TEXT VIOLETA MATEO| PHOTOGRAPHS MAPFRE, ISTOCK
We all agree that we can have the most beautiful bodywork in the world, with luxury interiors in our state-of-the-art car, but if the machinery is not well-oiled, our journey may not have a happy ending. Thanks to our colleagues in the company’s various technical areas, our gears run like the engine of an Alpine F1, the parts mesh seamlessly and there are no glitches. And not only that, this engine is living, it moves with the times, it is innovative and understands the environment it works in to perfection. Rafael, Pablo, Lourdes, Stéfano, Patricia, Karen, Lastenia, Matthew, Yusimi, Maria, Daniele and Romina tell us about their current and future challenges. We asked them about the technical challenges posed by the business, what key skills they will soon have to acquire, what they are passionate about in their work, and their views on the future.
Rafael Arnela

Rafael Arnela

Deputy Director of Claims at MAPFRE SEGUROS (Portugal)

The artificial intelligence (AI) environment is a clear example of where technologies are coming to our aid. This fantastic tool is already being used in the automotive field and we do not rule out applying it in other areas.

CHALLENGES—«Relatively recently we began to understand that the insurance world could be affected by the use of social networks. Some time later we foresaw the implication and opportunities posed by the digital footprint, the internet of things, the blockchain, big data, and so on.
And so, will what’s to come be more like the present or even more disruptive?»

KNOW-HOW—«Applying new technologies to work the information with the best possible outcome, knowing what we want and planning for the changing times. In an industry like insurance, we must be more attentive than ever to the evolution of all the markets, how they develop, based on what, with which information, which technology, which means or investments, and always trying to be the first: innovating.»

MY PASSION—«In one sentence: to be able to surprise the customer without losing managerial rigor, assuming the right price. And to do that, it is impossible to keep doing things the way we have always done them. It is no longer enough. We have to update the way we do things. But I am convinced that we can maintain the quality of our service and focus on the customer experience that has always been our goal.»

FUTURO—In light of our past experiences and, particularly, the most recent ones, we have already internalized and accepted that we must adapt to each moment, to each context, to each customer profile and to each circumstance. Without a doubt, we must continue to invest in technology and innovation. Technical functions will have to be updated at the same pace that people’s behavior and habits change. We should all, especially the technical area, have a common goal: to make insurance simple, accessible and relevant in everyday life. The digital transformation must be based on two crucial points: the digitization of the omnichannel customer relationship and the digitization of operations. The artificial intelligence environment, AI, is a clear example of technologies which are coming to our aid. And I believe that we should build on the cell phone device: an ideal channel for sales and, particularly, for after-sales service.

Pablo Morcuende Botello

Pablo Morcuende Botello

Technical Manager of Business Intelligence in MAPFRE SPAIN

We have to make learning an ongoing habit, as technology and tools are constantly evolving and we have to adapt quickly.

CHALLENGES—There are many. On the one hand, in the face of the changes occurring in our environment, it is essential for us to be streamlined and flexible so that we can provide solutions that adapt to the consumer habits of our customers. On the other hand, with access to new data and/or sources of information, it becomes necessary to harness our full analytical capacity in order to make underwriting and processing more efficient, without losing sight of technical rigor, improve the user experience, and be able to offer products tailored to the specific needs of each client.

KNOW-HOW—We currently work with large volumes of data, so we need technological knowledge that allows us to process it, so as to obtain conclusions that allow us to improve our business. However, beyond up-to-date knowledge and skills, we have to turn learning into an ongoing habit, as technology and tools are constantly evolving and we have to adapt quickly.

MY PASSION—Without a doubt, what I like most is the blend of being very close to the business and applying analytical techniques to extract value from the data. Additionally, we take part in projects together with many other areas of the company, which allows us to see and understand the business from other perspectives.

FUTURE—The greatest need will be to be able to respond as quickly as possible to changes in our environment. It will be critical to have the ability to offer solutions to the various current challenges, related to new mobility habits, the emergence of new risks, a better knowledge of customers, and so on.

Lourdes Cevallos Matute

Lourdes Cevallos Matute

Technical Area Manager Surety Bonds MAPFRE ATLAS (Ecuador)

Having competitive rates without risking the company’s profitability, mitigating the loss experience with
an exhaustive study of the risk.

