100 years of commitment to Latin America


Swiss Re has been operating in Latin America for the best part of a century. Michel Liès, chairman of global partnerships, Swiss Re, looks back at this long commitment and considers the region’s growing importance.

“This region will merit special attention going forward,” said Swiss Re director Plinio Pessina after a trip to Latin America in the late 1930s. More than 70 years later, those words still ring true today.

In the early 20th century, as reinsurers sought to spread their risk internationally across different geographical regions and risk categories, attention turned towards Latin America, which was viewed by many as ‘the continent of the future’.

Modern insurance in Latin America started with the newly reached independence of many countries in the second half of the 19th century, when European business people settled at the key hubs of Latin American-European trade. To start, traders and shipowners involved in Latin American foreign trade sought insurance cover directly from companies in Europe, but from 1850 on, European and some North American insurers began opening their own agencies.

Reinsurance, Latin America, Mexico, Chartis, Zurich, QBE, Kiln, Emerging markets

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