Gonzalo Pérez, CEO, Suramericana: Interview

Gonzalo Pérez, CEO, Suramericana

Interview: Gonzalo Pérez

How can the insurance industry in Colombia create better agro-insurance products that will boost inclusion?

GONZALO PÉREZ: It is important to advance in terms of financial education, as well as to simplify regulation and access to insurance. In a digital economy, and in a post-conflict scenario at a national level, it is essential to rethink our solutions and even business models. This should be done through proper management of trends and risks, as that allows us to consistently identify the needs of people and companies. Colombia is currently experiencing a historic moment in the context of ending its armed conflict, and this situation brings great opportunities and challenges. The financial sector has the challenge of better understanding the realities of Colombians who live in areas that were forgotten due to conflict, and of reaching these territories with practical solutions that will improve their conditions.

In the case of the agricultural sector, it is important to highlight it as one of the strategic economic engines of our country. Through insurance solutions, the sustainability of this sector can be improved concerning multiple natural risks, such as drought or heavy rains, strong winds and landslides, among others. Certainly the main challenge today is to know how to reach more crops, as insurance penetration is still around 2.6%. It is important to expand our portfolio of solutions, which is developed together with the sector, as well as provide access to a diverse supply of insurance solutions for farmers.

In what ways can the Pacific Alliance promote investment in Colombia’s insurance sector and across the region?

PÉREZ: The main opportunity is to identify the strengths of each country that is part of the bloc, and to see how they can contribute to development in terms of productivity and competitiveness throughout the region. We see advances such as financial integration, in addition to the free movement of services and capital, as steps in the right direction. Greater integration will allow us to favourably develop synergies in terms of knowledge throughout the sector, which will improve services and contribute to the development of the industry in these markets. In a globalised world, organisations must analyse regional good practices and integrate them into local corporate dynamics to respond to the needs of different stakeholders and ensure sustainability.

The most important challenge in the Colombian market and in the region is to have a clear and deep knowledge of consumers in order to develop solutions that contribute to their well-being and competitiveness. It is vital to understand the trends, analyse the context and comprehend the Latin American consumer’s needs. It is important to invest locally and regionally to obtain the capacity to develop comprehensive solutions, adapted to each person, while understanding their reality and market.

What are the main challenges that lie ahead for Colombia’s insurance sector?

PÉREZ: In general, Latin America has low penetration rates in terms of the insurance industry. In Colombia specifically, the great challenge of bringing our solutions to all segments of the population remains. This should be done through effective risk assessment and management, which will allow us to expand the development of solutions and channels.

However, low penetration represents a valuable opportunity for the industry, as long as we are able to respond effectively to the needs of people and organisations in Latin America. Despite the challenges, there are still many opportunities ahead, which can help contribute to the development of both the country and the region.

Anchor text: 
Gonzalo Pérez

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The Report: Colombia 2017

Insurance chapter from The Report: Colombia 2017

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