Peter Barnsley Shares Building and Construction Expertise and Sense of Humour
Editor’s Note: This is the third post in an ongoing series featuring just a few of our many adjuster specialists who comprise Crawford Global Technical Services (GTS™). This month, Peter Barnsley, national general adjuster for the GTS Building and Construction sector, injects his humour as he shares some insights into his Crawford & Company® career. Barnsley, who has a bachelor’s degree in engineering (civil), moved to Australia in the autumn of 2015 and specializes in construction, engineering and building claims.
Name and title: Peter Barnsley, executive general adjuster, Australia and Asia Pacific
Area of specialization: Construction, engineering and building claims on an international basis; plus catastrophe response to hurricanes, earthquakes and floods
What is the most prevalent type of Building and Construction-related claim you handle? Prior to moving to Australia in October 2015, the most prevalent type of loss tended to be escapes of water in high-rise apartments as they approached completion. Since moving to Australia, the most common type of claim is weather-related damage to roads under construction.
How do Crawford®’s specialized Building and Construction claims services set the company apart? Through the worldwide GTS brand, we have resources that are unmatched by any other company and as a result, the construction and engineering adjusters can call upon specialists in many other disciplines to support and provide added value.
What is your most memorable claims experience? This is a very difficult question to answer because there are a variety of reasons why you remember a claim. It could be people, places or the claim itself. One of the most challenging cases I had to deal with was a foundation failure and embankment slippage on a new hospital project in Northern Ireland.There were complex geological and workmanship reasons for the ground movement that led to a complete re-design of the earthworks, and I had to review the various engineers’ reports and translate their reasons into language that insurers would understand; as well as review the issues surrounding defects and defect exclusions. Combined with the technical issues, I had to deal with the contractor, who was a joint venture formed between an Irish contractor and a Spanish one, and these two partners had different approaches to the claim. Finally, the earth movement had taken out a main power line feeding a nearby town, so there were additional negotiations and agreements needed to resolve a third-party claim from the utility company for the damaged cable and loss of power. Technical problems, defects, international relations, politics, third-party damage, negotiations etc.—almost everything a loss adjuster is trained to do!
What is the biggest change you’ve experienced in the industry? That has to be the Internet. When I started in loss adjusting in the early 1990s, we used to have a network of contacts to get information on pricing and specifications. Now you can go on the Internet and get all the information, in minutes, rather than hours and/or days.
What is the best part of your job? I am a civil engineer by background and training and worked in the Construction industry for 20 years before becoming a loss adjuster. So the best part of my job is going back to construction sites and meeting people and having “the craic.” Wikipedia defines “craic” as Craic” (/kræk/ KRAK) or “crack.” It is a term for news, gossip, fun, entertainment, and enjoyable conversation, and is particularly prominent in Ireland.
What advice would you give to a new claims adjuster? Listen, learn and be patient. Also develop common sense and a sense of humour.
What are your hobbies? As a child of the 60s I was going to say something else, but let’s leave it with golf, travelling, reading and family.
What was your first job? I was a petrol pump attendant when at school. My first grown-up job was as a site engineer.
What or who inspires you? My wife, Sue.
What will you do once you retire? Interesting question because I was due to retire this year but came to Australia to work for Crawford instead. When I actually get round to it, I am not sure I have any actual plans. As Spock would say, “Live long and prosper.”
Share a little-known fact about yourself: I worked for a consulting engineer in Iran during the late 70s and shortly after I left the country, the Shah of Iran abdicated. I have always wondered if there was a connection.