Charting the Alandia
From our proud history we derive our strength, our values and our wealth of experience.
Learn more about how our company has grown from a small group of seafaring entrepreneurs to become one of the leading providers of specialist marine insurance in the Nordic countries.
The Company Journey
A group of Åland-based ship-owners share a belief that locally owned ships should be insured within the Åland autonomous region instead of buying insurance from third parties that may lack insight regarding the conditions of the shipping industry. Among them is the renowned owner of a famous fleet of windjammers, Gustaf Erikson.
The ship-owners’ insurance company, The Mutual Insurance company RÖF (today known as Alandia), opens its doors for the first time. The company offices are located at Torggatan 20 in the town of Mariehamn. Later that year, Erikson’s is four-masted barque Olivebank becomes Alandia’s first total loss.
The new offices employ three people: manager B.J. Palme, accountant Greta Mansén and correspondent Toini Heikkonen. The company operates on a small scale, since the Åland-based shipping companies are bound for the time being by previously made insurance contracts. At the start of its second year of operations, the company’s outlook seems bright. That, however, changes with the start of World War II, after which nothing will be the same.
Company offices are moved to the Mariehamn Town Hall in order to facilitate further expansion.
The first subsidiary company, The Limited Reinsurance Company Alandia, is founded to complement the insurance selection with separate insurances for, for example, accidents, fires and burglaries.
Following a short sojourn at the Nautical Club in the western port of Mariehamn, the company steers its offices right into its own, newly constructed building on Ålandsvägen in Mariehamn, only 300 meters from where its story began.
The Limited Insurance Company Liv-Alandia is established to handle life insurances and pension insurances. This is done in collaboration with Verdandi in Turku.
After 34 years of service in the company, insurance executive B.J.Palme retires. He is described as “a strong driving force with exceptional pioneer spirit”. His follower is consul William Nordlund, who has been employed by the company as Head Accountant and Chamberlain since 1942.
Nearing its 40th anniversary, the company continues to see rising insurance premium revenues. Its insurance clientele includes 64 member vessels worth altogether 928 million Finnish marks. The year’s annual premium revenues reach 17.7 million marks while 18.3 million is paid out in compensation. The numbers are affected by a case of total loss; usually the company’s revenue exceeds its costs with a considerable margin.
As a result of a difficult economic depression, global reinsurance operations face challenging times. The value of the Finnish mark plummets in relation to the Swedish krona, the tourist influx to Åland dries out and the local economy is struggling. The premium development is, for the first time in years, less than satisfactory. But things will get even worse before there is a turn for the better.
After some tough years, things are starting to improve. One third of the rising revenues now consists of Åland-based vessels sailing under foreign flags, since the merchant fleet has been forced to register many ships in other countries in order to keep their business afloat.
What looks like a promising start to the year is followed by a cold shower on March 23rd. The Ro-Ro ship Karelia is wrecked off the coast of Gotska Sandön in the Baltic Sea, taking the lives of six crew members. This is one of the most devastating losses the company has ever faced and has as such a considerable impact on the reinsurance market. “This put a hard strain on several solid, long-term business relationships, which we to our satisfaction were able to redeem with a few exceptions”, reads the annual report. At this time, 63 percent of premium revenues are generated by vessels registered under so-called flags of convenience.
Alandia opens offices in Stockholm with the aim to strengthen business especially within small boat insurances. The venture is a successful one and quickly sends Alandia sailing to the fore of the marine insurance business.
Operations continue to grow and offices are opened both in Helsinki and in Gothenburg.
The parent company The Mutual Insurance Company (RÖF) is merged with Alandia Insurance and becomes The Insurance Company Alandia, after which all operations are corporatized. Rettig, Viking Line Abp and Rederi Ab Eckerö become the largest shareholders.
Alandia refines its scope and focuses primarily on marine insurance operations, which represent 96 percent of the premium revenues. All other shares, except for the property portfolio, are sold.
Today, Alandia is one of the leading marine insurance providers in the Nordic countries. With its main offices in Mariehamn on Åland, the company is specialised in shipping operations around the globe. Today, Alandia insures over 7,000 marine objects as well as over 30,000 leisure boats and is poised for further growth. During its long journey of evolution and expansion, the company has never abandoned its original business concept and its feeling for seafaring, vessels, crews and property.