“Focusing on insurability and bringing together entrepreneurs and insurers”
June 1, 2021
A new “partner for the unexpected” has just made Riskonet all the wiser. Jules de Jong (49) brings to the party a healthy dose of expertise that he intends to deploy in his new team, to the benefit of the clients that Riskonet advises. “I have already gotten to know my new colleagues as knowledgeable, infectiously enthusiastic and always up for a challenge. I’m raring to go.”
Who is Jules de Jong?
I am 49 and was born and raised in Rotterdam. I still live there too and have recently moved into a new apartment the city centre realised in a distinctive building that used to be a Catholic girls’ school. After being trained as a Mechanical Engineer, I started work for telecom company Alcatel, where I was responsible for the construction of PAN-European data networks. Afterwards, I worked for several years at inspection agency R2B Inspecties, where I specialised in the certification of fire-protection systems, mainly in the field of sprinkler systems. For the past 14 years I have been active with insurance broker Aon, in its Property & Risk Control department. Some people may also know me as a board member of ASPO, a Dutch acronym for the General Damage Prevention Consultation. I am also a member of the Working Group Platform Risk Expertise of “Het Verbond: Quality, Training and Acceptance”. All told, I am bringing 20 years of experience to Riskonet.
What are the similarities and differences between working for your previous employer and working for Riskonet?
At Aon Property & Risk Control, I supported the process of closing insurance policies, with the focus being on fire, machine breakdown and loss of business. At the heart of my responsibilities was providing insight into companies’ risk profile, proposing risk-mitigation measures and making companies aware of the need to be proactive in their risk-management strategy. It was on this basis that, in conjunction with the people who were actually responsible for closing the insurance policies, we were able to offer the best-possible solutions. But whereas at the broker I focused on transactional activities, at Riskonet the bottom line is providing broad advice on risk management. There are commonalities as well as differences.
What are your strengths?
My down-to-earth approach and tenacity. I keep my promises, I am a team player and I’m very protective about my network. Over the years, I have specialised in supporting international companies like Heineken, NMLK, Borusan and Huhtamäki. But I’ve also worked in other sectors, such as logistics, food, feed and “waste to energy”. Concerning the latter, I have been involved with it at Aon right from the start. It’s a fascinating sector with specific problems of its own, involving large waste-incineration plants with specific risks and major insurance interests. Following several major claims around 2014 many insurers withdrew from this sector, so coverage is now very thin on the ground.
A fascinating but difficult sector then?
Definitely. It is possible to obtain insurance in this sector nowadays, but there are too few insurers offering insufficient capacity and with prohibitive conditions. From an insurer’s perspective this is, of course, partly understandable. Insurers look at the loss ratio, premium income versus claims paid. There is an insurer that offers adequate insurance solutions for a large part of the sector, but under stringent conditions. The market wants more, and better, insurance options. That is what’s problematic and what poses the challenge
“I keep my promises, I am a team player and I’m very protective about my network. Over the years, I have specialised in supporting international companies like Heineken, NMLK, Borusan and Huhtamäki”
Jules de Jong
And what can you do for this market at Riskonet?
I can support our clients. I know the waste-to-energy sector like the back of my hand, and I’m familiar with the challenges facing its management and its insurers. I can advise companies on risk management to very detailed level. I feel it should be possible to level the playing field for companies in this sector. In the long term this will enable us to do business with more insurers. Nobody in the sector wants to bet on just one horse or have limited insurance. Something needs to be done.
What are your expectations?
I think we can play an effective role in bringing parties together and establishing the necessary dialogue. I will be able to make good use of my expertise in operational risk management, acquired over 20 years. And I can do this on the “hard” technical side, as well as the “soft” side of the process: involving clients, creating the necessary awareness and convincing them to proactively develop their risk-management strategy. All this will be essential in getting the client to the next level. It’s the departure point, particularly in a difficult market like this one. Actually, in almost every market where conditions are under pressure and in which premiums and excess have risen. It’s a situation in which the insurer is leading because he has a lot of influence on how the risks are defined and managed.
And how will you approach it?
Dialogue is key. You start by listening to the client and involving him from the outset, so that a risk strategy can be established and any negative effects managed. Insurance is an important part of this. That said, it must also be established how much risk the client can absorb, or avoid, and which preventive investments are essential? I notice that insurers are a bit too quick to turn all the available dials in their efforts to make loss ratios positive. They sometimes seem to lose track of the fact that every euro must first be earned by the client and that implementation takes time. Brokers also sometimes go along with all this too easily. My added value is in jointly setting up this strategy with the client and “selling” it to the market, so that players can make more informed decisions. I have the expertise and experience to bring together entrepreneurs and insurers.
What do you expect from your new job?
A new challenge. Expanding my knowledge and being part of a team of risk specialists who want to grow together and be the best in their field. A team that works flexibly, quickly, with short lines of communication – and very closely with the client. I have already gotten to know Riskonet and my new colleagues as knowledgeable, very enthusiastic and always up for a challenge. I am really looking forward to this collaboration.