Every year, Aspray seeks to support a worthy cause that matters to both its loss assessors and the general public. For 2019, the chosen charity is The Fire Fighters Charity. We spoke to Aspray director and insurance sector ‘Woman of Influence 2018’ (Insurance Business Magazine) to find out why this charity is so relevant to the lives of Aspray’s loss assessors.
Q. Why has Aspray chosen the Fire Fighters Charity as its supported cause this year?
A. As a business, we like to work with charities with which we believe we can have a strong connection and/or which provide synergy with our core business proposition. The Fire Fighters Charity ticks every box for Aspray. We immediately saw the passion that the charity’s regional representative, Alan Knell, has for his work. When we added to this the fact that our loss assessing team regularly works with homeowners and commercial property owners who have suffered losses after a devastating fire, we felt it was a wonderful charity to support this year.
Q. Can you explain more about an Aspray loss assessor’s work after a fire?
A. Yes, of course. Our loss assessors often follow in the footsteps of the fire crews as one of the next people on the scene to assist the homeowner or business owner. Sometimes, this is as soon as just a few hours after the fire crew has left the property and when the property owner is just starting their home or business insurance claim. At other times, it can be when the homeowner or commercial premises owner hits a hurdle with their claim. This could occur because their insurer’s loss adjuster is not taking on board the policyholder’s point of view or has suggested that part of their claim will not be paid or settled in the way that the policyholder had expected under the terms of their insurance cover.
At this point, the insured policyholder perhaps realises they need help and discovers that they can appoint their own loss assessor to represent them in negotiations, or they ask around and someone recommends Aspray. At other times, the property owner just doesn’t have the time to try to handle their own home insurance claim, or business insurance claim, after a fire, Googles their options and learns that the Aspray property damage claims management service can cost them nothing if they also allow Aspray to instruct their vetted contractors to deal with any repairs and could save them an awful lot of distress and hassle.
Q. How does the free service work?
A. Basically, if the insured policyholder uses Aspray’s vetted and professional contractors, there is no charge to them. That makes appointing and instructing Aspray a compelling option. Sometimes, for this reason, we are recommended by the fire crew themselves.
Q. Is fire one of the main reasons to use a loss assessor?
A. It is one of the reasons, but there are so many. Everyone knows of the concept of insurance ‘loopholes’ and having these seemingly ‘catch you out’ can be as a result of any type of claim – fire, flood, escape of water, malicious damage, vehicle impact, fuel leakage and a variety of other factors. Often, however, the loopholes can be navigated, if you have an expert in your corner able to interpret the policy and communicate your policy entitlement. If you don’t have that expert, something that should not catch you out can possibly do so, because you do not know how to argue your point with the insurer’s loss adjuster.
Q. What are the plans for fundraising this year?
A. Well, we’ve already raised £1600 from a raffle and donations made at our National Conference, so we are off to a flying start. Our next activity will see us paying to see things through a firefighter’s eyes, actually tackling a fire in a training scenario. This will give us valuable insight that will enable us to really stress why we would like people to sponsor our initiatives, why we believe that raising money for The Fire Fighters Charity is so important given how stressful the job can be and how this, in turn, creates a need for excellent rehabilitation centres – places that we will be supporting with our fundraising.
We want every member of our loss assessing network to do something to raise money and get behind the 75-mile Challenge that The Firefighters Charity ran in 2018, whereby fundraisers could find different ways of travelling 75 miles for the charity – not necessarily all at once – to generate funds.
Q. How will the funds be used?
A. The Fire Fighters Charity has three centres that support those crew members and also control room staff who suffer from stress and PTSD, who live through and hear traumatic things in person or over the phone, and who see tragedies on a daily basis. We tend to think of PTSD affecting members of the Forces or police officers, but somehow forget the situations that firefighters face on our behalf. We know the charity wants to extend its work at its Devon centre, where firefighters from around the country, and their families too, are supported with their various issues. We will be proud to make our contribution to that.
Q. Why does activity like this matter to Aspray?
A. We fully believe in corporate social responsibility and supporting causes that allow us to give something back at a grass-roots level. Businesses do not operate in isolation. They need their own support networks and they rely on their local communities. It cannot be all take and no give. To earn respect, you have to say a ‘thank you’ to society in some way and our annual charity support is one way in which we do that.