“For anyone who’s never considered loss adjusting as a career, I would encourage them to consider it,” said Martyn Wicht (pictured above). “It’s been a very rewarding profession for three generations of my family and I firmly believe that it will continue to thrive into the future.”
Brisbane-based Wicht is regional director for Australasia at McLarens, a global loss adjusting firm with a strong presence across the United States and focused on the complex commercial claims space.
The McLarens boss told Insurance Business that he was under no family pressure to follow in his father and grandfather’s footsteps. However, “the fact that my grandfather and father were both loss adjusters made it seem like something I should have a look at.”
Wicht’s father seemed to think his son was showing an interest too early.
“Early on, I spoke to my father about joining his business and he said he thought I needed to get some life experience first,” he said. “It was good advice.”
Even so, Wicht’s loss adjusting career started in his early 20s. He suggested that part of the attraction was family stories about how interesting it was.
“My father repeated that my grandfather was asked by a claims manager - my grandfather had an accountancy background - If he had his time again, what would he do for his career?” said Wicht. “He said he would do loss adjusting just because of the diverse nature of the business and how interesting it is.”
Wicht’s grandfather was an accountant who not only became a loss adjuster but also owned his own firm: G D Maddock & Co.
“Which was Gordon Douglas Maddock, who was my grandfather,” he said.
Wicht’s father also had a roundabout route into loss adjusting via banking. Wicht made his start in the family business, then moved to a firm in Queensland and ultimately joined McLarens in the mid-1990s.
During a career spanning three decades he said he’s worked on numerous compelling cases in Australia and overseas.
“My wife tells me that I give the loss adjusting tour of a lot of cities we go to!” said Wicht. “In this day and age we’re a global business and then the world is also getting much smaller so that makes things increasingly interesting.”
His work has included loss adjusting tasks following natural catastrophes like flooding and cyclones but also after political events. For Wicht, one loss adjusting job more than 20 years ago stands out.
“I never thought I’d hear martial law being declared in a country,” he said.
In 2000 there was a military coup in Fiji.
“We were caught up in the middle of it when martial law was declared, which was a pretty significant thing for a young person to hear,” he said. “But we were fine and able to get on and assist the policy holders once things settled down a little bit.”
He said this involved loss adjusting work in the capital, Suva, on properties that suffered damage from looting and fire.
Today, the McLarens boss gets his job satisfaction closer to home. He said one of things he enjoys most about his work is “seeing our people develop.”
This year the firm is taking on eight trainees – twice the number of 2022’s intake – and putting them through a 12-month structured traineeship.
“One of the key elements of the training program is one-on-one extensive training covering all of the elements of the loss adjusting role in the claims process, which is very much on the job training,” said Wicht.
He said this involves shadowing a senior person five days a week.
Loss adjusting roles right across McLarens’ business, he said, are currently in high demand.
“I think many factors are influencing the need for loss adjusters such as the growth of insurance in developing areas and the recent natural weather events and future predictions have highlighted that demand will continue,” said Wicht.
He said loss adjusting is “quite a demanding role” but also rewarding.
“Ultimately we are there to help people financially, that’s the end result, all things going well,” said Wicht.
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