Article Journal des Entreprises Chesneau Sep-2019Chesneau, a Nantes-based business insurance broker with 100 employees and €13 million in revenue in 2018, is beginning a new chapter in its history, as it makes its entry into the world of international insurance. Chesneau took a decisive step in this direction earlier this year, when it became a member of Uniba Partners, a global broker network based in Belgium with 62 independent and specialised broker-partners in 130 countries worldwide. Chesneau joined Uniba Partners for two reasons: to be able to support its French clients with their foreign business operations, and to target a new clientele of global companies. In the words of Thomas Chesneau, the company’s CEO, “Our clients are expanding internationally and must insure their employees who work abroad, either as expatriates or on specific projects, and also recruit local staff. When they acquire a company or set up a subsidiary in another country, they want to know if local insurance coverage is compliant and may even want all of their global insurance programmes to be centrally managed. We are now able to meet these needs.” To do this, Chesneau has set up a bilingual team specifically for these clients. A client in Paris that employs 700 people recently asked the team to audit its insurance policies in each of the 30 countries in which it is present.

The importance of specialisation

This international development may be attributed to the company’s strategy of industry specialisation, which has underpinned its 7% to 10% annual growth over the past 10 years. As Thomas Chesneau explains, “The company was founded by my father in 1974. When I took over in 2010 we had 30 employees and annual sales of €5 million. What has driven our success from the very beginning is our focus on industry specialisation.” It is with this strategy in mind that Chesneau ─ whose 2,000 clients consist mainly of mid-size and smaller companies – has expanded its range of products and services over the years.
When Chesneau founded its wholly-owned subsidiary Cogévie in 2012, it gained full control over claims management, while speeding up claims processing and improving service. In addition to insurance that protects people (health, life and disability policies and pension coverage), Chesneau has expanded its portfolio of products with policies that cover company vehicle fleets and other property, and more recent risks such as cybersecurity breaches. Since staff members are not only specialised in specific industries, such as construction and transportation, but also by business function, they can provide useful assistance across entities during critical transitions, such as a merger or acquisition. Mr Chesnau explains that “As an example of our specialisation approach, we recently set up an Innovation Team and joined ADN Booster so that we could help our clients meet their digital challenges“. This strategy is largely responsible for making Chesneau France’s 16th largest insurance broker in 2018 and for its ambitious goal of doubling its business over the next five years.


Caption:  Thomas Chesneau has been the CEO of family-owned business insurance broker Chesneau since 2010.


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