Who Are We?
Daniel Cohen – Director
MA, MBA, BEd.
Daniel has a background in research, consulting and training. He learned first hand how time-consuming, complex and stressful it can be preparing and managing an insurance claim. He has now created a company to assist individuals and businesses to achieve the best possible result when they have an insurance claim.
For over 20 years, Daniel’s pre-eminent training and consulting company has designed and implemented complex interactive business-games for corporate groups. He has been involved in facilitating sessions to improve teamwork and collaboration for businesses all over Australia and overseas. His company has run training programs on customer service, time management and creative thinking. All of these skills are important components of any consulting business including insurance advocacy. He has worked with some of Australia's largest and most prestigious companies including KPMG, Origin Energy, BHP, Channel 7, ANZ and Brown Brothers.
In August 2017, Daniel and his young family lost their entire home to fire caused by a faulty clothes dryer.
What followed was equally traumatic: an 8-month battle with the insurance company to settle the claim and then almost a year for planning and building permit approval. By the time Daniel and his family were finally able to move back into their new home, over 1000 days had passed since the fire that had destroyed everything. Such delays are common.
According to Daniel:
Dealing with an insurance company is a stressful, multifaceted high stakes game. To succeed, you need to comprehend the rules, understand the claims process and be ready for the tactics that might be used against you.
With his wealth of insight and experience, Daniel is well placed to navigate the complexities of the insurance maze and break down the barriers that exist in pursuing your claims.
During his ordeal, Daniel spent a huge amount of time reading through Policy Disclosure Statements, engineers reports, the Insurance Industry Code of Conduct and the Building Codes. He spent days meeting with town planners, talking with the Victorian Building Authority, and meeting with architects, building surveyors, building inspectors and engineers. It was a full-time job.
When Daniel asked his Building Inspector whether he should start a business in this field, the inspector said “there is a huge need for insurance advocates, but nobody wants to do it. It’s just too difficult.”
Daniel is well suited to the role of an insurance advocate as his character strengths include perseverance, attention to detail and a passion for fighting for consumer rights.
Dr Greg Dolgopolov – Senior Associate
For over twenty years Greg has worked as a University lecturer and researcher. He has a BA(Hons) and PhD in Communication Studies and his passion is to help people, to educate them so that they can fight for themselves. Greg is a little obsessive when it comes to research - like a dog at a bone, he wants to get at the heart of the matter - to know everything that there is to know about a subject and to present that research in a thorough and engaging way.
Greg injured himself playing touch football for a corporate team a few years ago. As it was a work sanctioned event his knee reconstruction was paid for by the insurance company. But of course they didn’t want to pay the claim. They discovered that ten years before that he had a knee injury and they claimed that it was a pre-existing condition and so refused to pay. Of course they couldn’t explain ten years of hard physical activities in between. So Greg took them to court and won. Most people don’t fight the insurance companies. They just accept the insurance doctor’s reports and don’t question them, thinking that they are professionals and so they must be right.
Cathy Norman – Associate
As a client, you want Cathy on your side. She has experienced first-hand the frustrations of dealing with an insurance company after significant storm damage to her home. Cathy knows the importance of perseverance and the value of attention to detail in ensuring claim success.
Cathy is a passionate educator with broad and varied experience. Over the past 30 years she has taught, researched, trained, coached, facilitated and volunteered; working across all sectors – from kids to corporate, adults to adolescents and public to privileged.
Her expertise in improving systems, refining policies and streamlining procedures in her quest for continual improvement are invaluable qualities that make her an asset to ACE Advocates. A caring leader and an excellent communicator, Cathy combines absolute integrity with dogged determination and strong ethics with grit and tenacity.
When it comes time to step up to the plate Cathy is conscientious, adaptive and organised: an enthusiastic and valuable colleague and a key ally for our clients. Always an advocate for social justice, Cathy brings that same spirit of care and compassion to her dealings with clients. She doesn’t give up easily and will work tirelessly to assist you to achieve the best possible result for your business, based on your unique circumstances.
Pamela Walpole - Associate
As an English language graduate, Pamela’s first graduate role involved writing a plain English version of the Superannuation Act for staff working in a big Super fund – not a very sexy beginning to a career, but it did spark her love of the way clear language can bring meaning to complex concepts.
Pamela has worked as a data analyst for more than ten years, but has experience in market and social research, project management and events across the private sector, education , local and State government. She’s good at asking questions and has an eye for detail.
Like many of us, Pamela has come up against organisations behaving badly or without care – telcos, utility companies, local councils and even employers – and she doesn’t shy away from taking on a good cause, especially where there is a power imbalance at play: whether it’s a local Council planning permit with unexpected impacts or an unfair condition in a household power supply contract, if it’s not right, it’s worth pursuing.
As a convenor of conference events over 20 years, Pamela has also come up against the minefield of supplier conditions and contract clauses, and has learnt that having patience and taking the time to read the fine print is always crucial.
Her volunteer work spans a local not for profit food cooperative, independent primary school Board and sporting clubs and associations in her local community. In her spare time she is an avid tree planter, which she says is the ultimate expression of patience and diligence.
Lamar Belafonte - Special White Ops
You will never meet Lamar or talk to him. He won’t be involved in any zoom meetings... but make no mistake, he is the most important person in our organisation.
He will research your case and prepare documentation. He will check and double check everything. He is a creative thinker, investigator, web designer and voice over specialist.
Tell him that something is impossible because it just motivates him more. He likes to do at least one impossible thing a week. He has amazing literacy skills and he especially loves cases where the insured has given up hope of a successful outcome.
Some say he was a Navy Seal and others think he was once a Hollywood stuntman. He won’t comment however his background is not important...it’s what he does in the background that matters.
We are glad he works for us because he can do anything and everything. Rest assured...if you work with ACE then Lamar is working for you.