JIM, congratulations on your recent appointment as Brand Ambassador for OMC Claims. Could you tell us a bit about your background and what attracted you to this role?
I have worked in the Insurance Industry since 1980, the first 19 years of which were spent in Irish National Insurance, which merged with Eagle Star in 1997, and which subsequently became part of Zurich Insurance.
I could see there was a need for consumers to have someone to help them with their property damage claims, so in 1999 I set up my own loss assessing company.
This company subsequently merged with Balcombes to become one of the leading loss assessing companies in Ireland.
In 2022 we sold the Balcombes brand, however myself and Diarmuid had no intention of hanging up the boots for good.
I had always admired Owens McCarthy (OMC Claims) and was impressed with the quantity and quality of experienced assessors in their stable.
As a longtime believer in supporting policyholders and brokers in getting the best outcome following a loss, I was attracted to helping grow and develop the OMC brand across the country.
Diarmuid, as a major and complex loss assessor, what specific expertise do you bring to OMC Claims? How do you see your role impacting the company’s operations?
I have built-up a wealth of experience and knowledge of policy wordings and claims processes. My expertise in understanding the issues that face a policyholder following a major loss, enable me to deal with their claim with huge empathy.
Part of our role is to bring certainty, reassurance, and clarity to the client. We are the resource that can bring the whole thing together and help the client to recover from the situation they find themselves in.
My specific experience in dealing with Business Interruption claims and understanding the financial implications of business impacts and solutions following a fire can enable me to work with the insured’s executives to get the best outcome to the BI claim.
Jim, what goals do you have in mind as the Brand Ambassador for OMC Claims? How do you plan to contribute to the company’s growth and reputation?
The goal of OMC Claims is to be the No. 1 recognised insurance loss assessing company in Ireland. I want to help them deliver that by establishing OMC Claims as “The Claims Department” for brokers and their clients.
We already have widespread recognition and a reputation of having the best and most experienced loss assessors in Ireland. Brokers use their resources to drive growth in their businesses and become the experts at securing the best cover and best deals for their clients.
Claims, however, is a cost centre and by outsourcing the claims function to a reputable “Claims Department” it takes the pressure off the broker, knowing that we offer them reassurance that their client will be expertly looked after with pro-consumer proactive advice and support, which will deliver a successful outcome to their claim.
We can deal with everything from a FNOL only service (first notification of loss) to offering the consumer a full loss assessing service to ensure their satisfaction.
If the client does not want an independent loss assessing service, then we are happy to just report the claim and give them the necessary “soft advice” they may need to navigate the claims process themselves.
Diarmuid, in your experience as a loss assessor, what are some of the key challenges you’ve faced in handling major and complex claims? How do you plan to address these challenges at OMC Claims?
Some of the key challenges arise from the speed of response required and the time-consuming process of information gathering in the immediate aftermath of a major loss and responding to key personnel, including, the insured, the loss adjuster, forensics, engineers, accountants, and brokers.
The team-based approach in OMC will enable us to allocate the resources to deal with a major loss and to split the tasks required to ensure the entire process can be pulled together in a more efficient manner by various members of the team.
Jim, as Brand Ambassador, how do you plan to enhance the company’s visibility and strengthen its relationships with clients and stakeholders?
I am conscious that Owens McCarthy had built up an excellent reputation over the years and the re-brand to OMC Claims only took place a year ago.
I want to ensure that the OMC brand gets firmly embedded at “top-ofmind” when it comes to the property claims market in Ireland. The tagline #onyourside is a strong endorsement of the fact that we are on the side of the client and the broker, while loss adjusters are on the side of Insurers.
I want to ensure the OMC Claims branding and tagline is visible at each and every touch point. I am also conscious that each and every OMC Claims employee is an ambassador for the company, the client, and the broker.
Everything we do is to support each other and do the best for our clients. We go the extra mile to ensure the ‘Marquee signings’ Jim Flannery and Diarmuid McNulty recently signed on the dotted line for OMC Claims, Ireland’s leading loss assessing company Diarmuid McNulty left with Jim Flannery.
Irish Broker took the opportunity to talk to these two life-long loss assessors about their journey so far and what lies ahead for the ‘The Claims Department’ of OMC Claims. 037 best outcome for each client. The personal responsibility for each employee to uphold the relationship with each client and broker is supported from the top down.
My colleagues in OMC Claims are people of the highest integrity and operate to the best ethical standards in the market. The level of trust placed in their hands by brokers is returned in spades as the objective to look after the client and exceed their expectations, is also enhancing the brokers reputation and relationship with their client.
Diarmuid, what attracted you to OMC Claims and made you choose this company as the next step in your career? What opportunities do you see for professional growth within the organisation?
Following the sale of Balcombes in 2022, I did a short stint as a loss adjuster to see what it was like on the other side. However, my first love has always been on the side of the consumer. OMC Claims was the obvious choice.
