11 February 2020
Paul Heitmann will never forget that stinking hot January day when he came dangerously close to losing it all.
If it wasn’t for the brave efforts of the fire brigade, a lot of hard work and the support of his Elders Insurance agent, he’s sure it would have been the end of his plastics factory.
Paul’s business, Maxiplas, produces rainwater tanks and other plastic products and employs around 90 people in Adelaide, South Australia.
How Elders Insurance helped
A stolen car was set on fire on a backlot away from the Maxiplas factory, Heitmann recalls.
“With 40 knot winds blowing directly towards our factory [the fire] got onto our premises and our plastic product eventually caught on fire.
“We were very close to losing the whole lot.”
Paul’s long-time local insurance advisor, Elders Insurance agent Broyce Weniton, from Elders Insurance Mawson Lakes in South Australia, was on the scene quickly.
“I only live 15 minutes away from Paul’s business and from home I could see black smoke billowing down here and so we knew it was a major event and I came down straight away,” Broyce says.
“From day one we had people in the right spots on the ground in relation to cleaning up and assisting Paul.
“I had people behind me to support our client through their toughest moment.”
Luckily for Heitmann and his business, the fire didn’t get into the premises. But it did burn through a lot of stock sitting outside at the back of the factory.
The damage and rebuilding
In actual fact, the largest amount of damage was done when the water used to control and put out the fire flowed inside the plant and short circuited a number of injection moulding machines.
Paul says: “That was probably the biggest threat going forward to the ongoing supply for the business -we had to get the machines going again.”
The immediate challenges were to keep his staff employed and paid, continue to supply customers and get the plant up and going again.
Paul had business interruption insurance. The claim was supported by Broyce and a team of supportive claims officers.
“He wasn’t just trying to get us up and going as fast as he could just to mitigate the claim,” Paul says.
“He was genuinely caring about our business and trying to get everyone working again and getting the company going.”
It’s easy to think of insurance as a bill to pay every year or month, but that changes when things go wrong, says Elders Insurance agent Broyce Weniton.
“They come out of that and they have a really good understanding about why they’ve insured with Elders Insurance, and what we do to help them through that time.”
Paul agrees: “I just recommend – get good advice and get it from someone you trust.”
Find out more about Elders Insurance’s business insurance or talk to your local Elders Insurance agent.