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How a sailor became a Marine Risk Consultant

Jan Rietberg - BeingYou@AIG

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Jan Rietberg

We highly encourage being able to be yourself. Irrespective of gender, religion, sexual orientation or ethnicity; we value you for who you are, what you think and what you say. The BeingYou@AIG series introduces you to the people who make AIG unique. Jan Rietberg is one of those people. How does a first mate end up in a position as a Risk Consultant? For Jan, that is not a strange career step at all. This is how a sailor found his way ashore via the Mediterranean Sea and North African coast and now helps companies worldwide to carry out their transport safely.

I have always stayed in touch with the shipping industry

Who is Jan Rietberg and what is your background?

I work as a Risk Consultant in the Marine department, which I have been doing for 10 years now. But my career started on the water. In fact, I was raised in a sailing family. As a 6 year old boy I already had my own sailing boat. At the age of 18 I started as a sailor at a shipping company and I mainly sailed in the Mediterranean Sea and along the North African coast. I then continued my education and then went sailing, first as second mate and then as first mate. I came ashore when I was 27 years old.

How does a first mate become a Marine Risk Consultant?

When I quit being a first mate, I started working at a petrochemical inspection company. I carried out quality and quantity checks of chemical and petrochemical products during the storage and transshipment on board ships, train wagons and trucks. For example, by taking samples and measuring volumes. Then I started as a Risk Consultant with an insurer. I did that for six years, after which I made the switch as a loss adjuster at an expert agency. And now I have been enjoying AIG as Marine Risk Consultant for 10 years. Yes, I have always remained in contact with shipping.

Every day I give advice on whether or not a certain ship can be used for transport

That sounds like a perfect match between your personal interests and your business interests?

Absolutely. But besides shipping, my interests are primarily at keeping contact with people. Don't put me in a corner behind a desk every day, that's not for me. I love going outside, being able to talk to clients about their challenges and then coming up with a suitable solution. I really enjoy the work and AIG allows you to have a lot of control over your agenda. I really enjoy the freedom within this company.

What does the profession of a Marine Risk Consultant look like?

As a Risk Consultant you can actually be called in for advice at any time during the insurance process. This is often when we receive a request to insure the transport of goods. I look at such a request with a helicopter view and look at what kind of goods are going to be transported, whether they are not too heavy or too large and whether the goods in combination with the packaging can withstand the climatic conditions in the various regions.

If necessary, we appoint experts to ensure proper handling during loading. For example, they inspect hoisting plans, stowage plans and seafast plans and can provide follow-up in consultation with all parties. I have done that work myself and with that experience I now manage these experts worldwide to act as eyes and ears for us and our customers. I am often out of the office and I have a lot of contact with clients, brokers and experts. This contact usually consists of evaluation of current projects and evaluation of, often for us, new projects.

Can you give an example?

For example, I am involved in a new project in which a large mining company is going to mine a location in Australia. We insure all goods that are transported to this location from all over the world. For this we sat down with the client and their operational management, mapped out the risks and set up a damage prevention program based on that. Furthermore, transports of cars from South Korea and the storage and transshipment of fertilizer in Chile came over my desk today. I also give daily advice on whether or not a certain ship can be used for transport.

My work is very diverse. Although I am based in Rotterdam, Southern Europe and UK are also part of my job and I often travel to different locations. For example, tomorrow I have an appointment in Belgium and I will fly to London on Wednesday for an appointment with experts, brokers and underwriters. And Saturday? Yes as you already think, I can be found on the water for a rowing competition of 16 kilometers on Lake Veerse. And you never guess, but I'll go sailing on Sunday. So you see, I can always be found on the water.