Ocean Insights with Ståle Hansen

Welcome to the Ocean Insights series – bite-sized interviews with the thought leaders, innovators and business people seeking to realise the huge potential of the ocean space. This week we’ve spoken to Ståle Hansen, President and CEO, Skuld.

Skuld is one of the world’s leading insurance providers dedicated to supporting the ocean industries. Headquartered in Oslo, with another 10 offices located in key maritime hubs across the globe, the company is “125 years young”, focusing on using its vast expertise to help clients safely navigate the future of ocean business.

Traditionally strong in key shipping segments such as tankers, dry bulk and cruise – amongst others – the team has built a leading position in offshore, and is now evolving with its customers to protect and enable new investments in areas including renewable energy and offshore aquaculture.

Ståle Hansen is committed to ensuring Skuld maintains the relevance, service standards and close customer relationships that have become trademarks of this ‘mutual’ success story.

Here he discusses the importance of diversity, a changing risk landscape, knowledge transfer, and the hope that Nor-Shipping 2022 will be a long-awaited industry celebration.

Dive in and see what you discover.

What do you see as the greatest opportunity for the ocean industries over the next decade?

The ocean is key to the development of society. It can provide the nutrition, energy, trade, and fair distribution of goods a growing global population, under increasing environmental pressure, needs.
For our customers the opportunity lies in how they can use their considerable experience and expertise to unlock new potential – for example transferring traditional offshore expertise into supporting wind farm development or offshore aquaculture, or pioneering more sustainable shipping solutions. They have the competency and ambition to plant the seeds for these new green ventures and help them flourish. The opportunity for Skuld is in supporting them in these objectives, utilising our lean organisation to adapt to their individual needs and deliver the products, services and quality they need.
We see genuinely exciting times ahead.

What do you regard as the greatest challenge?

Decarbonisation is the greatest challenge facing shipping and the ocean industries it supports. That’s widely acknowledged. Also, on the agenda is how the new technology and solutions that can help us transition – ranging from alternative fuels to enhanced automation and autonomy – will impact upon the current risk picture.
As an industry we will face different risks tomorrow than we do today, so we need to keep abreast of developments and adjust our approaches accordingly, ensuring optimal training, integration, quality and safety.
From a wider ‘human’ perspective the increasingly complex geopolitical arena demands our attention. In a world of trade diplomacy, sanctions and fluctuating alliances our customers must be aware of what they can and can’t do, and where and when that’s applicable. We can help with that.

What do you see as the unique strength of your business and how will it help you succeed?

Can I mention more than one? Competence is one thing, but I think when that’s combined with real service culture and customer understanding you have a powerful mix that helps build and continually improve customer relationships.
We’ve been working side by side with our customers for 124 years, so I believe our understanding of the maritime and ocean arenas is second to none. Furthermore, we’ve been doing that as a mutual. So, our objectives are not to provide ever bigger profits for shareholders but rather to focus on providing the very best, most cost-effective and high-quality service and products. It’s a freedom that allows us to concentrate on what really matters – our customers.
And one last thing, our global network of offices. The fact that we can be on the ground in key locations around the world is critical when it comes to relationships and catering for large or complex claims. That fact has been brought home to both us and our customers during the global pandemic, when travel has been difficult, if not impossible at times.

What key skills are you looking for in the next generation of industry professionals and how are you working to attract new talent?

There’s no one ‘type’ of individual we’re looking for. Skuld is committed to building a diverse workforce to acquire a diverse skillset, diverse perspectives and diverse approaches to meeting our client needs today, tomorrow and far into the future. We’re focused on recruiting people with a wide range of backgrounds and professional experience, from former crew members and engineers, through to lawyers and finance experts. By attracting talent from across the board I believe we can offer a real depth of competence, quality and innovation.
In terms of recruiting channels, we use traditional methods, but also forge partnerships with institutions, academies and training programmes to identify and attract emerging talent.

What are you most looking forward to at Nor-Shipping 2022?

People, without a shadow of a doubt! It’ll be so good to see the ocean industries congregating again – in person rather than on screens – to build relationships, share knowledge and inspire one another. It just so happens that the timing is perfect too, as we’ll be kicking off our 125th anniversary at that point. Hopefully this will be a chance for us to finally celebrate leaving the pandemic behind us and move on to a bright future, full of potential.

What three words sum up your vision for the future?

Optimism, sustainability, growth

Nor-Shipping 2022 – Your Arena for Ocean Solutions – takes place in Oslo and Lillestrøm, 10-13 January 2022. Make sure you’re part of the #ACTION. Sign up NOW for our newsletter!

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