CHALLENGES—In the technical area where I work, there are several challenges: achieving competitive rates without risking the company’s profitability, mitigating the loss ratio with an exhaustive study of the risk; generating new business with higher retention and accounts that produce long-term profitability while maintaining adequate renewal conditions. And a very important challenge is to adapt to the new normality, where part of our homes has become our workplace, offering our strategic allies and clients the same quality service as when we are in the office.

KNOW-HOW—The key is to acquire knowledge about new risks that arise in the market, as underwriters and analysts who have to be aware of the needs of future clients and offers from brokers when they propose a transaction.

MY PASSION—isk is the essence of insurance, so the most exciting thing for me is to have the skill to analyze each operation because, as each company has different business lines, you get involved with clients, brokers, and so on. The everyday work is what makes an insurance company different, and much more so MAPFRE, which is the Global Trust Insurer.

FUTURE—The development of working tools that allow us to optimize response time, such as quotation systems, pricing systems that are linked to the client’s claims percentage, and verifying the new conditions that we will have to take into account when renewing. Anything that saves time is helpful in the future.

Stéfano Ferrari

Stéfano Ferrari

Technical Head of Profitability Analytics MAPFRE ASISTENCIA

We have to be able to digest all the new information that is generated, focusing only on that which really adds value to the company.

CHALLENGES—Of the many challenges facing the technical area, the greatest is the need to respond to a business that is evolving very rapidly, as this implies constant adaptation. Likewise, Time to Market is becoming increasingly important, to be able to respond in a timely manner to the needs and requests of our customers and partners. Moreover, profitable growth implies robust propositions, with continuous monitoring to proactively detect any variance and to be able to react as efficiently and quickly as possible. And we have to be capable of digesting all the new information that is generated, while focusing only on that which really adds value to the company.

KNOW-HOW—A more comprehensive approach to business development will allow us to better understand the needs of our clients and collaborators, and may help us to offer a better value proposition. On the other hand, in an increasingly digitalized society, it is necessary to continuously acquire this knowledge, both in marketing and claims management in digital environments. It is also important to reinforce our know-how in all tools to improve the time to launch and quality of our proposals.

MY PASSION—Working in the technical area involves many daily challenges, as we get to see very different realities, while also having the opportunity to be in close contact with the various business units around the world. This enriches you both professionally and personally.

FUTURE—I think that more than talking about a specific point, both now and in the future, I understand that we are in a process of ongoing transformation, which is necessary to support the transformation and needs of the company at all times.

Patricia de Freitas Soeiro

Patricia de Freitas Soeiro

Special Insurance Superintendent. MAPFRE BRAZIL

Evolving ever further towards the humanization of technical functions, making viable products that transform people’s lives.

CHALLENGES—It is no news that the pandemic has accelerated processes and established new ways of interacting with one another. In addition, an old challenge has become even greater: the challenge of implementing technological innovations on a large scale and in a streamlined manner, allowing us to serve each customer quickly and according to their preferences. Another challenge is to develop products that build loyalty among different audiences, with different protection needs, different ages, and so on.

KNOW-HOW—Anticipating the desires of the different consumer profiles that emerge each day. Analyzing and studying the market and its trends is key in creating solutions that, many times, customers themselves do not identify as necessary until the time they receive the right offer.

MY PASSION—To be able to participate in society’s evolution by creating useful products with added value for consumers’ daily lives.

FUTURE—To evolve ever further towards the humanization of technical functions, making viable products that transform people’s lives, as well as increasing awareness of environmental, social and governance factors.

Karen Hernández Fuentes

Karen Hernández Fuentes

Manager. Automobile Claims MAPFRE PUERTO RICO

Diversity of options and product customization will be essential in order to get the customer’s attention.

CHALLENGES—In these times, where our clients have greater access to information, our business faces the challenge of keeping the client informed throughout the entire policy cycle and everything that represents, from a renewal to the handling of a claim. At Auto Claims we are constantly faced with this challenge, with the task of notifying and disclosing the details of a claim in a simple manner despite a complex behind-the-scenes process.

KNOW-HOW—Understanding technology, progress and the inclusion of automated processes in a technical operation that is usually manual is key in our unit. Even more so in the face of the pandemic-related challenges in terms of personal interaction, which is so valuable.

