Staff profile: Vedrana Dekich
EBM’s legal eagle loves a challenge.
Vedrana Dekich is just the kind of legal eagle you want to have on your side. As EBM’s in-house legal counsel, Vedrana provides an invaluable service to our company and our clients.
Vedrana’s 20-year legal career has taken her from practising civil and criminal law in Croatia to Melbourne, where she has become a well-respected lawyer specialising in insurance law, joining EBM in 2015.
No stranger to overcoming challenges, Vedrana left her small practice in Zadar in 1993 and headed to Australia where she not only needed to re-qualify as a lawyer while working full-time as a paralegal, but also learn a new language.
“The legal environment in Croatia is completely different. When I arrived in Australia, not only was I unable to practise law, but I didn’t speak much English. So I had to learn the language and then attend university all over again in order to gain an Australian law degree – all this whilst raising two children. But it was worthwhile as it has given us a better life than we would otherwise have,” Vedrana explained.
And it’s this kind of determination that makes Vedrana the perfect legal counsel. Not only does she love a challenge, but she likes nothing better than a positive outcome for clients.
“Working in the insurance industry gives me enormous satisfaction. The industry is highly regulated, and the legal issues which arise can be complex and challenging. It is rewarding indeed to be able to find solutions to difficult problems for the company, brokers and their clients,” she said.
“EBM operates in a highly regulated environment which contains strong consumer law protections. This creates a high level of risk. When I become aware of risk issues which need to be addressed, I pro-actively deal with them.”
Vedrana is often called upon to assist our RentCover and real estate clients.
“I manage real estate agent’s PI claims and provide guidance to the agents on an ad hoc basis. When required, I assist with contentious claims and liaise and negotiate with the underwriter in order to achieve the best possible outcomes. It is day-to-day property management issues that present the biggest risk exposures and challenges for real estate agents, and when I become aware of risk issues affecting a particular agent I provide suggestions on how those risks can be better managed,” Vedrana explained.
“It is a real plus that EBM is able to provide this kind of value-add. In terms of landlord’s insurance policies, the RentCover claims team are really professional and proactive. I step in on purely legal issues, if and when they arise, and generally oversee management of liability claims.”
Vedrana provided an example of how she was able to step in to assist one of our agents: “It was the first day of her job and the agent’s assistant advised the tenant that the property would not be rented to them because the landlord refuses families with children. The tenant threatened discrimination proceedings in the Tribunal. I advised the agent to find an appropriate property (the same suburb, similar size and description) for this family ASAP and reassured the tenant that they will be taken care of as a matter of priority. As a result, further problems were averted.”
It is little wonder Vedrana is often the calm voice of reason, she is a passionate yoga practitioner.
“I enjoy and practise yoga daily. I attend yoga retreats several times a year. On my trip to a yoga retreat in Italy a year-and-a-half ago, I was travelling alone and fell at the train station in Cesenatico and broke my leg,” Vedrana recalled.
“Travel insurance was handy!” she quipped.
And while Vedrana may regularly swim with ‘sharks’ of the legal kind, the ones in the water are another matter altogether.
“What my colleagues do not know is that when I was younger and living in the Croatian coastal town of Zadar, I swam a marathon from the town of Zadar across to the island of Ugljan. My preferred swimming technique was butterfly. I love the ocean but I am petrified of sharks!”