I work in insurance: Martin Banasik, Allianz Engineering
Martin Banasik MSc, CEng, FIMechE is principal engineer (lift and crane) at Allianz Engineering
How did you get this job?
Apprenticeships are currently a hot topic and that is how I started my journey in engineering. Having completed an apprenticeship as a machine tool fitter, and subsequently gained a degree in engineering, I continued my academic and professional development with Rolls-Royce IPG, designing, manufacturing and erecting high integrity and heavy duty cranes for the nuclear, Ministry of Defense, steelworks and waste handling industries.
My work at Rolls-Royce enabled me to make connections within the engineering inspection industry, through technical committee activities tasked with developing national best practice guidance and legislative interpretation. I was asked to join a newly formed organisation in 1997 which through time has evolved into Allianz Engineering, as we know it today.
What does the day-to-day involve and how is your job linked to insurance?
As head of the lift and crane division, I set the vision and strategy in the field of lift and crane engineering risk management services.
A further aspect of my role involves undertaking risk management assessments, on behalf of clients, in the form of project process and procedural reviews of transportation, heavy lifting, build and in-service operations within commercial, industrial, construction, railway, power generation and petrochemical sectors, in order to assess legal compliance and technical shortfall. Where shortfalls are noted then these are advised to key client personnel, in order to prevent fatality, injury and/or an incident which could adversely affect project progress.
Practical and pragmatic guidance is then given to clients on the possible remedial actions which could be taken to resolve the shortfall, in line with the relevant legislation and supporting guidance for the territories in question, often to challenging time scale deadlines.
Underwriting teams are then advised of the terms and conditions discussed and agreed with the client under which any risk can be deemed acceptable and cover provided.
What have some of the highlights been in your job?
Providing a solution to a problem is what gives an engineer the greatest satisfaction. Coupling this with working on iconic projects adds to the overall feeling of professional fulfilment. I have been fortunate to have been involved in such iconic projects, such as the erection of the Wembley Arch and London Eye, which required interaction with many differing project functions, operating within time and budget constraints in a very visible environment.
In the various national and international committee activities in which I am engaged, it has also been a privilege to act as a representative of both my company and our national body. Dialogue with other professionals and professional bodies provides a means of personal development as well as enabling others to understand our particular industry.
Any challenges you've faced in the role?
Some of the greatest challenges have not only been technical but also relate to personal tragedy. Loss is an unfortunate facet of our industry. Investigating an incident that has resulted in fatal injuries being sustained by both young and old never fails to stir the emotions.
Professionalism must be maintained at all times to systematically scrutinise events, in order to provide some degree of conclusion which can assist to prevent future occurrences. However, this must be undertaken with empathetic understanding and a sympathetic approach to all concerned.
Guiding people and organisations through the accident process of police, Health and Safety Executive and internal incident recording and reporting is help that is desperately needed at a very critical time.
What response do you get if you say you work in insurance?
I proudly state that I am an Allianz employee. The response, even from friends and family, is often guarded. Immediate reference made to the insurance industry as a whole and stories are related of recent claims, concerns about premiums. I then advise that I work for an organisation that provides services that enable people to live and work safely and projects to be constructed in a timely and legally compliant manner. Unfortunately if things do go wrong, you have someone to turn to who understands and can help to put things right again.