Could you please briefly introduce yourself and share your first impressions of VIG?
First of all, I am very pleased to be part of VIG! The reception I received on my first visit to Vienna was extremely warm, and it was good and important to meet so many colleagues in person right at the start! Briefly about me: I come from Copenhagen, am the father of a 12-year-old daughter and have over 20 years of experience in the insurance industry, especially in the property, liability and other specialty lines. Most recently, I worked at HDI Global and Specialty, AIG and I hold the vice president chair in the Danish Insurance Marketing Association.
How are the VIG Nordics companies positioned, and which business areas are you focusing on?
VIG has been operating in Denmark, Norway, Sweden and Finland since 2019. We have offices in Copenhagen, Oslo and Stockholm - the Finnish market is served under the freedom to provide services. We focus primarily on property insurance business for large corporate clients, mainly in the industrial sector. We also underwrite financial lines and liability. A total of around 10 underwriters with many years of experience and in-depth knowledge of the local markets are currently working to expand our market position. Sales are handled by well-established insurance brokers.
In your opinion, what distinguishes the insurance markets in Denmark, Sweden and Norway from other VIG markets?
In terms of the legislative environment, the Nordics are more stable and mature. Within liability lines in particular, we experience a professional atmosphere on risk management and thereby they should be safer to write. Historically, the Nordic property market withholds lower loss ratios than other regions, which in my opinion is due to the above-average willingness to invest in risk management and protection as well as the willingness to see the benefit of mitigate risks rather than transferring them to the insurance market.
A special feature that is discussed in other countries as well is the commission ban that partly applies in the Nordics. What does this mean for the local markets?
The commission ban has been in place in Norway since 2007 and in Denmark was introduced in 2006 with various transformative rules. The aim was to create more transparency between the brokers, clients and insurers via use of net premiums. Insurance brokers act as fee-based advisors and are obliged to negotiate their remuneration exclusively with the customer. In Sweden and Norway, clients can choose between a net premium and consulting fee or commission via gross premiums – as long as everything is transparent between the parties. Regulations that have built a more sustainable professionalism into the value proposition from brokers and ultimately triggered self-regulation of the market. As VIG, we work exclusively with the global players among brokers as well as the regional market leaders with worldwide expertise benefitting of the increased professionalism towards risk mitigation and risk placement.
What do you expect for the near future?
It is essential to quickly develop a routine in order to build on this and further scale the business. At this point, I would like to pay a big compliment to the team: the Nordic offices were opened in 2019 and had to close again in 2020 due to the pandemic - the customers were subsequently serviced remotely. Insurance is a people business and we are all marketeers. We need to be proactive in our risk selection and take advantage of the hard market cycle to be able to withstand. It is now all the more important to drive business development forward in a structured manner and step by step - with the prospect of a larger team. We will build on VIG's great expertise and systematically expand our positioning.