Their nationwide coverage with industry veterans has ensured it has a reputable presence in the market. The chance to work along-side such credible assessors will ensure the collective experience is better than the sum of its parts.
As part of the Fexco Group of Companies, OMC Claims has the expertise and resources in-house as part of an international financial services giant which will bring many more opportunities.
Jim, as Brand Ambassador, how do you plan to leverage your expertise and industry connections to position OMC Claims as a leader in the field?
By reinforcing the reputation and capabilities of the team across the country, and by telling the broker market that we want to partner with them as their “Claims Department.”
Balcombes had operated in Ireland since 1971 and the relationships developed with clients and brokers over many decades will continue to follow Diarmuid and I on our new journey with OMC Claims. Our ongoing commitment to delivering CPD lectures and by publishing case studies and pro-consumer information will firmly establish us as industry leaders.
Each assessor is contactable directly as a resource for claims issues and queries that brokers might need to resolve.
Diarmuid, could you share a notable success story or achievement from your previous experience as a loss assessor? How do you think this experience will benefit OMC Claims and its clients?
Having entered the Loss Assessing business in 1986 with Balcombes I have built up considerable experience dealing with large and complex losses that would generally apply to commercial losses.
It is possible that large household losses can also be complex and it’s crucial in any claim to obtain expert advice as soon as possible after a loss has occurred.
I successfully handled two house fires in the last 3-4 years that occurred to significant properties owned by High Net Worth individuals; one settled for €3.3mil and the other was €1.3mil. On the commercial side in recent years I handled claims for Smyths Toys, The Village Inn and The Merrion Inn just to mention some high profile significant fires.
All three were large and complex claims and the clients needed assistance to manage their claims. They also required advice on how to maintain/protect their business during the interruption period that would have involved repairs/ reinstating their premises.
Having helped numerous companies over the years faced with the devastation of a large fire, it is a huge benefit to have someone with experience who has gone through the claim process with many other businesses.
In the aftermath of any fire, urgent decisions need to be made that will ultimately allow the business to survive the effects that a large loss can cause.
I am confident that my knowledge and experience will benefit both OMC Claims and in turn their future clients.
Jim, what strategies do you have in mind to effectively communicate the value and benefits of OMC Claims to potential clients? How do you plan to differentiate the company from its competitors?
OMC Claims has already been introducing each member of the team to the market giving their background and experience. Each assessor and OMC Claims are active on LinkedIn, and we invite brokers to follow our page and our people to stay up to date with market trends and information.
The synopsis of each assessors biography is also available on the omcclaims.ie website. There is an impressive array of individual experience gained over a long number of years assessing losses.
We will continue to engage proactively with the broker market and develop relationships that are so important to brokers to enable them to help clients when they suffer a serious property damage loss. As a firm of assessors, we have a vast array of specialist contacts in all sorts of areas of expertise that we can bring on board to assist clients.
We will be holding a Corporate Day Broker CPD event in September and this will enable us to highlight the level of expertise available through OMC Claims to brokers.
We are also actively seeking suggestions from brokers as to what way we can support them and their clients on an ongoing basis.
This could be anything from helping them support their local initiatives, mentoring their account handlers or in-house claims staff in claims matters, or by us referring direct clients to use their services.
Diarmuid, in your role as a major and complex loss assessor, how do you plan to work collaboratively with the rest of the team at OMC Claims to ensure seamless and efficient claims management processes?
In my previous employment I worked closely with my Co-Director and other staff so I am used to working in a team environment. OMC Claims is a much bigger team but the same principles apply.
It is always good to get a second opinion on any problem or issue that may arise and with insurance claims that occur, particularly when there are so many different policy booklets provided by the various Insurance companies.
Discussing policy wordings, extensions, warranties and endorsements with colleagues is essential for the efficient management of any large loss.
And finally, for John O’Donoghue (Managing Director): John, with the recent appointments of Jim Flannery as Brand Ambassador and Diarmuid McNulty as a major and complex loss assessor, what do you anticipate these individuals will bring to OMC Claims in terms of business growth and development? How do you see their roles aligning with the company’s strategic vision?
Having Jim and Diarmuid as part of the OMC Team represents a ‘marquee signing’ for us. Their wealth of industry experience and their hard-earned high-profiles speaks for itself.
They are not only Loss Assessors par excellence, they have also deep sectoral knowledge as successful business owners in their own right. Our new colleagues further enhance our collective reputation as being the go-to trusted advisors for claimants and brokers alike.
Jim and Diarmuid also, crucially, deliver professional, ethical claims expertise at the coal-face at a time when the insurance claim business needs everybody pulling in the same direction in order to fulfil the vision that the Central Bank has for a consumer-protection focussed approach to claims.