Help, like no-one else. A bold statement, but when you’ve got some 53 years of experience in the building industry, assessors such as Garry, are prepared for the things you can never be prepared for. “I've helped people all my life,” he says. “That's what I like doing.”
As an NRMA Insurance Technical Assessor for the past 10 years, Garry has had the chance to help people every day. He uses his decades of experience as a licensed builder to assess everything from major-loss fires and blazes to floods.
Over the past decade, he’s helped people in Lismore (floods and fires), Stanthorpe (fires), Toowoomba (floods) and Townsville (floods) as well as Western Australia (fires). “You never know what you’re going to get before you get there,” he says.
This year, he stayed in Port Macquarie for two weeks helping flood victims, including a couple in their 80s (fortunately, they were fully insured). “They’d lost everything in the house and were devastated,” he says. “The wife was there, the husband was there, and I was talking to the son, and it was a pretty gut-wrenching scene to see the mother weeping, you know. She’d lost everything – all of her years of memorabilia and that.
“I made sure that they got everything they needed, right there and then.
“When you're on the job, no matter what the situation is, you go above and beyond to help that person. You get them emergency funding, get them clothes on their backs, and get them somewhere to stay.”
At the ready
“If there's a catastrophe, we ship out pretty quickly,” says Garry, who is happy to be on call now his children are grown up. “Work could ring me up right now and say, look, we've got a situation here. Well, I just get straight in my work clothes and get in my car and go. To me, it's a genuine concern about the health and wellbeing of the insured.
“I give a 100 per cent commitment to that person. I’m working for them just like I’m working for the insurance company.”
Garry says the NRMA team does whatever it can for you. The goal is to help settle your claim as quickly as possible. “That's why I'm here,” he says. “I've got the experience and the trade knowledge to help them straight away.”
‘You’re dealing with me now’
Garry says much of his success as an assessor comes down to being physically present and making himself available for customers.
“Whenever I'm at a claim I say, ‘Right, you’re dealing with me now’ ... The sigh of relief from the insured is amazing. The most satisfying thing for me being in the presence of someone who’s insured and in a situation which nobody wants to be in, is seeing them walking away smiling, and saying, ‘Oh, thank God, I can call you’.
“The most rewarding part of this job is seeing a customer smile and be happy when they’ve had a bad experience.”