Solid relationships foster efficiency

NCC and If Insurance have had a long-standing relationship across the last two decades. If provides insurance products and risk consulting services and other solutions to support NCC in their daily operations around the world.

As in many industries, there are significant changes happening in the construction business. Not only changes in materials, processes and the application of digitalisation, but most companies also have solid ambitions to further push environmentally friendly efforts to lower their carbon footprint and increase the sustainability of the industry overall.

NCC is one such company, pioneering new technologies and processes to increase efficiency, as well as deliver on bold targets for more sustainable practices.

Understanding business is the key

Merja Alastalo, Head of Communications Finland at NCC says, “Understanding the business environment and business logic is the key thing for an insurance partner. When both parties, customer and insurance partner, have mutual understanding of the circumstances, it makes cooperation efficient at that moment when something unexpected happens.  Also, common understanding regarding key stakeholders and their expectations is developed in a long-term partnership.”

Over the years, If and NCC have built a relationship based on trust, which is something that can take decades to build. According to If Account Executive, Erik Hallén, “Working together for a long period of time, If and NCC have established a close and mutually beneficial relationship. Together, we have learned a lot about the risks involved in NCC’s business, how to manage or mitigate some of the risks, how to handle and communicate efficiently around NCC’s claims and how to handle the benefits and challenges.

We have learned how to cooperate to tackle challenges

Most importantly though, we have learned how to cooperate to tackle any challenges thrown at us. In the perpetually evolving development of complex regulations, economic ups and downs, risks, and claims – difficult situations will occur and need to be dealt with.”

Merja Alastalo notes, “At the moment, the energy crisis and rising costs in particular challenge the construction industry. We still do not compromise on the goals of sustainable development - on the contrary, we consider it even more important to develop our own operations more sustainably and offer sustainable solutions to our customers. Another important megatrend is digitalisation and its utilisation.

We are currently taking a major leap forward in data-driven construction operations, which enables us to work even more efficiently with complex project requirements.” Alastalo adds that, “Long-term partnering ensures that a company can focus on essentials, in an ideal case a reliable partner supports the business by taking care of their expertise area like internal supporting functions does with their own areas, and a company don’t have to have all special expertise in-house.”

Efficient claims handling

Over the past year, NCC and If have worked together on a landslide claim which occurred in Paimio, Finland.

Immediately following the incident, NCC contacted the broker who in turn contacted If to inform the company of the situation. If’s claims handlers spoke to the client and an external specialist was contacted to assess what had happened by conducting a geological investigation. Sensors were installed to monitor how the clay soil was moving. With substantial amounts of water in the area, it was concluded that the soil was unstable, and it was decided that the investigation should continue throughout the autumn of 2021 to see how the land settled.

Prevention of possible personal injuries

The area was also isolated to prevent any possible personal injuries, but once the soil settled, the specialist was able to layout a restoration and preventative plan for the impacted area. The farmer had completed the autumn sowing on the rented field that had been impacted by the incident and was also able to utilise the field surrounding the collapsed area.

The landowner submitted a claim for compensation when the total loss was known, and If Insurance started negotiations with the compensation claimant.

An agreement was reached to rebuild the damaged road and water pipes.

Restoration and forestation

Discussions were held with the landowner on what to do with the remaining impacted area. In order to make the soil useable again, the removal of all soil would be required, and further stabilisation of the clay soil would be needed, alongside the levelling of the land.

However, due to the disturbance caused to the clay soil, it was seen as uncertain when, or if ever, the land could be used for cultivation in the future. Furthermore, there would not be any certainty of the quality of the cultivation features either. The cost estimate for these actions was many times higher than the value of the land area.

If Insurance offered to redeem the land but the landowner suggested a lump sum payment, and that the land would stay in their possession. Following further discussions, a lump sum was agreed upon, and the landowner agreed not to use the land for cultivation for 30 years. It was also decided that the surface of the land would be levelled, and trees be planted across the impacted area, thus restoring the land to a natural state.

The restoration and forestation work began in the autumn of 2022, which included the planting of trees and native plants in the area before the coming winter.  A repair contractor joined the project to help with the completion and restoration of the road and drains.

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tree planting
Annika Kuusisto, If Insurance (left) planting a tree together with Merja Alastalo, NCC (right) in Paimio, Finland.

Relationships make the difference

In a volatile and changing business environment, partnerships are increasingly important. Having worked together for years, If and NCC are better positioned to face challenges, unexpected accidents and incidents head on. Furthermore, planning for the future is easier when you know who is standing in your corner. NCC is used to working with, and negotiating with, an insurance company and this makes day-to-day work with the client smooth and transparent. At NCC, there is an understanding that we are on the same side.

Alastalo highlights, “Good relations with stakeholders is an important part of business. For us at NCC, it’s important that our insurance partner also has a good grip on this topic, and they also understand the expectations towards NCC and can provide new insights to the company.”

As Erik Hallén concludes, “Insurance is a trust business dependent on people, as clients buy insurance expecting insurers and their staff to be by their side when it really matters. I believe that insurers need to earn their client’s trust in order to succeed in a changing business climate.

This is done by building close partnerships between the companies, having people putting their hearts into their work, making sure they truly understand our clients’ businesses and related risks involved, to enable an offering of relevant insurance coverages and services. But also, to go the extra mile when things don’t go as planned

Increasing biodiversity is always a win-win solution

Enhancing biodiversity is important at NCC. The changing environment in a quarry or gravel pit can contribute to biodiversity in a very special way, even during operations. NCC has developed a common method to implement solutions to maintain and promote biodiversity in quarries and gravel pits called “NCC Kielo - Our living site”.

Today, several habitats and species are endangered due to a growing human population using an increasing amount of natural resources, unfortunately often in an irresponsible way. NCC’s quarries and gravel pits, with their exposed surfaces of sand, gravel or rock, offer an attractive environment for many species that are displaced when dense vegetation establishes.


In those sites, the soil is normally poor in nutrients with certain areas often being exceptionally sunny or shady. For example, many flowering herbs are thriving in these kinds of grasslands.

According to Merja Alastalo, “NCC has designed the NCC Kielo concept to cover expectations of both our customers and the community that remain in the circle of influence – municipalities and local people, landowners as well as society as a whole. We believe that businesses like ours – that utilise the earth’s resources – must lead the way in making responsible choices concerning the natural environment. Therefore, we consider our operations in relation to our neighbourhood and to biodiversity.”

Erik Hallén highlights that, “NCC had great ideas for forestation and the restoration of biodiversity. Their professional touch was a big help for the claims handling process at If. Mutual trust was there, and the parties could trust the expertise of each other.”

Learn more about NCC Kielo concept

Written by

Kristian Orispää