Van Dessel Insurance Brokers
Partner in the picture
Van Dessel Insurance Brokers is one of the Log!Ville Foundation Partners. On the face of it, it may seem odd that an insurance broker is a part of an initiative focused on innovative logistics concepts and technologies. 'But it isn't that strange,' says COO Chris Govaerts. 'We want to improve our knowledge of how the industry is evolving, and conversely keep those companies updated on how to better manage the risks inherent to new technology.'
'We have been working closely with the major transport companies for many years, and we are the biggest broker in Belgium for the transport industry,' says Chris. 'The world has moved on from just shifting goods from A to B, and today we are talking about a total package of solutions that not only involves transport, but also management, stocking, packaging and all the rest. That also means the risks for these companies are very different to what they were, say, a decade ago. Digitisation has also raised the risks – for example, from placing an order through to distribution there is a whole string of communications that are vulnerable to hacking and cyberattacks.'
No historical data
'New technologies mean new risks,' Chris continues. 'As a Foundation Partner we want to improve our knowledge of the market and get a grip on its developments. Using case histories, we will be able to anticipate calamities better. The new risks are as yet uncharted, or at least barely charted, and no historical data is available, which is proving to be an issue for the very traditional insurance companies, which base their risk models on historical data. The knowledge that we will collate at Log!Ville and an improved feel for the market means we can assist insurers to modify their policies or, where necessary, improve our focus in seeking out international market partners.'
'What it boils down to is that we have to be aware of what the industry is doing – artificial intelligence, robotics, fuel cells, driver assistance systems, etc – to unearth the risks and learn how to deal with them. The converse also applies – thanks to Log!Ville we will provide more support to logistics companies in identifying those risks,' says the COO.
'Automatic warehouses are a great example of this. We've already mentioned cybersecurity, but there are many other risk aspects that we can discover and analyse together with those companies. Imagine that a robot selects the wrong part and incorrect assembly causes a machine to break down, or that an automated forklift hits a rack which then collapses. Who is responsible for the resultant damage?'
'And so, as a partner of Log!Ville we want to learn as well as highlight the risks to companies. It will be a two-way learning curve, and even though we are at the very start of the process I am firmly convinced that together we can devise solutions to present to the insurers. They still frequently think in terms of products – one policy for each risk – while the logistics sector is looking for solutions. The expertise we accumulate at Log!Ville will hopefully allow us to break through that silo mentality,' Chris concludes.