HATTIEANN GIRALDO

Colombia 2021 | FINANCE | VIP INTERVIEW

Coface Colombia's main focus is ensuring its clients have the best service and remaining close enough to understand their needs.

How has Coface helped and supported its partners through the pandemic?

Coface's clients are the company's focal point. Guaranteeing the long-reach service our members expect has been our priority throughout the pandemic. We need to ensure we have solid communication, which includes the technical aspects of cooperation. For this reason, we have strengthened our cloud service capacity and the web capabilities of our partners. Coface's database of information is key for clients, and fortunately, it is an international platform that can be transferred online in real time. Ensuring our clients can maintain access to information of credit risk allowed them to navigate pandemic-related trade interruptions. This is what we focused on in the first few months, as well as ensuring our workforce was productive and secure at home.

How is your global network an asset for clients looking to partner with Coface?

Our global network is one of our main assets because it has crucial information that guides international credit decisions. It will attract an even larger role in the future as reduced travel possibilities impede our clients from getting to know their clients directly. The information we offer from having a presence in Europe, South Africa, Asia, and Latin America ensure that our clients have more information to be able to make their credit risk decisions and expand their global network of partners.

How do you use data analytics to provide support for clients?

Data analytics is a methodology that Coface uses to deepen and enrich the information we offer to clients. We use all the information available—on the ground and in each country in which we are present—to ensure our clients are able to have firsthand insights. Our platform is constantly being improved and updated. We support partners with information specific to credit insurance as well as information on other exposures such as the economy and market.

What market opportunities exist in Colombia for Coface?

The online migration of SMEs has been extremely important for Coface, especially manufacturers growing targeted online business lines. Companies in this area need information and credit insurance. Colombian companies must be in touch with credit insurance and the benefits it offers. Even if they do not use the tool of credit insurance to cover their sales at home or abroad, they need to use the information available to them to make better decisions: who they will sell to and the companies that will be their clients. We are working on products specific for the needs of smaller companies, a market segment to whom credit insurance was not accessible. Most large companies in Colombia use credit insurance, as do also most multinational companies; however, SMEs are only now realizing the value of covering their sales. We want to expand access to credit insurance at every level and offer products that are tailor made.

How is Coface helping to create tailor-made products?

We create products specific to our client's needs in Colombia. That ensures we have a product that provides sufficient coverage for our policyholder and gives them sufficient information to make better decisions on how to leverage the positive aspects and opportunities of the market. The economic insights we offer, not only abroad in larger countries but also on a sectorial basis, give our clients information on the more profitable sectors or sectors that would need their type of products. That is what we offer them.

What growth potential do you see for Colombia in this sector?

We have full potential. There are over 1 million companies affiliated to the Chamber of Commerce in Colombia, of which only 1,200 have hired a credit insurance policy. We are not doing enough to help companies, giving them credit insurance, granting them limits or helping them decide if they should work together with a company. We need to be out there giving them information on how credit insurance works and what benefits exist.

What is your business development strategy, and what catalysts are available to expand insurance to the Colombian market?

One of the things we need to work on is the basics and giving more information and granting companies the possibility of getting to know what credit insurance can do for them. One of our strategies is to provide better-quality information as we cannot keep our information to ourselves. One of my goals is to be more out there and get people more involved in what credit insurance can do to help them out. We look at the traditionally large sectors such as the food industry and large companies and multinational companies like Nestlé that mostly do not use credit insurance as a tool. When we look at these large companies and compare them to other large companies in retail, they traditionally share the interest in credit insurance. We need to ensure the large companies use it as an example for the midsized and smaller companies to have this information replicated starting from the largest companies to the tiny ones, as this will give them the opportunity to trust in credit insurance.