11 November 2013 Insurance

Standing tall

We believe we have fulfilled that promise and we are pleased with how far we have come in this time, Ricardo García told us. Establishing and maintaining an operation so far from our parent company in Basel, Switzerland, and without losing the distinctive character of the Nationale Suisse Group, was no easy task. Yet as in every undertaking, success or failure depends on the people who embark on the adventure, and on this point we can only say that Lady Luck smiled down on us. The first thing to be done was to set up the company both legally and physically. With the help of Laima Donate, our office manager, and after several months of hard work, the operation was good to go on 1 April, Ricardo García continued.

Before starting with Nationale Suisse Latin America I had had very little to do with the insurance world, as my professional experience was based more on banking. When I arrived, it was all new, I had to be open to new experiences, new people: a completely new world. Little by little, we were able to create from scratch what is now Nationale Suisse Latin America, Laima told us.

A few days after the operation was set up, Santiago Jaramillo joined and the adventure in the Latin American and Caribbean markets set sail.

It only seems like yesterday when we felt, along with Ricardo, that Miami was the right place to handle the Latin American business and from where any reinsurer committed to the region should run its operations. What we did not specify then was the time needed to position ourselves as one of the leaders in the regional market for technical branches. Thanks to a growing economy, and to our clients, partners and friends, we feel that in the last 30 months we have established Nationale Suisse Latin America as a speedy and flexible operation with a capacity to lead and a huge commitment to the region. This, in turn, is reflected in goals always being achieved and in satisfied clients, Santiago told us.

It would not be long before the team needed enlarging, with two new members, so as to be able to cover such an extensive market and stay true to our original promise of service. Early 2012 saw Daniel Villafaina join, followed at the beginning of 2013 by Maria Jose Cordovez.

Nationale Suisse was an important professional challenge for me, as well as a great opportunity to be part of a highly specialised team of great technical quality. I am extremely happy today to be part of the success of an operation that has become firmly established. Previously I had worked for a number of years in the subscriptions department of an international European group in a very mature market. The leap to Nationale Suisse has allowed me to be part of a growing team in a developing market with a great deal of agility in decision-making, and to apply technical know-how on the ground by dealing direct with the client. This is all with a view to understanding real insurance needs better, and thereby to provide quick and effective service, Daniel told us.

Having a presence in Miami has given us direct access to policyholders, brokers, companies and adjusters in the region, something that is very difficult to achieve when working with Latin America from another part of the world. Distance hinders the creation of strong alliances and does not give you an overview of the business in an industry where transparency and long-term relationships count for a lot. The moment Nationale Suisse was set up in Miami was not just extraordinary but also right: every day we see more international reinsurers landing in Miami. Our presence in the region, with the advantage of having been one of the first to arrive, has helped Nationale Suisse Latin America to achieve its goals consistently and visibly. We are really excited about the future that Miami will have as the reinsurance “hub” for Latin America and, particularly, the role that our operation will play in it, Maria told us.

In these three years, Nationale Suisse's point of view with regard to these markets has not changed. The growth in Gross Domestic Product in Latin American and Caribbean countries is based on the use of their natural resources and the growing needs of their increasing populations. Unlike Europe, the investments generated by the growth in GDP are geared much more towards developing infrastructure projects (electricity generation, roads, ports and industrial plants etc.), and will continue so, rather than being geared towards financial, healthcare or IT services. The opportunities for engineering cover are out there and Nationale Suisse is not prepared to miss out on them.

We can assure our present and future clients that we will both continue and strengthen the proposition we made in 2011, commented Ricardo García.

Contact  laima.donate@nationalesuisse.ch for more information.

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