Insurance is not always the solution.


Koopmans Koninklijke Meelfabrieken is a family business. Founded in 1846, it has its registered office in Leeuwarden. Koopmans wants to get as much value as possible from the strategic raw material of grain using as few additives as possible, thereby enabling it to supply high-quality grain products to national and international customers, in both the artisanal and industrial segments. The liability risks are big in the food sector. Foodstuffs are a prime necessity of life and have to meet the highest quality standards. In that respect, risk analysis and the solution based on it always really do have to be bespoke work. In this picture, insurance is only one of the instruments.

Klaas Meindertsma is CFO of Koopmans Koninklijke Meelfabrieken. “We notice that the terms and conditions of purchase and supply are becoming increasingly important in our market. Our customers are keen for us to accept their terms and conditions, and the need arose for our organisation to develop and implement a policy on how customer relations managers should handle this issue.

In cooperation with Jan Zoodsma of Raetsheren, we organised a session on liability for customer relations managers at Koopmans Koninklijke Meelfabrieken.”

During this session, special attention was devoted to measures that an organisation can take for itself to limit risks, such as applying and maintaining one’s own terms and conditions of supply and good contract management.

Raetsheren’s philosophy has always been that the client’s risk perspective is the guiding principle, and that risks do not always have to be insured if other solutions are possible. In addition, we consider matters in the following sequence: What is the risk? Can it be avoided? Can it be eliminated? Can it be reduced? Can it be reduced to an acceptable level? And finally: should the risk be transferred, in whole or in part, to a third party, or is the organisation itself able to bear it? The term ‘third party’ also refers to insurance companies.

Jan Zoodsma is a customer relations manager at Raetsheren and is a specialist in the field of liability. “Koopmans Koninklijke Meelfabrieken has its first line of protection in the making of good contractual agreements. At Raetsheren we call that the ‘front fence’. With good contract management, we avoid having to make an insurance claim in the first place. This means we work in a client-oriented way rather than transaction-oriented.

We regard the liability policy as the ‘back fence’. After all, if you have to call on it, it means there is something to claim for. Even if the claim is paid out, the damage is already done. In many cases, that can be avoided.”

The presentation was very enlightening for the customer relations managers, partly due to the practical tips and advice. By pointing out the possible consequences, based on practical examples, more awareness was raised. There is also more clarity about how much freedom of action customer relations managers have when they agree on the use of supply terms with customers.