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Issue 32 - February 2018

Under the spotlight - Ombudsmen Michael Brett Young and Andrew Weinmann

During the last quarter of 2017, the FOS Board appointed Andrew Weinmann, Chris Liamos and Michael Brett Young as FOS Ombudsmen.

In 2016-17, we accepted 22,475 disputes, which was almost 11% more than the previous year. Chris and Michael will help us manage the increase in accepted disputes, particularly in General Insurance, which accounted for 35% of all accepted disputes; a significant increase from the previous year. Having started in the General Insurance stream, Andrew will now lend his expertise to the Investments & Advice area.

While Chris has been with us for a number of years, most recently working as an Adjudicator, Andrew and Michael join us as new starters.

Circular 32 - Andrew Weinmann

Andrew Weinmann

Andrew joined FOS as a Panel Member in 2017 after fifteen years in private practice, working at Australia’s major plaintiff law firms. He was previously the national head of superannuation and insurance at Slater and Gordon, where he grew and led a busy practice helping clients across Australia.

Andrew has served as director with several not-for-profit and community organisations, and has a long record of service as a volunteer at community legal centres in Melbourne and Geelong.

He grew up in South Australia and holds a Bachelor of Arts and Bachelor Laws (Hons) from Flinders University.

1. What drove you to become an ombudsman?
I had spent 15 years in private practice as a plaintiff lawyer. Being an ombudsman lets me do the things I liked best – working through technical problems, and helping people get a fair outcome.

2. What is most rewarding about being an ombudsman?
I’m only a few months in, but so far I am enjoying reading the stories.  Every dispute has a story, and for the applicants, their story is important.

3. What is the most challenging part of your role?
Delivering unhappy outcomes for people in difficult circumstances.

4. What’s your favourite weekend activity?
Being a pool dad on Saturday mornings.

Circular 32 - Michael Brett Young

Michael Brett Young

Michael Brett Young has over 40 years of experience in the legal industry. He has just completed 12 months as the interim Chief Executive Officer of the Law Council of Australia.

In 2015 he was appointed by the Victorian Attorney General to undertake a review of the Victorian Charter of Human Rights, and report on his findings to Parliament. Between 2006 and 2014 he was the Chief Executive Officer of the Law Institute of Victoria.

Previously, he was the Managing Partner of a large national firm which specialises in work injury compensation, transport accident compensation, medical negligence and class actions and business law.

He has extensive experience in Legal Education, having been a member of the Monash University Law Faculty Board, and on advisory groups for both La Trobe University and RMIT. He is currently a member of the College of Law Victoria Chapter Board and is a previous chair of the Estate Agents Council and a former member of the Chiropractors Registration Board.

Michael completed a combined degree in Economics and Law at Monash University in 1975.

1. What drove you to become an ombudsman?
It was an opportunity for me to put the experience I’ve gained over the years from my varied work in legal practice to good use.

2. What is most rewarding about being an ombudsman?
It’s important to protect the truth of every case and investigate what has actually happened in every situation. It’s rewarding when a fair decision can be reached for both sides.

3. What is the most challenging part of your role?
Sometimes there is plenty of contrary evidence from both parties to a dispute and you have to sift through that to reach a fair outcome.

4. What’s your favourite weekend activity?
I’m clearing the beach house for my son’s wedding at the moment. Otherwise, I enjoy working in the garden – I’m very good with a chainsaw!