INSURING THE FUTURE

Colombia 2018 | FINANCE | INTERVIEW

TBY talks to José Miguel González, President of JLT Re, on treaty business, modern financial risks, and handling Colombia's growing port industry.

 José Miguel González
BIOGRAPHY
With a degree in business administration from the University of Maryville, José Miguel González is an upper administration specialist at the University de Piura de Perú. With specializations from the Swiss Insurance Training Center in Zurich, the Kellogg Business School at Northwestern, and Harvard, he has more than 18 years of experience in insurance and re-insurance. He worked for firms in Peru before arriving in Colombia in 2016 to become president of JLT Re Colombia, which belongs to the London-based JLT Group. He has spent the past two years participating in some of the largest energy, marine, oil and gas, and infrastructure projects throughout the entire region.

How would you assess the past year and what have been your main areas of business?

2017 has been an excellent year for us in terms of growth and, more importantly, the adaptation of the new team we have built. JLT Re is the largest advisor on financial line risks, power, and aviation, and we could better develop the spaces in certain areas. As a consequence of that, we will achieve around 15-17% growth in 2017. It has been a fantastic year in the logistics and cargo insurance and reinsurance sectors, as well as for our financial lines practice with business in Colombia and Central America. Moreover, our marine and property teams have been successful, and we have secured major treaty clients, which is one of the last businesses we intend to grow in the coming years. As a client-first organization, we want to present our clients with the best offerings available in the global market. In essence, the tough market conditions that we will experience towards the end of 2017 and 2018 mean that JLT Re needs to be more ambitious, strategic, and agile to continue to provide the best offering to its clients.

How important is Colombia to your regional operation?

JLT Latin America has been a great success for the JLT group, and proof of that is the 15% weight that JLT LATAM has in JLT's global profits. Our competitors' weight in Latin America is much less than 15% or even 5%. Our business model has to do with us being a specialized broker in the sense that if the countries grow around infrastructure or invest in energy, those are the sectors we want to capture from a reinsurance broker standpoint. Colombia is important in the context of other operations in Latin America. The importance of this office goes beyond financial performance; it is more about knowledge.

How has your portfolio changed over the years?

There are three or four classes of businesses with areas of opportunity or spaces to capture. One is marine, as Colombia has developed a port industry in recent years and of the country's 18 ports, JLT Re only had one or two. We thus brought in a specialized marine broker from AIG to direct our marine practice. We also enhanced the financial lines team and brought in two new members: a cyber risk and a financial lines expert. The current theme around financial risks is cyber risks, with viruses and hacking problems; however, there are also a number of issues that come from individual risks.

What is your strategy to find solutions for this line of business?

When developing a business, we need to see the opportunity beforehand to plan and provide solutions to clients. It was a combination of anticipating needs and speaking with corporations around the world to receive feedback. We listen to clients, which is important as we think outside the box when addressing an exposure. When we started evaluating solutions for clients around cyber, an important element is bringing in people who truly have the knowledge.

What are your goals and targets for 2018?

The main space that we want to capture in 2018 is infrastructure. That is a core business for us and has been quiet for the last year, though we are optimistic about the increasing need of reinsurance solutions around infrastructure in 2018. We will continue to grow our treaty book, namely insurance companies coming to us and seeking our advice. Treaty business is a class of business that we want to grow dramatically because we are prepared to offer value for our clients on many fronts, not only transactional with the right price and coverage but also on the analytic part of the business with catastrophic modeling.