn't actually take any of it for his or anyone else's benefit. He just got a bit confused and falsified records to cover up his ineptitude.

How would you sum up insurance brokers in three words? 
Articulate, professional, focussed.

How would you change the industry?
Reform the EQC Act to avoid a repeat of the issues that arose in Christchurch.  

What’s the most important thing brokers and loss adjusters can do to improve their relationship?
Communicate. Most problems in claims arise from poor communication.

Best advice you’ve ever been given?
There are two sides to every story, so gather all of the available facts before taking action.                                

If you were prime minister for one day, what would you do?
I would commit to solving Auckland's housing and infrastructure issues, to ease the plight of long-suffering Jafas and also for the benefit that would accrue for everyone if the country's economic hub was running more efficiently.

What’s been the highlight of your career?
Leading the great team at Cunningham Lindsey New Zealand.  
What’s your favourite style of coffee?
English Breakfast tea, until the pot is empty.

Union, league or soccer or other?
I’ve been a mad QPR fan for over 40 years. We went and lived with my wife’s grandmother who lived at 32 Henchman St in Shepherds Bush right by Wormwood Scrubs. It was a 10 minute walk to the ground - I looked at it on the map and thought that would be the one I’d support. Once you pick one it’s for life. Unfortunately the time of year I go over to London is the end of April or early May so the football season is usually over.

If you could invite three people to dinner, dead or alive, and excluding family or friends, who would they be and why?
Abraham Lincoln – he would be an interesting character to talk to. He was said to have a sense of humour but when you read it, it’s extremely dry. He was a lawyer, and said some very clever things but I don’t’ think he was laugh out loud funny.

Billy Connolly – He certainly is laugh out loud funny but I’m not sure they’d mix very well.

Ullysses S Grant – He was the general in the Civil War and twice president of the United States at a difficult time when they were coming out of a terrible war which split the whole country. I find American politics and history fascinating and I’m a war nut so I would be particularly interested in talking to him.

Complete this sentence: if I wasn’t in insurance I would be…
Perhaps still in accounting, or better yet, fishing.