MY PASSION—«Making MAPFRE happen». Human contact, rapport, the service we provide as components of a technical unit is what makes MAPFRE happen. Resolving each case excites me, not necessarily because this involves compensation, but because each claim teaches us something, gives us an experience, an opportunity to improve, and leaves a mark on us as a person and a professional.

FUTURE—Continuing to automate processes and maximizing self-management tools are important aspects that must be continuously developed in our area, so that the customer recognizes the importance of active participation in the handling of a claim. Similarly, the diversity of options and product customization will be essential in order to get the customer’s attention.

 Lastenia Mendoza de Henríquez

Lastenia Mendoza de Henríquez

Technical Manager of Life and Health Underwriting. MAPFRE PANAMA

Each assessment is different, as are the scenarios and the decisions that need to be made quickly, efficiently and continually.

CHALLENGES—Our greatest challenge is to meet and improve response times in terms of risk assessment for our proposed policyholders (or clients). This depends not only on the underwriter, but also on our associates who are an important part of the process (including medical providers, compliance, reinsurers, etc.).  Adaptability in a dynamic and constantly changing environment.

KNOW-HOW—In my role, information is a very important working tool, so we keep ourselves constantly updated on scientific, medical, financial, subjective and occupational risks. We are also interested in knowledge of predictive models during our client evaluations, ensuring the best decision for our company, clients and strategic partners.

MY PASSION—I am passionate about comprehensively analyzing the risks we receive. Each assessment is different, as are the scenarios and the decisions that need to be made quickly, efficiently and continually.

FUTURE—Digitization is the most important transformation. To be able to process greater numbers of requests in less time and at a lower cost, taking advantage of the tools and options provided by our technology departments.

Matthew Micallef

Matthew Micallef

Head of Claims Operations MAPFRE MIDDLESEA (Malta)

For a client a claim can be a life-changing, stressful event, and the simple effort of offering sincere help is enough to make my day.

CHALLENGES—One of the biggest challenges is the ability to keep up with technological changes and progress, so that we can offer a quality service that meets our clients’ expectations quickly and efficiently. Digitization processes, fraud prevention platforms, cloud programs and robotic process automation (RPA) that are slowly but surely becoming an integral part of today’s working environment.

KNOW-HOW—Technology drives much of the key knowledge that technical personnel must have, as does an understanding of associated legal procedures. Keeping up to date with court rulings, which themselves become case law, is very important. Society is becoming more and more aware of legal activity and is willing to use any previous rulings to its advantage.

MY PASSION—One of my greatest motivations is making the simple and genuine effort that helps a person who is having a bad time. We see hundreds of claims each week, so it’s normal for us, but for a client a claim can be a life-changing, stressful event, and the simple effort of offering sincere help is enough to make my day. I am also motivated to learn something new every day. Claims can range in scope from technical and business aspects to legal and environmental situations. 

FUTURE—In a society where social networks play a crucial role in connecting people, while offering a great opportunity to provide excellent customer service, the importance of service quality will be a very important aspect that all people who play a technical role will have to be more aware of.

Yusimi Sarabaza Javiqué

Yusimi Sarabaza Javiqué

General Aviation Underwriter MAPFRE GLOBAL RISKS

I can be analyzing a business from anywhere in the world and interchanging with the local realities within each of the countries with which I interact, and this makes my work totally enriching and rewarding.

CHALLENGES—Our biggest challenge is to underwrite the business rigorously, to achieve profitable portfolio growth. We have to work with reliable information, analyze the risk data and make streamlined decisions as to whether it is within our underwriting scope, in which case we need to establish the terms and conditions necessary for successful underwriting. For an underwriter it is essential to know how far you can commit the company to a potential claim. It is important to adapt to market cycles (hard or soft market) and be competitive.

KNOW-HOW—Because we are highly specialized, we must have a high level of technical knowledge about our area of activity, as well as extensive experience. Aviation insurance requires us to be up to date with new technologies in the aviation industry, as it is a fast-moving sector that poses constant challenges. It is extremely important to be aware of the market reality and be prepared to adapt to changes.

MY PASSION—I find it exciting to work on a wide variety of risks, in different markets. This allows me to work in a different, new and varied way every day. I can be analyzing a business from anywhere in the world and interchanging with the local realities within each of the countries with which I interact, and this makes my work totally enriching and rewarding.

