3 questions for Alexandre Milochévitch, Head of Bessé Nuclear Solutions®
Bessé – 100 million euros in revenue, 450 employees in Nantes, Paris and London – is a family business, founded 60 years ago. The first years were marked by a close partnership with the Chantiers de l’Atlantique shipyards, in the highly regulated maritime sector. The firm has since expanded its expertise to all types of businesses, including industry, services, real estate, agri-food and, a few years ago, the nuclear sector. The men and women at BESSÉ are ultra-specialised experts in risk management and corporate insurance. Their skill revolves around made-to-measure advisory service and ongoing, long-term customer support.
Alexandre Milochévitch, a former engineer at IRSN (French Institute of Radiation Protection and Nuclear Safety), head of Bessé’s Nuclear Department, is a recognised expert in “Civil Liability” and “Cyber Risks”, two risk areas with serious implications for manufacturers in the nuclear sector, in France and abroad. We were able to ask him a few questions.
When did you get involved in the very specific nuclear sector?
We became interested in the exposure of SMEs to nuclear civil liability in 2009. At the time, we began by working with Lemer Pax to develop an insurance solution for service providers in the nuclear sector that would really be a made-to-measure policy for them. This investigative work enabled us to identify the shortcomings of the existing system in terms of coverage for service providers and, and we formalized our efforts in 2018 with Bessé Nuclear Solutions®, a now highly-respected name in the civil nuclear energy and nuclear medicine sectors. In this respect, we participated, with Lemer Pax, in the last EANM (European Association of Nuclear Medicine) congress in Düsseldorf because nuclear medicine is one of our priority areas of development. As for me, I joined Bessé in 2008, after having held engineering positions at IRSN (French Institute for Radiation Protection and Nuclear Safety). For me, clearly, Bessé’s strong point, I would say its trump card, is that the clients are supported by a dedicated and super-specialised team built around a nuclear expert. This structure enables us to fully understand the activities of each client and each business line so we can develop a relationship of trust with our partners. Today, Bessé Nuclear Solutions® offers solutions that are recognized and appreciated by businesses. The growth prospects are encouraging, both in France and abroad, where Bessé supports French companies and French subsidiaries of foreign corporations.
At the time, we began by working with Lemer Pax to develop an insurance solution for service providers in the nuclear sector
What did you realise when you arrived in this new industrial environment?
We immediately understood that there was a disconnect between the traditional exclusions that existed in civil liability and property damage insurance policies and the exposure of nuclear industry manufacturers. The question was how to ensure coverage of these exposures that are poorly understood by insurers. Most of the time, they allocated all of their insurance capacity to cover the civil liability of the operators or the nuclear power plants, to cover a Chernobyl-type risk. However, nuclear accidents aside, the disputes that defined the liability between an industrial company and third parties in a power plant were not covered at the time because the main operator, EDF, took no recourse against its service providers. This was an ambiguous and dangerous situation for SMEs where the insurer covered the operator’s liability in the event of a nuclear accident, and where there was no insurance coverage for disputes between manufacturers. An SME had no civil liability coverage for nuclear risks inside a plant. If a pump installed in a power plant was defective, and resulted in a claim, it was not covered. There was a glaring inconsistency between liability and insurance. However, if the plant exploded and contaminated an entire region, the damage was covered by the Assuratome pool.
We created an insurance policy specifically designed to cover the scenario of disputes between manufacturers, including nuclear risks. That’s what Bessé Nuclear Solutions® does!
What solutions did Bessé come up with to support companies?
We created an insurance policy specifically designed to cover the scenario of disputes between manufacturers, including nuclear risks. That’s what Bessé Nuclear Solutions® does! Lemer Pax has received this type of support. They have a civil liability policy for nuclear service providers that covers all damage, whether physical injuries, material or non-material damage or financial losses, caused to the third party in the event of a radiological event for which they are responsible. This guarantee covers them in France and abroad because there is no territorial exclusion. More and more clients are opting for this solution and are becoming aware of their exposure with the arrival of influential countries such as China, India, South Africa, Russia and the United Kingdom with the ramp-up of Hinkley Point. SMEs that want to grow and promote their high added value are very attentive to the general terms of purchase to ensure good client/supplier relations. That’s why our solutions are particularly appreciated in the event of a claim, since they are based on a relationship of total trust with the client. We provide strong support with specific cover, and our claims teams are constantly present to help the client navigate through difficult procedures. This is very important because in the nuclear eco-system, particularly in France, we are dealing with huge corporations with armies of lawyers. Our positioning is therefore fundamental and it is very clearly in support of the sector. We want to support the French nuclear industry in its growth in France and abroad in the fields of civil nuclear energy and nuclear medicine.