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REIQ Journal : February 2010
we have an in-house workplace relations specialist who deals with any workplace or discrimination claims on behalf of Scheme members. Without exception, all of our solicitors are very experienced practitioners with substantial knowledge of the relevant legislation and the industry generally. Three members of the team each have over 20 years' experience in the industry. We also all have a real interest in property. I am a former real estate salesperson and serial renovator in my spare time. My colleagues are all equally enthusiastic about the Queensland property market and there is always a lot of talk in the o ce about property! Q Carter Newell has introduced many facilities over the years, for example, the 1800 number and online REIQ claims. How have these services bene ted REIQ members? A We take our commitment to the REIQ Scheme very seriously and always endeavour to provide top quality, prompt and practical advice to members. We aim to make it as easy as possible for Scheme members to obtain advice from us in relation to risk management issues or assistance with claims and potential claims. The implementation of the toll free phone line has been hugely popular. Experience shows that claims or potential claims are stressful for agents and there is a comfort in knowing that someone is there to assist agents when they need it most. The online claims noti cation service (which is accessed via both our website and the REIQ website) has also made it very easy for members to notify us of claims and potential claims. It is a team e ort though, as we work very closely with AON Risk Services and QBE to provide a seamless and hassle free service for members. The services provided by Carter Newell to Scheme members enable members to contact us for free legal advice before problems arise. With our early intervention, we are usually able to di use situations before formal claims are made. This obviously is of great bene t to both Scheme members and also the insurer. Q How do best practice processes such as good record keeping help in defending cases? A A message that we regularly emphasise to agents via the REIQ Journal is that "Best Practice = Best Defence", that is, if agents adopt best practice procedures and processes, they are likely to avail themselves of the best defence possible. Good record keeping is absolutely critical to our ability to be able to defend claims on behalf of Scheme members. We are often involved in claims against agents in circumstances where the agent denies the allegations being made against them but is unable to provide any documentary evidence to support their position. We are then placed in the very di cult position of trying to defend the claim without any documentary evidence, relying only on the recollection and oral evidence of agents and witnesses, whose memories may fade or whose loyalties may have changed over the passage of time. In contrast, where agents are able to provide us with contemporaneous notes of discussions with clients and third parties, diary entries, le notes, correspondence and telephone records, our prospects of being able to successfully defend the claim against them is signi cantly enhanced. Another key message that we emphasise to agents is that inactive sales and property management les should be retained and safely archived for a minimum of six years before being disposed of. We have had many instances where it has been necessary to locate les years REIQ Journal February 2010 28 JOURNALQ&A
December January 2010