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BRISBANE, Australia-An Australian loss adjusting firm is forming a joint venture with Chicago-based third-party administrator Gallagher Bassett Services Inc. to develop the U.S. concept of TPAs in Australia.

Brisbane-based Wyatt Group, a loss adjusting firm that provides a wide range of insurance claims services, is joining forces with Gallagher Bassett to form Wyatt Gallagher Bassett Pty. Ltd.

The joint venture will be owned equally by Wyatt family interests and Gallagher Bassett Services Inc., which has annual revenues of more than $116 million and is North America's second largest TPA.

Gallagher Bassett is a unit of Arthur J. Gallagher & Co., which ranked as the world's eighth-largest broker in 1996 (BI, July 22, 1996).

Peter A. Wyatt, who continues as group managing director, said the joint venture broadens his company's operations to 13 offices and 90 employees in Australia and Papua New Guinea.

"As the insurance industry changes, clients are demanding more than just loss adjusting services. They need risk control consulting and claims administration services," he said.

Mr. Wyatt expects risk managers with large deductibles and self-insurance programs will want to access WGB services. Australia currently has no dedicated TPAs.