Writer: Matthew Staff
Project Manager: Tom Cullum
In just eight years, Alesco Risk Management Services has diversified its portfolio at a rapid and extensive rate, leading the Company to award-winning notoriety and instilling its reputation in the industry as a fully-integrated, reliable and turnkey partner of choice.
Founded in 2008 by a team of experienced professionals specialising in the provision of risk management and insurance solutions for the global energy industry, the UK-based entity’s fresh business model facilitated unprecedented growth under the ownership of Arthur J. Gallagher; demonstrating an entrepreneurial flair and internal flexibility that could only derive from an in-house, personable ethos.
“Alesco is one of the few brokers that does not outsource any part of the claims service. Our rationale is that to service a client properly there has to be an integrated and cohesive approach so that the whole placement and service plan wraps around the client,” Chief Executive Officer (CEO), Simon Matson affirms. “This ensures that every team member is fully cognisant of what the other elements are doing, to maximise the knowledge and partnership with each client.
“We believe a client gains more from speaking to the actual people who will have a hands-on, personal involvement on the account and actually deliver the service. This means clients benefit from a truly personal service, while being able to call on a wealth of sector experience right across Alesco’s specialisms to ensure their programme covers all their exposures and addresses every objective.”
And the service becomes even more attractive and widespread as more aforementioned specialisms are added. Branching out into construction, property and casualty, to complement its ongoing energy and oil & gas successes has, in turn, facilitated a workforce expansion to as many as 205 staff members, while combining to offer “a single point of contact for global clients needing to access the increasingly interwoven construction, energy and casualty insurance markets”.
Matson continues: “Alesco historically provided a range of specialist risk and insurance services to the global energy sector, predominantly in the oil, gas and power industries. However, with the introduction of our highly experienced construction and casualty teams in 2014 we were able to diversify into other product areas; for example, becoming involved in non energy-related infrastructure projects such as roads, railways, dams and real estate on the construction side.
“Our casualty clients range from national oil & gas companies to hotel chains and manufacturing companies.”
Embracing the expertise existing within the Company’s founding members and workforce, the subsequent development of Alesco has adjacently mirrored the needs of its ever-growing client base; once again capitalising on the natural overlaps across its core sectors.
This, combined with the Company’s natural philosophy of continuous improvement, has proved a potent mix and continues to open doors on a geographic scale also.
“We are continually looking for new opportunities that will help us improve the offering to existing clients, and have also been looking to increase our reach by capitalising on global investment opportunities,” Matson explains. “In recent years, Gallagher has directly invested in new geographic regions, for example Latin America and China, which enables us to enhance our service capability in these territories.
“In addition, we have set up a number of individuals spearheading regions across the Alesco network, with expert teams focusing on clients in specific geographical areas, such as the Middle East and Africa. These teams have an in-depth knowledge and strong understanding of the local market needed to ensure we can deliver tailored solutions to our clients in these regions.”
All-told, Alesco’s reach encompasses 150 countries, but not many regions present the same level of untapped opportunity as Africa however.
Matson continues: “Team members have been working with clients in Africa for nearly 20 years. We have not, as yet, opened an office in Africa but it is a region where our clients are investing more and more and consequently it is becoming an increasingly important geographic focus for our business. We have established a crucial partnership with a firm in Durban who are a vital cog in our ability to deliver the best solutions for our clients.
“With so much focus on renewable energy in Africa we have successfully negotiated an industry-specific facility for clients engaged in these projects. There is also a heightened awareness of exposure to political risk and political violence to which our insurers and reinsurers have responded very supportively.”
Working alongside the World Bank to hone the angle of provision on the continent, the need to remain locally relevant despite its international influence is pivotal in each region of operation and no more so than in a traditionally domestic-centric African energy sector.
“We actively promote the use of domestic African insurance capacity where this is available as a means to enhance our service offering and to maximise the best of what is available in Africa,” the CEO states. “However, there always needs to be a thorough check on the terms and conditions that lenders and international investors will expect on insurance contracts, particularly where project finance is involved, to ensure the best possible outcome and protection for our clients.”
Never one to stick with the status quo or rest on its laurels, the Company’s latest evolution will see a move into a prestigious new head office on Lombard Street in London, in February, 2016, once again improving the platform from which its service provision can flourish.
Enhanced technical and environmental facilities for both team members and clients will continue to facilitate close relationships with decision makers across “the world’s longest-established global specialty insurance market”.
“Alesco also continues to invest heavily in big data initiatives as we seek to monitor and integrate all the available information in the energy and power insurance market in terms of capacity, premiums, losses and other underlying trends,” Matson notes in regards to the business’s ongoing structural refinements. “Due to our recent expansion and successful growth, we also find ourselves in the enviable position of being focused on actively hiring, as well as retaining, the best people and specialists in the market.
“Our people are the most important aspect of Alesco. As we have grown, while other brokers have contracted, stood still or been acquired, we have been able to hire the best client-focused specialists in the market. We have thus assembled handpicked energy, construction, property and casualty teams to provide a powerful mix of excellent service and experienced expertise to our clients based all over the world.”
The foundations are therefore perfectly laid for Alesco, as it looks to widen its product range and knowledge base even further in the future, while also driving forward its internal evolution through enhancements across brand awareness, web presence and client collaboration.
Matson concludes: “Ultimately, we want to be the natural broker of choice in all the industry sectors we participate in for the broadest range of clients; from small start-up operations to international and multinational energy companies.
“Our business model allows us to compete on specific projects where we believe we can add value and bring real expertise to bear, but the success of Alesco is really a tribute to the loyalty shown by our clients and the commitment of new clients to embrace our business model.
“We will not claim to do things we cannot do. But in our core specialist areas we will aim to be the best-in-class.”