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INSURANCE| 15.07.2022

Competitiveness, innovation, respect for the law and social footprint, the keys to success according to Martínez Castellanos

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Jesús Martínez Castellanos, our LATAM CEO, takes a deeper look at the company’s experience accumulated over almost 90 years of history and a huge presence in the region as well as outstanding challenges and how the insurance industry has helped other companies to take the leap internationally in a recent interview with Empresa Exterior, coinciding with the publication’s 20th anniversary.


Competitiveness, innovation, respect for the law and a focus on the social footprint and sustainability are key ingredients in the opinion of Martínez Castellanos, whose presence explains the success of MAPFRE, in addition to other major firms, in Latin America.

The executive emphasized the importance of insurance to the stability of companies: “There is a correlation between the level of insurance and survival rates. (…) We have remained in step with their international programs, their setup in many countries, insuring all coverage, for both property and personal damages. In some cases, this role has gone beyond insurance activities as such”, he asserts.


Technology serving the customer

“There have been relevant changes from the perspective of digitalization; companies have to offer our customers digitalized processes; the use of data, the use of information, allows us to handle things differently. Process automation; technology has also helped us and generates benefits for both insurance companies and customers”, he specifies. 

In the interview, he confirmed the gap in insurance penetration in Latin America, as well as the insurance gap. “The population is much younger [compared to Europe or Spain in particular] and risks, in general, are seen as being further away and they cause less concern. There are also less sales professionals”, he explains.

As regards the specific features of the region, the development of the figure of microinsurance is worth particular mention, as is the very basic and very cheap coverage with mass distribution, which is very commonplace, or catastrophe-associated insurance policies”.

MAPFRE, amongst the first to internationalize

As regards the firm’s history in Latin America “we have achieved a very important geographical footprint; there is no global insurance company that can boast our figures, we are currently present in 12 countries. We are leaders in terms of premium volume in the Non-Life business and, in most markets, we have 25, 30 and even 35 years of experience”. In Colombia, where we were the first insurer, we will celebrate our 40th anniversary in 2024, which naturally means we have extensive knowledge and experience.

Change in habits = new opportunities

As a result of the transformation of consumer habits and the shift generated as a result of the pandemic, contact with the customer and processes have to be digital. “We have to provide this option. (…)  Technology is allowing us to reach people that traditional sale networks were incapable of reaching in Latin America”. This will result in a decrease in prices and insurance being more accessible” he says. 

“Data analytics, the use of data, in the case of insurers, allows us, on the one hand, to obtain knowledge of the customer and therefore, it is not a one policy for all kind of approach; rather, we can offer tailor-made products. Furthermore, knowledge of the customer will help us to underwrite risks better”, asserts the LATAM CEO. Cybersecurity and new mobility are new worlds in which insurers will end up underwriting a large part of these risks.