Each year, we partner with our lead property insurer, AFM, to offer Statewide Mutual members the opportunity – and trip – of a lifetime.

We identify those members through our AFM Statewide Risk Management Scholarship competition. And it’s on again this year.

We sat down with our 2023 winners to find out what their experience was like, how it’s enhanced risk management in their municipalities – and how you could be on your way to Singapore in 2024.

But first… who is AFM?

AFM, part of FM Global (located in Singapore), is Statewide Mutual’s lead property insurer.

FM Global operates under one key mantra: protect today, prosper tomorrow. With a sole focus on commercial property insurance, FM Global engineers solutions to keep businesses going and growing strong.

FM Global’s origins can be traced back to 1835 when Zachariah Allen – an American textile mill owner – recruited other mill operators to create a mutual property insurance company. It’s quite the story.

Now, almost 200 years later, FM Global is an international presence operating across five continents. It’s one of the world’s largest commercial property insurance companies – insuring one in every three Fortune 1000 companies and similarly sized organisations globally.

2023 AFM Scholarship’s call to action

AFM’s scholarship is all about rewarding members who are proactively addressing and mitigating property risks.

The reward? Further education around risk-based engineering solutions in AFM’s Loss Prevention Training course. In Singapore.

Last year, we asked applicants to answer one simple question in 500 words or less: How is your Council protecting its assets against fire, tempest, flood, burglary, theft or malicious damage?

Among all the incredible entries, two stood out. The first was from David Oxenham, Director of Engineering at Tweed Shire Council. The second from Brandon Paull, Risk and Insurance Officer of Shoalhaven City Council.

From the eyes of our winners

So, how did our winners find the trip? Let’s ask them.

‘From the start, everyone I spoke with was open, polite and excited to help me learn,’ Brandon shares. ‘I thoroughly enjoyed getting hands-on with various safety systems and learning through FM Global’s experiences. It was simply enlightening.’

David agrees.

‘It was a real eye-opener to see the extent to which FM Global has gone to understand the causes of property damage, such as fire, flood and wind,’ he recalls. ‘I was particularly impressed by the skills and experience of their engineering and technical staff.’

Of course, there was much to experience outside FM Global’s walls, too.

‘Outside of the centre, I was treated to a crash course in Singapore’s historical and culinary culture,’ Brandon remembers. ‘We visited Indian, Malaysian and Chinese places of worship, as well as iconic landmarks such as Merlion Park, Clarke Quay and the SkyPark Observation Deck. All the while trying food from any hawker centres or street vendors we could find!

‘Overall, it was a fantastic experience – and we only got a glimpse of what Singapore has to offer.’

Taking home more than we came with

The biggest measure of such a trip’s success? What the winners bring back home.

‘For our Council, the tour was very timely. Just prior to the trip, we had the misfortune of a car fire in a Council-owned multistorey car park,’ David shares. ‘And with the FM Global visit fresh in my mind, the question for me was: What if we had installed a fire sprinkler system?

This is the same question Tweed Shire Council is now asking itself ahead of its $38 million depot development.

But David’s not the only one with some questions in mind.

‘Broadly speaking, the trip established there are 3 questions you should consider when applying risk assessment and mitigation practices to property assets: What is legally required? Are the risk management systems fit for purpose? And are they fit for the future?’ Brandon says.

‘Throughout the course, we learned that many organisations focus only on what is legally required, and can therefore experience greater exposure when significant incidents occur,’ he reveals. ‘So, developing risk mitigation systems that are fit for purpose and future-resilient is a crucial objective, but also an ongoing learning opportunity.’

And who better to help you with that than AFM – and your Statewide Mutual risk manager?

If a trip to Singapore sounds like just the ticket for you and your Council, submit your application to the 2024 AFM Statewide Risk Management Scholarship today.


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