Canadian Underwriter

The missing piece Canada’s newest engineering player sees in insurance

November 26, 2020   by Adam Malik

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There’s a need for experts capable to handle complex and large loss investigations and provide unbiased views, says the Canadian head of global forensic engineering firm Haag, which has opened up shop in Canada.

The Dallas, Tx.-based company expanded north of the border in September, with former 30 Forensic co-founder Chris Giffin at the helm as CEO. In an interview with Canadian Underwriter, he explained that the Canadian market is in need of “a team of multi-specialized experts void of conflict in manufacture, design, maintenance or ownership of failure.”

When looking at the market today, there’s a gap in the complex and large loss engineering space in Canada, he added. “Haag Canada is going to fill this need, providing the Canadian insurance and legal industry with a vital support resource to tackle difficult projects.”

In particular, Giffin highlighted the forensic commercial complex and large loss market as not being well developed, while the personal lines market is being sufficiently served.

Chris Giffin, chief executive officer, Haag Canada

“As commercial losses continue to grow in scale and complexity, so does the need for a sophisticated forensic engineering resource. This is where we see a need and an opportunity for growth,” he said.

Giffin has been involved in the insurance industry from the forensic engineering perspective for more than 30 years. In 2002, he founded Giffin Koerth Forensic Engineering — which changed its name to 30 Forensic in 2016 — and led the firm for about 16 years. Giffin sold his interest in 30 Forensic in 2018.

What he sees is an opening for developing expertise in the industry by way of “a large, collaborative team of unbiased, multi-specialized experts in Canada,” he said. “That is where we see an opportunity for growth — by providing a progressive and unique service offering to the Canadian insurance industry.”

When he mentions “unbiased” or “void of conflict,” Giffin is pointing out issues around subject matter experts in Canada who are in conflict due to their involvement in sectors like construction, design and maintenance. Haag wants to support the industry by providing experts who “are independent, completely unbiased and free of conflict to ensure objective, accurate findings that can consider all contributing factors to the cause of failure.”

Other areas of demand he noted are in loss mitigation and remediation services. “The business interruption implications of a loss are often overlooked due to a disproportionate focus on the physical damage,” he said. “Bringing these service offerings together with appraisal or quantification of loss presents synergies for efficiency and allows for enhanced client service.”

Traditional, non-forensic engineers typically don’t understand procedural nuance and can’t explain their findings in clear terms a normal person understands. They’re “often not equipped with an understanding of the rules of civil procedure such as the duties of an expert witness or evidence handling protocols,” he added.

Haag offers engineering expertise in construction, heavy equipment, mechanical, chemical, marine and other areas.


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