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Logans - Fifty Years of Trust
30th April 2014
As printed in Gai's Gazette April 2014
Logans - Fifty Years of Trust
For many of us in the thoroughbred racing industry, the name Logans is synonymous with horse insurance.
Logans was established in 1964 when Bob Logan started out as a life insurance agent. He had a pregnant wife, Lorraine, a dog and a kitchen table. He had recently completed the Woolworths Management course but felt it would be better if he worked for himself. Over the next few years he developed a general insurance broking business and in the late 1960's started insuring horses for one of his clients a live wire Canadian called Bob Lapointe. Lapointe had brought KFC and Pizza Hut to Australia and was looking at establishing quarter horse racing in Australia. He had a great love for horses and the horses needed insurance. From there it was a natural progression to thoroughbreds and Bob Lapointe continues his involvement with horses thru Muskoka Farm that was set up in those years and where Gai spells and educates a number of her horses.
Bob Logan had come from Wauchope in country NSW near Port Macquarie where his father had a small timber mill and had always liked and been involved with horses not unlike most country kids. Lorraine had grown up in Taree not far from Wauchope. With 3 young kids they set about specialising in horse insurance. The only way to learn about horse insurance in those days was to travel overseas. They developed equine insurance contacts overseas and systems that would take them to being the leading horse insurer in Australia. Those contacts continue to this day.
It was the early 1970's when Bob started insuring horses for Tulloch Lodge. Tommy Smith could say in a few words what others took an hour to explain. Tommy would say 'All you have to do is pay claims without fuss'. It wasn't about insuring horses, it was about being the best at paying claims. Logans has based its philosophy around those few words that Tommy said way back in the early 70's.
Unfortunately Bob collapsed at the Inglis Sales in April 2007 with an AVM (Arteriovenous malformation). Basically it was a congenital weakness where the brain connects to the spinal cord that burst. It could have happened anytime from birth and not something doctors go looking for in any checkups. Despite being very fit and healthy and across the road from the top neurosurgeons at Prince of Wales there was nothing that could be done. At age 68 he still had a lot of living to do and reinforces the perspective that you need to enjoy every day of your life. If owning a horse is on the agenda then don't procrastinate.
Richard Logan had been working at Logans since 1984 and was able to step into his fathers shoes. He recalls meeting Gai when he was about 8 years old. The one thing that strikes me about Gai, to this day, is that she is enthusiastic, happy, remembers your name and always says hello, winks or waves. She hasn't changed in all this time. To genuinely love people is a remarkable and exhausting trait. She cherishes her friendships and has the utmost respect for loyalty.
Richard had always been interested in horses spending many hours going to the races and horse sales with his father when he was young. He went to boarding school and the kid in the bed next to him was a young David Vandyke, now a trainer at Warwick Farm. David's father, Vic, at this time won the Breeders Plate year after year and always had one of the top 2yr olds. We could talk horses all day and go to the races during holidays. We even played sport in the same teams. It wasn't hard to like horses when your best mate was interested in the same thing and you went to the races and sales all the time.
There was only one career choice for Richard and that was horse insurance. He liked the horses and the people but to get there his parents insisted on a proper general insurance education. At the time insurance was more an apprentice type training. He attended TAFE at night doing the insurance course and worked during the day. He went to the University Technology, Sydney part time and did a B.Bus with a Finance major and insurance sub-major (which was introduced towards the end of the degree). All this while working for Logans including stints in London, the world centre of insurance and New Zealand. He was also sent to the USA to look at what some of the insurance companies there were doing in horse insurance. Somewhere along the way he completed an MBA at the AGSM and became the youngest Fellow of the Australian and New Zealand Insurance and Finance Institute. These qualifications together with over 30 years experience in horse insurance make Richard one of the most qualified insurance executives in Australia not just in horses. Richard's wife Cecilia comes from Lyndhurst Stud at Warwick in Queensland. They have a daughter Isobel and son, Oliver.
Whilst Lorraine has stepped back from the business Richard's sister, Mandy, is the Office Manager and his brother, Andrew has his own general insurance broking business based in the Sydney CBD.
Logans had its beginnings 50 years ago and its success has been built on trust, loyalty and customer service and of course TJ's prophetic words to pay claims without a lot of fuss. Both Logans and Tulloch Lodge are very proud of their 40 year relationship.
Racehorse Insurance Short and Simple
Horses are high risk. Whilst they are majestic they are 600kg with a small brain and a poor genetic makeup. In particular in the first year after purchased everything they do is new or changes. For example taken from a stud environment, broken in, taken to the track, barrier trials, races, change in feed, physical conditioning and all this whilst they are still growing and developing.
What does it cover?
The standard cover is mortality (death) and includes humane destruction, transit around Australia and New Zealand and theft. Humane destruction is determined by the horse being so badly injured or sick that it meets the Veterinary Association guidelines to put the horse down to prevent unbearable ongoing long term pain and suffering.
What sum insured can I have?
In the first year up to the purchase price of the share and thereafter it must represent the current market value of the horse.
Can I insure against breakdown, loss of potential income or the horse not being able to race?
No, the only cover you can buy for a yearling/racehorse is based around the concept of mortality (death)? As they get older and go the stud there are other covers that are available.
What can go wrong?
Here are some examples of recent claims;
Colic is where the intestine becomes blocked. In many cases with surgery it can be un-twisted, or where that part of the intestine is dead, resected and sewed together. In other cases the horse clears the blockage after treatment with paraffin oil or as simple as transporting them which jiggles everything back into place. It is a very serious condition and a leading cause of death.
Broken bones in horses can be catastrophic particularly if associated with a leg. A horse needs it's four rather slim but muscular legs and hooves to rest its 600kg body. If it suffers an injury to one leg or hoof then invariable another leg starts to have problems like laminitis. A smashed or compounded fracture almost certainly ends in the destruction of the horse.
Laminitis is where the blood supply to the hoof becomes compromised either by lack of blood flow or infection. The same four leg/600kg theory applies. A horse cannot survive on three legs for very long.
Accidents occur all the time and can include being cast in a stable or yard, putting its foot down wrong in a gallop, getting on and off a horse truck or just kicking out at a wall, fence or tree. The most unusual event we have seen is a horse that put his head thru a gate and strangled himself. No matter how long you are involved in the horse industry there is always something new that surprises you that a horse does to kill itself.
Wobbler Syndrome is where there is a compression caused by calcification on the spinal cord and causes ataxia (un-coordination) of the limbs. At its worst the horse is recumbent and unable to get up which necessitates humane euthanasia. There is very little medically that can be done for the horse and is a long term condition.
What about veterinary care?
The veterinary care available thru specialist equine clinics in Australia, are equal to the best in the world. Randwick Equine Clinic, its vets and facilities, are considered one of the top racehorse practices in the world. In many cases the medical treatments available to horses are equal to what is available to humans. Despite access to the best medical treatment and the best stabling facilities, horses do die and do things to themselves or have illnesses that necessitate humane destruction.
What is the cost?
Including all the government charges the cost is around $400 per $10,000. Costs do vary according to age and use. For example a flatracer is less than a hurdler. Each state has different stamp duty and therefore the location of the horse also affects the cost. NSW has the lower stamp duty.
The analogy that you insure your car before you leave the showroom is a good one. With a car you can park it in a garage and pretty much nothing can go wrong. You normally don't think twice about insuring your car. A horse on the other hand can be locked in a padded cell and still find a way to harm or kill itself if an illnesses doesn't get it first. The insurance decision is an important part of owning a horse and softens the blow if the unexpected occurs. In many cases our clients use the funds to buy back into another horse.