Key to Success in this Field: Gain Trust
Editor’s Note: This is the ninth post in an ongoing series featuring just a few of our many adjuster specialists who comprise Crawford Global Technical Services® (GTS™). This month, Domingo Salerno of the GTS Power and Energy sector, provides a glimpse into his Crawford & Company® career.
Name and title: Domingo Salerno, international executive general adjuster, Frisco, Texas. I handle losses in the United States, Argentina, Bolivia, Brazil, Mexico, and Peru. I was born in Caracas, Venezuela, and attended Universidad Simon Bolivar, where I obtained my Mechanical Engineering degree in 1981. I also earned an MBA at the University of Arizona in Tucson, Ariz. in 1991. In July 1993, I started my career as a loss adjuster at another company in Caracas, Venezuela.
Area of specialization: Hydro and thermal power generation and petrochemical industry
What is the most-prevalent type of power and energy-related claim you handle?
Power generation equipment, such as gas combustion turbines, steam turbines and Pelton and Kaplan hydro turbines; and electrical generators. Petrochemical fire and mechanical breakdown of process equipment, such as crackers, pyrolysis furnaces, boiler and pressure vessels.
Crawford’s specialized power & energy claims services set the company apart how? The vast expertise acquired by our GTS™ team of global adjusters allows us to understand and manage the expectations of the participating insurers, re-insurers, experts, forensics specialists, lawyers, and regulators. Our team of experts could act immediately to control and mitigate power & energy losses because we are available 24/7 as part of Crawford & Company®’s global network.
What is your most memorable claims experience? I adjusted an electrical breakdown loss in Tamaulipas, Mexico, which involved a 195-megavolt amperes electrical generator. The original equipment manufacturer (OEM) estimated the repair costs and the time to complete it at $12 million and 8 months, respectively. To avert a daily business interruption (BI) loss of about $250,000, or a total BI loss of $60 million, I located a second-hand generator in Houston that required additional expenditures of $ 12.5 million to inspect, test, transport, adapt, install, and commission it for use. This mitigation measure avoided penalties to the insured and saved reinsurers a significant amount of money—about $47.5 million. Finally, I convinced the insured to keep the second-hand generator by purchasing it for a reasonable amount of $3 million. Although a loss, it ended with a win-win situation for all involved parties.
What is the biggest change you’ve experienced in the industry? New technologies in the energy industry have brought higher efficiencies and more profits but have also conveyed new risks and challenges. The oil, petrochemical, and power companies rely nowadays more on sophisticated computer systems to control their remote operations. These new systems are exposed to human errors, sabotage, and cyber-attack. Companies continue investing in new and remote locations to explore and process their products. In case of a loss, the mitigating measures and response speed become major challenges because of the huge costs and difficulties encountered when accessing these locations. Finally, the costs of BI losses have become larger and more complex due to the bigger profits generated by the refineries and petrochemical companies as well as the increasing number of global interdependencies.
What is the best part of your job? Learning from the interactions and experiences with the different people and specialists involved in adjusting power and energy losses. Each loss is unique, and the people involved have different interests and expectations. As an adjuster, it’s necessary but enjoyable to select and guide experts to properly assess the extent of damages, investigate the circumstances and cause of the loss, estimate the losses, and manage the expectations of the individuals involved.
What advice would you give to a new claims adjuster? A new adjuster interested in power and energy losses needs proper training and support from management. Essential steps include attending classes, seminars, and most importantly, getting involved in real power and energy losses by assisting senior colleagues.
What are your hobbies? I follow Major League Baseball and basketball by attending games and reading the sport news. I also like watching movies on TV and reading non-fiction books.
What was your first job? At the age of 9, I started working with my father in his carpentry shop and continued for the next five summer vacations. From this experience, which I really enjoyed, I realized how difficult is to earn a living by doing this type of work and the importance of earning a college degree.
My first experience as a loss adjuster was to assist a senior colleague after a March 1993 “vapor clouded” explosion. This occurred to a gas compression plant located offshore in Maracaibo Lake, Venezuela. My first task was to prepare a visual damage assessment survey of the building and equipment left after the explosion. For two weeks, I flew daily in a helicopter from the hotel to the offshore platform and took more than 1,000 photographs (digital cameras were work-in-progress at that time). The property damage loss was adjusted and measured at $59.5 million after 3 years.
What or who inspires you? My father inspired me in my personal life, but David Pigot, a well-known energy loss adjuster who used to be my supervisor at another company in Caracas, Venezuela, encouraged me to learn and prepare for my career as a loss adjuster. David advised me that the key to succeed in this field is to gain the trust of the people assigning a loss by following these principles of trust:
- Keep your Word
- Deliver as Expected
- Follow through the Actions Instructed
After 23 years as a loss adjuster, I still treasure David’s advice and pass it along to my collaborators.
What will you do once you retire? I would like to work part-time and share my experience with younger loss adjusters; and also travel with my lovely wife, Mary.
Share a little-known fact about yourself: I flew 35,000 miles during a seven-day trip to two multi-million-dollar losses in Brazil and Venezuela. I arrived home the evening of Christmas Eve in 2007. At that time, my manager rewarded me with $500 after-tax bonus, which my wife, two children, and I spent during Christmas.