Ensuring priority service in an emergency

In today’s rapidly evolving risk landscape, BELFOR’s European CEO Elvir Kolak and CEO of BELFOR in Scandinavia, Bjorn Herlofsen talk about the importance of getting ahead of the crisis and the company’s recent expansion in the Nordics

Risk managers can be forgiven for feeling that they have been in firefighting mode for the last two years, struggling to stay ahead of one crisis after another. Reporting risks is no longer enough. It is critical that risk managers are able to prepare for risks before they happen.

While new risks such as cyber have emerged in the recent years, traditional risks have also increased. In the last five years, insured losses from natural catastrophes have resumed a long-term growth rate of 5 to 7% annually, following a benign phase of lower annual losses in the 2012-2016 period.

Risk managers have also had to deal with a hardening insurance market and all that brings – a rise in premiums and exclusions and a reduction in capacity and coverage. The latest figures show that average rates rose by 4% in the first quarter of the year with the rise in property rates exceeding 10%.

One area where the lack of capacity is conspicuous is in business interruption. Not only has coverage declined but the likelihood of long business interruptions has increased. For example, the cost and waiting times for replacing machinery have both increased; the availability of spare parts has declined, as has the number of skilled mechanics and mechanics in general.

And the lack of insurance will itself make recovery from BI much more difficult.

The concerns around BI were evident in the floods that wreaked damage on households and businesses in Europe over the last two years, including Sweden where flash floods occurred in the summer of 2022 following record levels of rainfall. The lack of restoration companies, insurers and other service providers was exposed for all to see, contributing to the commercial trauma experienced by so many small and medium enterprises.

As the impact of climate change becomes more evident, similar extreme weather events are likely to become more commonplace, making it all the more important for companies and risk managers to ensure that they can access critical resources in the event of an emergency and stay ahead of a crisis.

This is where a service like BELFOR’s RED ALERT plays such a vital role.

BELFOR’s RED ALERT service is structured to work alongside companies’ response plans and emergency procedures so that recovery can be more rapid and effective, and that any gaps in business continuity plans can be minimised.

  • BELFOR covers entire supply chains across all continents.
  • RED ALERT® clients receive exclusive access to a dedicated hotline.
  • RED ALERT® clients enjoy priority status. In the event of a national disaster and increased demand, RED ALERT® clients skip the line and get served first.
  • No two businesses or even industries are alike. This is why BELFOR experts’ bring in specialist knowledge and experience of all businesses, being able to customise their services before, during and after a business interruption.
  • By their nature, emergencies create uncertainty. RED ALERT® supports companies in defining their appropriate level of service, which corresponds to their prevention planning, making their business more resilient.
  • The first hours following a disaster are crucial. Step-by-step protocols tailored to the client’s needs reduce the impact of any business interruption. That way, companies are ideally prepared for both minor incidents and worst-case scenarios.

BELFOR has recently expanded its presence in the Nordic market. Having set up its first regional office in 2016 following the acquisition of Danish firm Røsva Skadeservice, in June 2022 it announced the acquisition of SSG, a leading provider of damage restoration services in Denmark, Sweden and Norway.

The acquisition added 980 employees in 57 Scandinavian locations to the BELFOR group, making it a significant force in the Scandinavian market. It will add technical expertise and service capability to BELFOR’S offering and new development opportunities for our employees.

It will also enable BELFOR to expand further into the region. As the world’s leading restoration company with more than 12,500 highly skilled technical people, Scandinavia has always been very interesting in terms of restoration. There is a long tradition of sustainability when it comes to rebuilding and the region is highly industrialised in terms of automotive and other manufacturing sectors. There is also a high standard of living. These are all perfect criteria for adding the region to our growth

While there may well be further acquisition opportunities in the future, we will also be looking to grow organically in the region. Many of the concepts that BELFOR is bringing to the region are new services which will allow SSG to appeal to a wider range of potential corporate clients than before.

*Elvir Kolak, BELFOR Europe chief executive and Bjorn Herlofsen, BELFOR Scandinavia, chief executive

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