Catching a Glimpse into Environmental Claims Adjusting with David Waller
Editor’s Note: This is the fifth post in an ongoing series featuring just a few of our many adjuster specialists who comprise Crawford Global Technical Services® (GTS™). This month, David Waller of the GTS Environmental Risk Services sector, provides a glimpse into his Crawford & Company® career.
Name and title: David Waller, head of Environmental adjusting, United Kingdom
Area of specialization: First- and third-party claims involving pollution or waste-disposal challenges and specialist environmental-impairment liability claims
What is the most-prevalent type of Environmental-related claim you handle? Domestic heating oil spills, closely followed by commercial and point-of-delivery oil and diesel leaks.
How do Crawford’s specialized Environmental claims services set the company apart? We have access to the Crawford global footprint and an environmental unit staffed with specialist adjusters and in-house environmental scientists who solely handle environmental-pollution claims. We have dealt with more than 6,000 such cases and because of this can add value on complex issues of liability, policy cover and scope, strategy, and cost of remediation by directly handling cases or supporting our colleagues around the globe.
What is your most memorable claims experience? A multimillion-Euro claim involving a large pipeline spill in Italy. I can’t say too much about this because of confidentiality.
What is the biggest change you’ve experienced in the industry? I have been in the industry since 1984 and have seen major changes in approach whereby all aspects of claims are more process-driven and much more heavily regulated.
What is the best part of your job? Handling cases directly or aspects of major losses on behalf of colleagues where my team’s technical input finds a pragmatic and cost-effective solution to a difficult problem. For instance, a recent flood case involved about 1.5 million gallons of contaminated water lodged in the basement of a huge office building—road tankering the water away had been budgeted for approximately £750,000. We arranged for detailed water testing and negotiated with the Government Regulator and the Environment Agency. We gained an agreement for the water to be pumped (subject to certain agreed criteria) back into the river from which it had escaped—for less than £30,000.
What advice would you give to new claims adjusters? I’d recommend getting a broad base of experience in different types of claims. After that, find a specialty that interests them and try and gain niche knowledge in that field.
What are your hobbies? I play tennis both socially and for my local club; I coach a junior Under-13 cricket team; and I enjoy live music, playing guitar and good food.
What was your first job? I went from University in 1984 straight into adjusting with the Thomas Howell Group, where I was a general adjuster.
What or who inspires you? I’ve had a couple of mentors over the course of my career whose assistance and commitment to the profession have been an inspiration. As a tennis fan, though both men may be past their peak, I’ve long admired Roger Federer’s remarkable ability and grace and Rafael Nadal’s amazing fighting spirit and sportsmanship.
What will you do once you retire? Hopefully continue to play tennis and maybe take up golf again. I’d also love to learn to sail.
Share a little-known fact about yourself: I am (very) distantly related to Cherie Blair, wife of former UK Prime Minister Tony Blair.