Delivering on our claims service for SMEs


A fire that started at the back of his premises was very nearly the end of Paul Heitmann’s business.

Instead, a fantastic response from emergency services, a caring claims handling approach and a lot of hard work, kept his plastics manufacturing business ticking over while repairs got underway.

Maxiplas, which produces rainwater tanks and other plastic products, employs around 90 people in Adelaide, South Australia.

What happened

It was a hot January day when a stolen car was set on fire on a backlot away from the Maxiplas factory, Heitmann recalls.

“With 40 knot winds blowing directly towards our factory [the fire] got onto our premises and our plastic product eventually caught on fire.

“We were very close to losing the whole lot.”

Luckily for Heitmann and his business, the fire didn’t get into the premises. But it did burn through a lot of stock sitting outside at the back of the factory.

But the largest amount of damage was done when the water used to control and put out the fire flowed inside the plant and short circuited a number of injection moulding machines.

“That was probably the biggest threat going forward to the ongoing supply for the business -we had to get to get the machines going again,” he recalls.

How to get things running again

The immediate challenges were to keep his staff employed and paid, continue to supply customers and get the plant up and going again.

“We had business interruption insurance and the claims officer from QBE knew that, but he wasn’t just trying to get us up and going as fast as he could just to mitigate the claim,” Heitmann says.

“He was genuinely caring about our business and trying to get everyone working again and getting the company going.”

“It’s easy to think of insurance as a bill to pay every year or month, but that changed when things went wrong and he really understood its value. 

“I just recommend [business owners] get good advice and get it from someone you trust,” Heitmann says.

Find out more about QBE’s SME Insurance or talk to your Business Relationship Manager.