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The last issue of Gard News featured the staff of the Defence Department. In the second of this series of articles presenting Gard's staff, the focus is on the Claims Department Administration and the Casualty, Environmental and Pollution Claims Section of the Claims Department.

Claims Department Administration
Undoubtedly, for nearly all Members of Gard the most important and most frequent claims-related contact with the Association occurs with Gard's professional claims staff. However, as support for the claims staff, the Claims Department centralises some administrative functions. A Director of Claims oversees the Department, assisted by a deputy.

A new feature of Gard's Claims Department is the appointment of a Knowledge Management Officer. The Association recognises that knowledge is an important asset, particularly in the P&I niche. The Association aims to offer improved, efficient and creative claims handling using knowledge management principles such as lessons learned from past claims and IT tools.
Additionally, Members rely heavily on the correspondent network of the Association. Monitoring this global network of correspondents is an important task to which the Association has now dedicated a full time Assistant Director.

Christopher J. Brown
Chris joined Gard in 1989. He has been a Director of Gard since 1995, involved in the handling of all claims types. He is an American with combined legal and economics degrees. From 1997 to 1999 Chris resided in Hong Kong to assist with the establishment of Gard Asia (HK) Ltd. Presently he is Gard's Director of Claims.

Christen Guddal
Christen joined Gard in 1992. He holds a Masters degree in business economics. At Gard he has worked four years with dry cargo claims and three years in the Personal Injury and Crew Claims group, including more than two years in a managerial capacity. Christen also served five years as Secretary to the Executive Committee. He has been instrumental in key IT projects to support claims handling, as well as in implementing Gard's ISO-certified quality management system. Christen's present responsibility as Assistant Director of the Claims Department is to act as deputy to Chris Brown.

Gunnar Topland
Gunnar joined Gard in 1971 and has been handling claims or supervising claims since then. He has a business degree and following school worked for a few years with certified public accountants Ernst & Young. In his current position as Assistant Director Gunnar has responsibility for the selection and performance of Gard's correspondents. He is also a representative on the International Group of P&I Clubs Representation Sub-Committee.

Alice Jackson
Alice joined Gard in 1991. She is an English solicitor, who trained and worked in private practice in England and Hong Kong. Until recently she was active with Defence claims handling and management in the Defence Department. Alice has accepted the exciting and ground-breaking task to lead Gard into the knowledge management field, as the company's Knowledge Management Officer.

Ingrid Amland
Ingrid joined Gard in 1993. She is secretary to the Director of Claims, and also assists in preparing papers for the Association's Committee.

Irene Hermansen
Irene joined Gard 45 years ago, making her the employee with the longest seniority in the company. She is secretary to Gunnar Topland.

Casualty, Environmental and Property Claims Section
Gard's Claims Department is divided into three main sections:
(1) Casualty, Environmental, Collision and Property Claims;
(2) Personal Injury and Crew Claims;
(3) Cargo Claims.

This issue of Gard News introduces readers to the staff in the Casualty, Environmental, Collision and Property Claims Section.

In almost all serious casualties involving collisions, groundings, pollution or damage to property, the Association relies on a combination of practical maritime and legal skills. While events are happening, persons with maritime experience can quickly understand the critical salvage and technical issues which arise.

In addition to technical knowledge, most casualties demand rapid legal input as well. It is perhaps
an unfortunate but accurate observation that large claims incurred by Members are becoming increasingly complex, particularly as regards legal actions. Hence, the Association strives to supplement the important maritime knowledge with qualified legal expertise.

A typical claim handled by the Casualty, Environmental and Property Claims Section of the Claims Department might involve a collision. Following attention to rescue efforts, immediate consideration must be given to issues such as jurisdiction, nature of claims likely to arise, contact with other underwriters, pollution clean-up, engagement of surveyors and experts, research on limitation of liability rights, general average or other cargo implications, care of crew or passengers, and so on.

Collisions and other physical property damage claims can arise under damage to fixed or floating objects (FFO), Running Down Clause (RDC) and other collision liability covers. These claims are often high in value and require substantial claims handling experience and resources.

Undoubtedly, environmental liability is one of the fastest growing areas of shipowner liability. While pollution has traditionally conjured up the image of a tanker spilling oil cargo, the current environmental liability landscape is complex. Vessel owners, managers and crew can face environmental civil or criminal liability regardless of vessel type. Some of the most sensational and expensive maritime events covered by the shipping and general media in 1999 related to spills of bunker fuel by dry cargo vessels.

