Eduardo Pérez de Lema
CEO of MAPFRE RE
“Continuity has proved possible thanks to the extraordinary effort and commitment of the whole team”
In MAPFRE RE the coronavirus crisis began to hit us in January, when the pandemic outbreak in China forced us to activate our contingency plans in that country. Subsequently, this situation extended to Singapore, the Philippines, Japan and Italy, until, by mid-March, the need to activate these plans became truly global.
In these circumstances, the initial satisfaction was seeing that business continuity plans were implemented with tremendous effectiveness and in very short time frames. We have been developing, testing and refining these plans for years at all our MAPFRE RE offices, to the point where we have achieved independent quality certifications for them. Fortunately, this work has borne fruit when it was most needed.
Over the previous two years we had deployed the Digital Challenge initiative at MAPFRE RE. This led to us equipping practically the whole of the company’s team with the technological means and the skills to work remotely with a high degree of autonomy and efficiency. For a year now, we have been running remote working pilot programs with a large group of collaborators, which meant that our company was well prepared for this challenge.
On this basis, we are proud to say that MAPFRE RE proved capable of responding consistently to the needs of its clients. None of the company’s essential activities were interrupted at any time, nor the vast majority of the projects we have ongoing. This, of course, was only possible thanks to the extraordinary endeavors and commitment of the whole team, which prioritized in an exemplary fashion the fulfillment of their responsibilities in particularly adverse circumstances.
None of the company’s essential activities were interrupted at any time, nor the vast majority of the projects we have ongoing.
As is common in our industry, in times of crisis, the reinsurance activity is exposed to greater volatility and absorbs a large part of the extreme losses. We are accustomed to dealing with major disasters or serious incidents of all kinds. On this occasion, the main challenge lies in the fact that we are facing a global crisis that, to a greater or lesser extent, simultaneously affects all the geographic regions in which we operate and a great many lines, taking us to the very limits of what our industry can absorb. Fortunately, the underwriting and risk selection measures applied over the years will result in MAPFRE RE being able to assume the possible impacts.
When we overcome this crisis, we will have to start reflecting upon a quest for mechanisms that can improve the level of coverage society enjoys so as to be able to deal with this kind of situation, without this compromising the solvency of the sector. The insurance/reinsurance industry has the knowledge, mechanisms and resources to play a leading role in mitigating crises such as the one we are currently suffering.