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The right man in the right place

Joas van den Berg - BeingYou@AIG

Topic Knowledge and Insights

Joas van den Berg

Being able to be yourself, we embrace it. Regardless of your gender, religion, sexual preference or ethnicity we embrace who you are, what you think and what you feel. In the BeingYou@AIG series you meet people who make AIG unique. With sustainability in his heart and green flowing in his veins, Joas van den Berg is one of those people. As a young boy he got fascinated by nature and he now uses that passion to help companies prevent and limit to cause damage to nature. “I really believe my job contributes to society.”

I am very aware of the value that nature offers us. That is why it touches me to work with it.

Who is Joas van den Berg and what is your background?

I work as an Underwriter Environmental at AIG, which means I determine the risk and price of environmental risks for both small companies and large multinationals. I studied Public Management and I have a background in engineering. My technical knowledge of energy, water and industries helps me with the assessment of environmental risks. These assessments vary from thermodynamics to calculating business processes and understanding flow diagrams. Also, I spend a lot of time working on the political side of environmental risks, such as actions taken by the public authorities. As you can see, sustainability is the common theme in everything I do.

Where does that interest in sustainability come from?

Living in and with nature has been inherited in my life since an early age. As a young WWF Ranger I went into natural areas, ankle-deep in mud, looking out for birds and eager to learn from everything I saw. That has always remained. There is something that touches me in nature to always be involved with it. It is the place where we all live together. Moreover, since I, as a young boy, understood that our country lies below sea level, water management has also become a major interest. Fueled by all those interests, I started working as a volunteer for years.

How did that affect your career path?

From the age of 17 I started volunteering abroad. These were mainly development projects, such as building schools that are hurricane-proof so they met the requirements of local authorities, who then appointed real teachers. But we also looked at how people can build in a sustainable way, with respect for the nature and by the use of the local population. Relatively small measures can mean the world for a better standard of living, comfort and nature. Shortly thereafter I started my own company, in which I helped companies with sustainability issues. I wrote sustainability plans and managed the implementation. My goal was to make sure that companies really became more sustainable.

I really believe my job contributes to society.

How do you use that drive in your current position?

In my job I am very preoccupied with soil and groundwater pollution, it is quite technical and I deal with many different companies. I have a broad interest and I like to immerse myself in a specific subject. It has therefore been a good decision to start working at AIG. I become very happy with what I get to see every day. One day I visit a steel company and the other day I work on a desktop study of a chemical multinational. In a short time, I see and therefore learn a lot, and at the same time I help companies move forward. I really believe my job contributes to society. We help protect the environment in the first place, but we also help companies to reduce their risks.

Would you recommend someone to work in the insurance market?

I would recommend it just because the insurance market has so many disciplines. There are so many topics to become a specialist in, such as care, fire or the environment. And within these topics there are also many positions, from administrative to Underwriter and from Legal to commercial positions. You will see a lot happening and I believe that provides a great view of a certain industry. You receive a lot of information and have the opportunity to see more than just a company’s reception desk. Retrieving such insights is not common at other companies.

How do sustainability and the love of nature fulfil a role in your private life?

I am in the final stage of making my house more sustainable. It's really a sport as I've been working on it for years already. Obviously my concern is with the environment, but it also spare your wallet. The love for nature and the environment is the common thread in my career and private life. Gardening, running track through dunes, biking, whether or not with my children in the bicycle cart: I’m often found outside. I even enjoy a short walk alongside a ditch with my dog. Nature relaxes me, and I prefer to be there early in the morning. It really makes me happy.