Rebuilding a community icon

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In July 2012, lightening struck Egypt Hall, causing a fire which devastated the community building at the heart of the small hamlet of Georgina on the southern shores of Lake Simcoe. The hall was owned by the town and served as a focal point and venue for gatherings and parties. Cunningham Lindsey’s executive general agent Rick Bahen was immediately called in to advise the insured on the loss.

  • The Challenge:

    A review of the original building plans revealed that the building – constructed by a team of volunteers in 1989 – failed to meet current building standards. The Hall Board and Community members wanted their new hall to have all the character and amenities of the original building but were aware that as a public space, it was critical the new structure met modern building codes.

  • The Solution:

    Contractors and tradesmen involved in the rebuild were all local to the area and understood the importance of retaining the integrity of the original hall in their rebuild. This included sourcing bricks that were identical to those used on the first structure. Eighteen months after the fire the new hall was complete, stronger and more resilient, but with the same character of the first Egypt Hall.

Faulty girders cause multi-million dollar loss


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Construction on the underground tunnel had begun in 2011 and was due for completion in the fall of 2014. However, problems were identified with the pre-stressed concrete girders in 2013 and work on the tunnel halted.


  • The Challenge

    The contractor hired to design, build and install the pre-stressed concrete girders made 500 between August 2012 and May 2013. While a quality management procedure and plan was in place, the insured was concerned about the use of tack welding in the girders.

  • The Solution

    Extensive testing and analysis of the girders began with the random demolition of six girders and extensive load testing. It was determined that in addition to the use of tack welding and lack of regulatory approval, none of the girders were fabricated according to the original agreement. The loss adjusters determined they were deficient and unsafe to be put to use in highway tunnels.

Rebuilding Christchurch

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Over 90% of claims from the Christchurch quakes have been settled, but that still leaves a significant number of losses unresolved.

It is over five years since the first serious earthquake occurred in Christchurch, New Zealand, and there have been nearly 14,000 aftershocks. The 6.3M quake on 22 February 2011 killed 185 people, destroyed much of the inner city and rendered several suburbs permanently uninhabitable. Cunningham Lindsey has been involved in approximately 30,000 claims and has surveyed in excess of 60,000 damaged properties.

  • The Challenge:

    Before the earthquakes the Cunningham Lindsey New Zealand company had 185 staff. We lost both Christchurch offices during the earthquakes, but thankfully none of our staff or their families were seriously injured.

  • The Solution:

    At the height of the earthquake response, our numbers swelled to over 550, and many of the additional adjusters came from Cunningham Lindsey in Australia, the UK, South Africa, Canada, Spain and the US. In normal times the New Zealand office has five chartered accountants. At one stage after the earthquakes we had 56 accountants on board to handle nearly 6,000 earthquake business interruption claims, dealing with customers under great stress, many with businesses and homes in ruins.

2015 Australian storms and floods

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A spate of hailstorms and cyclones caused widespread damage throughout New South Wales and Queensland during the early part of 2015, with claims reaching US$1.5bn

We worked closely with insurers and brokers to make sure policyholders received the best possible service.

We quickly mobilised local teams including technical loss adjusters, restorers, building consultants, engineers and forensic accountants to provide immediate assistance, with our 24/7 Customer Services Centre in Wollongong ensuring priority was given to the worst-affected customers.

  • The Challenge:

    After a succession of natural catastrophes, including hail storms, cyclones and floods, the damage ranged from minor water damage of homes through to total commercial building collapse and business interruption. In total, the industry received over 170,000 claims that it needed to assess and process as quickly as possible.

  • The Solution:

    Cunningham Lindsey stepped up its response, establishing Catastrophe Management Offices for each event, setting up Customer Care Teams in Melbourne, Parramatta, Adelaide and Brisbane and bringing in 20 experts from the UK, New Zealand and US, experienced in the complexities of severe storm losses, to support local teams.

Tianjin Explosions

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On 12 August 2015 two massive explosions occurred at the Port of Tianjin, China, killing over 150 people. The disaster is one of the largest and most complex man-made losses to occur in the region.

The blast affected a 3km radius, leaving a massive crater, destroying warehouses and incinerating thousands of cars and shipping containers.

Total claims could reach $3.3bn, excluding losses from business interruption and supply chain interruption.

Cunningham Lindsey took immediate steps to mobilise its local team, led by China manager John Law. An additional 30 experts were drafted in from other offices to assist.

We responded to the explosion in Tianjin rapidly... it gave us a chance to shine and to get our customers back on their feet

Jane Tutoki

Cunningham Lindsey

Global CEO


  • The Challenge:

    Concerns by authorities that toxic chemicals had been dispersed by the blast, in particular sodium cyanide, meant access to the site was severely restricted in the immediate aftermath.

  • The Solution:

    The Cunningham Lindsey team worked closely with brokers and insurers to make use of satellite imagery and drone footage in order to gather information, carry out initial loss assessments and keep clients informed during this period.