Skip to main content does not support Internet Explorer, please switch to another browser.
Marine insurance
Published: 2020-11-03

“The Nelson Way” means that customers come first

Alandia Team Leader and Senior Underwriter Jan Nelson is the product of a mill town, sports, curiosity and the kind of pragmatism that flourishes among ordinary, decent people. Our meeting takes place in the early days of the coronavirus epidemic in Europe and the Nordic countries. It is already clear that this will be the worst contagion any of us have seen in our lives.

The Nelson way

One would have to go at least one hundred years back in time to find an infectious disease spreading this fast all over the world. Back then, Janne Nelson’s father was three years old and was forced to take on responsibility during the Spanish flu:

– He told me that he had to go to the store to fetch milk to warm on the stove. All of his family members were bedridden with the disease.

Janne Nelson grew up in the small mill town of Domsjö (also home to the hockey star Peter Forsberg) and learned the importance of teamwork early on. Sports are an integral part of life for Nelson as well as his two siblings and his nephew Lars Nelson, who, by the way, won an Olympic gold medal for Sweden in the ski relay race in Sotji in 2014!

Together with his Dutch wife Marlies, Janne Nelson has three grown children.

Nowadays, Janne Nelson lives in the Gärdet area in Stockholm, but he will always be influenced by his mill town childhood as well as his father, a sales manager for Shell in Norrland, who taught him the importance of taking care of customers and coworkers.

– He really appreciated his coworkers as well as his customers, both large and small, and made sure to keep in contact with them all.

This is pretty much how Janne Nelson does things every day, all year round. For insurers specialised in marine insurance, a working day often stretches beyond regular business hours. Somewhere in the world, operations are always ongoing, and storms can rise at any time. This became a tangible reality for Janne Nelson in 2011, when the storm Yoda drew in over Sweden and caused a floating dock weighing 6,500 tons to tear itself loose and drift around aimlessly until it finally landed at a cow pasture 1.7 nautical miles from the dockyard. The rescue operation was a unique one, but it all ended well and the dock was safely returned to the dockyard. After everything was over, both Alandia  and Oresund DryDocks could breathe  a sigh of relief.

– I am extremely satisfied with how Alandia took care of our dock, and yes, we are still a customer at Alandia, says Anders Larsson, deputy CEO at ODD.

Janne Nelson has worked at Alandia since 2008, and he is in for the long haul.

During my time at Alandia I have gained a deeper understanding of the insurance process as a whole. I think it’s a shame that many people seem to be in a hurry up the career ladder nowadays, since there is a lot to be learned along the way.

The Åland-based insurance company Alandia and Janne Nelson also turned out to share the same underlying values:

– Here, I found the same focus on entrepreneurship and customer care that I had grown up with. I also appreciate the idiom “soldier on” which permeates our company!

It is also these thoughts that form the basis of “The Nelson Way”: customer focus, personal service, a long-term perspective and collaboration with coworkers.

– Modern tools, such as computational models, streamlining and monitoring processes are necessary for obtaining good results, but one should never underestimate the value of meeting customers in person. The shipping industry is operated by people, and this is a fact we should never forget.


Text: Jörgen Pettersson
Photo: Alandia

Related articles


Steel Cargo: Understanding the risks helps reduce the occurrence of damage

Steel cargo is high value but challenging to handle and…
Grizzly af Gefle_IMG_5047

Why teamwork means added value – The case of the damaged tug engine

In early February 2019, an explosion and a fire severely…

How trauma-informed is your sector of the maritime industry? 

Alandia Loss Prevention is dedicated to the promotion of mental…