Spectacular views are some of the perks of Benjamin Rohloff’s job. Mostly, the risk engineer from HDI Risk Consulting GmbH works in the building shell of large skyscrapers and other construction projects at the centre of megacities. However, when he was looking into the distance from the viewing platform of the test tower operated by thyssenkrupp, he wasn’t able to see much more than a couple of houses, the Black Forest and the Alps in the distance.
The steel group has built this colossal tower 246 metres high in Rottweil in the South of Germany, so that it can develop and test the lifts of the future there. Incidentally, the tower offers Germany’s highest visitor platform. Between 2015 and 2017, HDI Global SE supported the construction of the project as the lead insurer of a consortium – and seconded Benjamin Rohloff from the Engineering Department at HDI Risk Consulting (HRC) so that he could inspect progress on a regular basis. “From my perspective, the test tower was a very special project with a wealth of innovative technology. You don’t really come across something like this in the normal course of events.”
That is, unless you happen to be a risk engineer at HDI. The expertise of Benjamin Rohloff and some 170 international engineers from HRC is required for construction projects like the prototype of thyssenkrupp, for building skyscrapers, tunnels, bridges and much more. In addition, engineers are involved in the areas of property insurance, business interruption, natural catastrophes, marine and motor. “We see ourselves as partners of our customers and we want to play a proactive role in avoiding losses as far as possible by identifying risks and developing concepts to meet individual needs. Customers are extremely interested in this area,” commented the 38-year-old. The engineers from HRC have a great deal of experience with different projects from all over the world. That is why they are well aware of the kind of losses that have arisen on construction projects in the past, and they can ensure that the same things don’t happen in new projects.
Recently, Benjamin Rohloff drove along two toll sections of a motorway in the Philippines. He was inspecting the static and structure of bridges, the condition of underpasses and the construction of the drainage systems that had to be resilient against monsoons. In 2018 alone, he carried out 50 inspections. These ranged from inspections in Germany lasting a day to trips abroad over several days, for example at sites such as the motorway toll sections in the Philippines. “Last year, I spent around 100 nights in hotels. And this year, I’m likely to spend even more nights away from home.” But he doesn’t get to see much of the countries themselves. Generally, he starts out early in the morning so as to miss the rush hour. When he comes back in the evening, he is exhausted and falls into bed because his working day requires a great deal of concentration. “I was once working on a construction site in Egypt that was near the Pyramids. I only managed to see them from afar.”
In 2013, Benjamin Rohloff came to HDI Global SE, after he had been working as a project manager for a major tunnel builder in southern Germany. At the time, he moved to Hannover for family reasons and came across a job description for HDI that he was attracted to. “I was surprised to find that an insurer also needs engineers,” said Benjamin Rohloff. However, the work was very varied. “That’s why I still really enjoy working here.”