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Gard News 201, February/April 2011

Gard News presents the members of staff in Gard's Helsinki office.


Back row from left: Johan Lång, Roberto Lencioni, Henry Hemtman, Patrik Palmgren,
Martin Jansson, Jan Sunberg. Front row from left: Riika Ahtiala, Saila Hiirsalmi, Inkeri Ailus,
Taru Natri, Virpi Hakalax, Camilla Ölander.

Oy Gard (Baltic) Ab was formed in 2003 following the amalgamation of the property and casualty portfolios of If and the leading Finnish insurance company Sampo.

It was decided then that Gard needed a local service vehicle in Finland and the Baltic, so it purchased 100 per cent of the shares of Oy Baltic Protection Ab, Gard's General Representative in Finland since 1989.

At that time Gard only insured a few single vessels in Finland and the market was dominated by the UK Club and Skuld.

As the only P&I Club representation in Finland, with staff working in the areas of marketing, legal and claims, Baltic Protection helped to expand Gard's membership in the region so that today Gard is clearly the leading P&I Club in Finland and the Baltic countries.

After the purchase the company name was changed to Oy Gard Services (Baltic) Ab - currently Oy Gard (Baltic) Ab - and the six Baltic Protection employees and seven employees in If's marine department in Finland moved together to new premises in the Rettig House, close to the Helsinki city centre.

One of the three founders of Oy Baltic Protection, Roberto Lencioni, was asked to continue as Oy Gard (Baltic) Ab's Managing Director. Roberto has a Law degree from Helsinki University and before joining Baltic Protection acted as company lawyer and sales manager for a big Finnish conglomerate, the Aspo Group. In addition to the normal administrative functions of a Regional Manager, Roberto is active in marketing and sales and co-ordinates undewriting for most  blue water (or major) clients. 

The underwriting team
The underwriting team in the Helsinki office works in close co-operation with the Nordic team and the Small Craft team. Due to the volume of Finnish speaking clients and members, especially in the small craft sector, a lot of insurance certificates, invoices and other material are issued  in Finnish.

Patrik Palmgren is the underwriting department manager and a member of the Small Craft team. He has a Law degree from the University of Helsinki and before joining Gard he worked for nine years as a lawyer for Neptun Juridica, which at that time was owned by the Silja Group. In addition he was the Human Resources Director for the Silja Group for five years and a member of the board of directors for three years.

Henry Hemtman, who holds an MSc from the Helsinki Business School, moved from If P&C to Gard as a Claims Adjuster. Prior to that he worked within banking and marketing of gas services within the AGA Group, where he held various positions for almost two decades, including Product Manager and Planning and Budget Manager. Henry is currently underwriter in the Small Craft team.

Inkeri Ailus has a Bachelor of Business Administration degree with specialisation in Finance and Risk Management from Laurea University of Applied Sciences. She is currently attending a part-time Master's degree programme in Real Estate Investment and Finance in the Hanken School of Economics in Sweden. She works as Assistant Underwriter dealing mainly with marine and Small Craft clients. She also has some responsibilities regarding local finance matters, budgeting and accounting.

Assistant Underwriter Camilla Ölander came to Oy Gard (Baltic) from If - she had been with If / Sampo and their predecessor Finnish Marine since 1974 working with Re-insurance and accounting. In Gard (Baltic) Camilla works in support functions and reporting mainly

with marine clients, both blue water and Small Craft. In addition, she takes care of handling and accounting of claims payments.

The claims team
The claims team deals with P&I and marine claims. It consists of personnel with technical, naval and legal backgrounds, most of whom are currently studying part-time to develop and widen their professional skills.

Two of the marine claims handlers also belong to the Oslo and Gothenburg claims teams so Helsinki is very well linked to activities in Norway and Sweden. As the office is so close to all local members and clients, the claims staff often attend meetings and seminars at their offices. 

Senior Claims Manager Saila Hiirsalmi is a qualified Finnish lawyer, with an LLM from the University of Helsinki. She joined Gard from Baltic Protection where she worked as a claims executive. Prior to that she worked in a local District Court and in law firms both in Helsinki and London. Saila has a special focus on P&I, especially dry cargo, personal injury and oil spill claims. She actively participates in member/client activities and renewal meetings, and is a reputed expert and speaker in various seminars within the Finnish maritime cluster. 

Martin Jansson, who is a naval architect, joined Gard from If.  Prior to that he worked at the marine division of Sampo as a yacht, transport and vehicle surveyor. He has also worked at Finnish Loss Survey Ltd as a yacht surveyor and product manager for yacht surveys. Martin deals mainly with Finnish and Estonian claims lead marine clients and also performs condition and claims surveys.

Jan Sundberg is a qualified Master Mariner with fifteen years of experience with different ship types. Before joining Gard he worked for Royal Caribbean International in various capacities. He holds a postgraduate diploma in Maritime Law with specialisation in Ship Finance Law.  He is currently reading for the Lloyd's Maritime Academy and Middlesex University MBA in Shipping & Logistics. At Gard (Baltic) Jan works as Claims Executive and handles all types of hull and machinery and builders' risks claims, especially for Oslo-based marine clients, but he also co-ordinates the marine claims handling of the Helsinki office.

Johan Lång is a qualified Master Mariner with nine years of experience from various ship types. He also has a Law degree from Åbo Akademi in Turku. Prior to joining Gard he worked for Rettig Group Ltd Bore achieving a Chief Officer position. Johan handles both P&I and hull and machinery claims in Helsinki and is also a part of the Gothenburg hull and machinery claims team.

Claims Executive Riika Ahtiala has a Bachelor of Business Administration degree with specialisation in International Business from Haaga-Helia University of Applied Sciences. At Oy Gard (Baltic) she has been working with P&I claims, mostly from passenger vessel and ferry members. She handles mainly crew, personal injury and minor cargo claims.

Office administration
Taru Natri works currently as Assistant Manager at Oy Gard (Baltic) Ab. She has a Bachelor of Business Administration degree with specialisation in International Business from Haaga-Helia University of Applied Sciences. Taru is the office manager and has overall responsibility for office functions, including local ICT matters, personnel healthcare and major client arrangements. In addition, Taru is responsible for some of the local underwriting support functions, especially related to P&I.

Virpi Hakalax works as Office Assistant. She is substituting Anna Ehrnrooth who is on maternity leave until Autumn 2011. Virpi has worked as an Executive Assistant at Ernst & Young and the Boston Consulting Group.