Q&A with Robert Sniffen

Robert Sniffen, Director, sits down to chat with the Claims Review editor for the second in a regular interview series, where we get to know ITIC’s claims handlers. In this interview, Robert outlines the most memorable claim he has handled and literally describes his pet hate… which is literally so annoying!

How long have you worked at ITIC?

I started working at ITIC in February 2001. I’m coming up to my 20th anniversary next year. I didn’t realise I’d be spending it working from home.

How do you balance claims handling with your other roles and responsibilities?

It comes with experience and having a good IT system that helps manage your time efficiently. Also, we have a wealth of knowledge with our in-house dedicated claims team who are ALWAYS willing to assist.

What is the biggest challenge when it comes to claims?

Unclear initial notifications. On occasion we receive a claims notification which is just a string of e-mails and not very much explanation - which can be a challenge to decipher. Thankfully with ITIC’s handy guide on how to make a claim (itic-insure.com/knowledge/how-to-make-aclaim/managing-a-claim), this challenge has been reduced.

What is the most memorable claim you have handled?

It is difficult to say as I have seen so many. There was one claim brought against a naval architect for personal injury. An individual was on board a yacht designed by ITIC’s assured and claimed for personal injury when they fell inside the cabin. One major fact they left out was that the fall was during a New Year’s Eve party where they had consumed many drinks!

Any life ambitions or future goals still to achieve?

Other than to fly into space, I would like to travel more and see more on this planet.

What is your favourite saying?

I don’t really have a favourite saying, but I have been watching a lot of Star Wars with my children during lockdown – so, “do or do not, there is no try” – Yoda in The Empire Strikes Back.

What are your hobbies and favourite pastimes?

Pre-lockdown I enjoyed going to the gym. I have recently started playing golf (now lockdown is easing), as I have reached an age where playing basketball doesn’t agree with my body, which is something I used to play at college. I also like to read, watch movies and spend time with my kids.

What is your favourite food?

I would eat pretty much all types of food, but if I had to pick one, Thai. There is a great place in Melbourne called Chin Chin.

What is your favourite film?

Too many to choose from, but it really depends on my mood. It could be The Shawshank Redemption, The Godfather or the Back to the Future Trilogy and Original Star Wars trilogy. I enjoy all types of genres except horror.

What is the last book you read or music you downloaded?

I am about to start reading The Shining (Stephen King), I have never seen the film (note my comment above!). I have plenty of room in my freezer if I get too scared. I’m not really listening to much music at the moment but have been heavily into podcasts. I can’t recommend Off Menu enough, but also You’re Dead To Me (history) and The Infinite Monkey Cage (science).

Any pet hates?

People who say “literally” all the time… but other than that, I am fairly relaxed about most things.

How are you finding working from home during this period of lockdown?

It was a challenge at first, but I got used to it quite quickly. My only issue has been my back, I do miss my stand up desk… and my colleagues of course.

Have you developed any new skills during lockdown?

No, although I am trying to cook more.

What do you miss the most about life pre-lockdown?

A cold pint of Guinness in a pub (any pub…!). And seeing members and insurance brokers. I am lucky with the areas of the world I am the account executive for and do miss travelling.

If you weren’t working at ITIC, what would you be doing?

I had a dream when I was younger to be an architect. So maybe that, or into a science field.

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