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Navigating machinery claims with UAA

Underwriting Agencies of Australia specialise in coverages for cranes and a variety of construction machinery.

Roads & Infrastructure sits down with Michelle Morrissey, National Claims Manager – Underwriting Agencies of Australia, to learn key insights and tips on how the industry can better navigate machinery and plant insurance claims.

UAA has more than 30 years’ experience in providing expert consultation and managing claims for clients across Australia, New Zealand and Asia.

Using this experience, UAA is equipped to provide specialist product and claims knowledge. 

One example of the company’s insurance package offerings is its Industrial Special Plant cover, comprising machinery such as cranes, pavers, earthmoving and construction equipment.

As National Claims Manager Underwriting Agencies of Australia (UAA), Michelle Morrissey says it’s important to clarify that plant and machinery insurance is an accident-based policy, not a maintenance-based policy. 

“What the policy really tailors to under the industrial special plant policy is your cranes and earthmoving equipment, that’s where our expertise lies,” she says. 

Morrissey adds one step that machinery operators and fleet managers can do to ensure that they’re maximising their coverage is to report and review.

“It’s important to look at your sums insured for each piece of equipment. Our clients set their own sums insured, one of the major downfalls that we’ve seen out of COVID-19 is that machines weren’t appropriately insured,” she says.

“It might be something that people actually miss. It’s really important to sit down and look at each piece of equipment that’s in your fleet to determine if you’ve got appropriate levels of insurance to safeguard you at the time of a loss, this includes financial losses that can be inevitable if key pieces of equipment are not in operation,” she says.

“There are a number of items that can be left off by mistake, such as your buckets and other attachments. Look at the actual sums insured and ask if you’re adequately covered. If some of these larger assets are taken out of operation due to an incident, would you have enough financial protection cover to survive that period without the machine.”

Michelle Morrissey, National Claims Manager – Underwriting Agencies of Australia, says communication and transparency are essential for an effective mobile plant and equipment insurance claim.
Michelle Morrissey, National Claims Manager – Underwriting Agencies of Australia, says communication and transparency are essential for an effective mobile plant and equipment insurance claim.

In the case of incidents 

When incidents do occur, UAA’s claims team has the knowledge and experience with insurance solutions to lodge any claim.

“Upon receipt of your claim, our team will allocate it to an experienced claims consultant who will lodge the claim. In most cases, an independent assessor will be appointed to inspect the damages and will contact you within 48 hours to arrange the assessment of your machine,” Morrissey says.

“Once the assessment report is received, our claims consultant will make an informed decision regarding the indemnity available to you and the quantum of your claim. In general, claims result in either repairs or, if the cost of the damage exceeds the market value of the machine, the machine is treated as a total loss.

“While each claim may vary in terms of the information required, the most important step is to promptly notify UAA of any potential claim. This notification should be made as soon as possible and is especially crucial for claims that may result in a loss of revenue.”


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To assist in achieving a smooth claims experience, Morrissey says communication is key.

“To ensure a smooth and timely claims experience, it is essential to complete the claim form in its entirety,” she says. “This minimises the need for additional information and ultimately avoids delays in the assessment process.

“Providing an honest and detailed description of the incident enables UAA to promptly assess liability and determine the indemnity.

“Effective communication and cooperation between assessors, investigators, and insured individuals play a vital role in the smooth progression of claims. 

“Assessors value the information provided on your machines and can provide valuable risk mitigation strategies to benefit your business.”

Inspiring industry

On top of providing UAA is also using its expertise and impact to support businesses to further decrease associated risks. 

One such example, Morrissey says, is UAA seeing an increased volume of incidents involving cranes and other large machinery used across the construction and infrastructure sectors.

She says this has led to a greater emphasis on operator training. 

Therefore reducing the risk of these incidents occurring. 

“We’ve seen a dramatic increase in claims for cranes, the majority of the time it’s down to operator error,” she says. “We present the trends to the industry in an effort to increase awareness and reduce risks.”

Morrissey adds that lasting financial and skilled labour constraints have exasperated the issue.

“I think finding skilled labour is really hard in every industry at the moment, especially in the cranes and machinery sphere,” she says. 

“One of the key takeaways is to actually look at your labour force before they go out on a job, look at the job itself and make them aware of the risks.”

She says presenting the risks increases awareness and may assist in reducing the likelihood of a major incident occurring.

The next steps 

Morrissey says UAA can answer specific questions around the application and process used for machinery and plant insurance claims.

“When it comes to managing claims for mobile plant and machinery, our highly specialised team at UAA Claims has extensive experience,” she says.

“Our focus at UAA is to ensure a smooth, timely, and positive claims experience, and we encourage our customers to reach out to us as soon as an incident occurs. 

“By working together and providing the necessary information promptly, we can expedite the assessment and claims settlement, getting you back to productivity swiftly.” 

This article was originally published in the September edition of our magazine. To read the magazine, click here.

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