FUTURE—The risks we are exposed to today have changed, ranging from cyber-attacks, risks associated with the use of new technologies, the development of business models based on green fuels that reduce emissions, the “avionics” of new aircraft, to unmanned aircraft entering unsegregated airspace, to name a few.

Maria Sawyer

Maria Sawyer

Actuarial pricing manager MAPFRE USA

By continuously improving our models and analysis, we can adapt to the changing market and react quickly.

CHALLENGES—The biggest challenge the market pricing team faces at MAPFRE USA is creating a market pricing strategy that is acceptable to the regulators in each of the states in which we operate. In many countries, policy enforcers are only minimally involved in pricing. In the United States, on the other hand, there is a greater degree of oversight and enforcement of limitations, so price restrictions and optimization are generally not permitted.

KNOW-HOW—The key to success in market pricing is to understand the many aspects that impact how the market perceives our product. These include pricing and customer elasticity (customer action or inaction to buy within market conditions), and how our processes and sales distribution system interact with the market. The ability to analyze and react quickly to the market environment at any given moment is another key area of know-how that must be acquired.

MY PASSION—I love to harness my team’s analytical skills to contribute to MAPFRE USA’s positive growth objective with the task of market pricing. This involves an in-depth understanding of our position relative to the competition, as well as knowledge of how clients react to our pricing in the marketplace.

FUTURE—We are working on improving our elasticity models and multiple pricing analysis scenarios to gain insight and understanding of the U.S. market. By continuously improving our models and analysis, we can adapt to the changing market and react quickly.

Daniele Turtera

Daniele Turtera

Manager - Treaty Brazil MAPFRE RE DO BRASIL

To fulfil our technical function we now need new knowledge, such as project analyses, financial management and technology.

CHALLENGES—The biggest challenge is the key change we are undergoing in the technical area of reinsurance, which means we have to be creative. Reinsurance is moving away from the usual contracts and familiar lines of business. Now, with the “modernization” of reinsurance, there is an increasing demand for a less traditional product, with new clients, whether global risks or insurtechs, with more innovative concepts, such as upfronting, totally focused on technological platforms and applicable to differentiated and not as traditional products, such as cell phones, trackers, home delivery services, and so on. Everything is very new and unfamiliar for an area accustomed to working with historical data and deterministic algorithms.

KNOW-HOW—To fulfil our technical function we now need new knowledge, such as project analyses, financial management and technology to be able to develop these new reinsurance products, with their implementation schedules, their technological platforms and verification of whether the estimated projections make sense and guarantee the minimum profit margins and expected results.  

MY PASSION—The analysis of the contracts themselves, when you immerse yourself in the world of your clients (assignors). This gives you an insight into the client’s perception and you relate this to the information received from the market as well as the commercial meetings held, proposing the best solutions, opportunities for improvement and points of focus.

FUTURE—Technical operations have already undergone a recent transformation, with the need to be closer to customers and to look for technical solutions that are aligned with their expectations and strategic planning. In the future, which is already not so remote, we will have to add this new knowledge so that we can present a complete vision to the client, so that the client can discuss and contribute to the projects and indexes, as well as the financial projections and technological platforms.

Romina Andrea Vergara Leiva

Romina Andrea Vergara Leiva

Senior Actuarial Analyst MAPFRE CHILE

One of the greatest challenges is responding promptly and with technical support to our clients’ requirements.

CHALLENGES—Responding promptly and with technical support to our clients’ requirements, either from the client directly or distributor clients, because that implies multidisciplinary work at every level of the organization, it is a big working team. So finding a balance between all those factors is a big challenge.

KNOW-HOW—It is very important to develop technological knowledge both in terms of tools and how to use them, as these support the company’s strategy and are at the forefront of new needs. I also believe that it is essential to consolidate interpersonal skills to enhance all the technical knowledge that you have at each level of the organization.

MY PASSION—To learn constantly at the technical, IT, financial, accounting, operational, legal, and human relations levels, to know and understand the processes involved and the different areas that take part. Daily work can therefore be very dynamic, you are not doing the same thing every day and that is very enriching. All this encourages teamwork, even with colleagues from other countries.

FUTURE—Getting to know our customer better in order to respond even more effectively to their requirements. This implies having more information available about them, their tastes, their needs and their habits that change over time. It also strengthens our technical operation and the service we provide, influencing pricing refinement, underwriting and claims support, to name a few examples.

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