A catalogue of current environmental concerns in shipping - and areas followed by Gard's staff - include coral reef damage, criminal liability for pollution, air pollution, spread of biological organisms in ballast water, spills of chemicals, the use of certain anti-fouling paints, and so on. The Association also follows legislative developments around the world and aims to offer Members advice for loss prevention, and where needed, claims minimisation.

The staff identified below is located in Arendal. Other Gard offices outside Arendal are also actively involved in casualty and environmental liability work, and will be presented in later Gard News issues.

Additionally, Director Sara Burgess, who represents Gard on the International Group of P&I Clubs Pollution Sub-Committee, oversees many of the Association's large environmental claims. Sara was presented in the last issue of Gard News, in her capacity as Director of the Defence Department.

Svein Dahl
Svein joined Gard in 1979, following eight years in shipping offices, where he was mainly responsible for insurance work. Prior to that, he served for five years aboard LPG and chemical carriers as an officer, including relief Captain. Svein has been deeply involved in the handling of numerous large pollution incidents. As a Senior Claims Executive, his focus on pollution includes providing advice to Members, attending and assessing response drills, contract review and when necessary co-ordinating the handling of pollution claims.

Ole Enge
Ole joined Skibsen, a hull and machinery insurer then linked to Gard, in 1968. In 1975 he became a full time Gard employee. Prior to his insurance career he was at sea for eight years. He obtained certification as Master and Extra Master. Ole's expertise includes general average issues and knowledge of the often complex interaction of P&I insurance with various hull and machinery conditions. During his many years at Gard Ole has overseen hundreds of large collision claims and plays an important role in Gard's emergency response system. Ole is a Senior Claims Executive in the Casualty, Environmental, Collision and Property Claims Section.

Jan Jacobsen
Jan joined Gard in 1983, having left his position as a VLCC Master the previous week. He was in all 20 years at sea, the last nine years as Master. He sailed on all vessel types. His wealth of experience includes being a First Mate early in his career aboard a 100,000 GT pre-inert gas system OBO, which suffered a mid-ocean explosion. Watching 70 ton hatch covers blast overboard was unpleasant, but useful today in understanding the events crew, salvors and Members face. Jan has worked handling numerous claims types, in particular collision and damage to hull matters. He is presently Senior Manager of the Casualty, Environmental, Collision and Property Claims Section.

Anne Boye
Anne joined Gard in 1991. Following a business education, which includes obtaining a degree at a college of insurance, she had various commercial jobs. Anne is a claims adjuster and works primarily with damage to hull and property claims.

Einar Christensen
A Norwegian lawyer by training, Einar joined Gard in 1993. He has worked with Defence and various cargo claims and was seconded to Gard (UK) in London for one year in 1995. Einar is a claims adjuster and works primarily with collision and other physical damage claims. He also serves as Secretary to Gard's Executive Committee.

Hans Øyvind Leikvin
Hans joined Gard in 1991. He is a Master Mariner with vast knowledge acquired during his 22 years at sea. Hans has such diverse experience as commanding a drilling ship in the equatorial tropics, to commanding tugs north of the Arctic Circle off Greenland towing icebergs away from drilling platforms. He has also worked on salvage tugs and semi-submersible drilling platforms. As a claims adjuster at Gard, Hans primarily assists Members with collision, damage to hull and other property damage claims.

Patrick M. Leahy
Patrick joined Gard in 1997, moving to Norway from his native United States. He is both a lawyer and a licensed deck officer. He has a degree from the United States Merchant Marine Academy at Kings Point and sailed for five years aboard various vessels, particularly tankers. In addition to his sea experience, he worked for one year as a shipbroker before attending law school. Patrick works as a claims adjuster, dealing primarily with pollution matters world-wide.

Grethe Ljøstad
Grethe joined Gard in 1984. Her education includes commercial courses and studies in all aspects of marine insurance. As a claims adjuster she focuses on minimising damage to hull issues arising under charterparties and in assisting the other staff handle complicated collision matters.

Ruth Sætran
Ruth joined Gard in 1980 after six years in other marine insurance companies. In addition to being a secretary in the Casualty, Environmental, Collision and Property Claims Section, she is responsible for maintaining the Club's roster on Vessel Response Plans.

Ellen Evensen Leikvangen
Ellen joined Gard in 1997 after working six years for a hull and machinery underwriter. Ellen has also been at sea for five years as a radio officer. She works as a secretary in the Casualty, Environmental, Collision and Property Claims Section.

Inger Lill Asbjørnsen
Inger Lill joined Gard in 1996. She is secretary to the Casualty, Environmental, Collision and Property Claims Section.

Gard News is published quarterly by Assuranceforeningen Gard, Arendal, Norway.