INSURANCE FOR PEOPLE

Costa Rica 2017 | FINANCE | INTERVIEW

TBY talks to Rafael Monge Chinchilla, General Manager of Seguros del Magisterio, on the company's history, its portfolio, and his expectations for the coming year.

Rafael Monge Chinchilla
BIOGRAPHY
Rafael Monge is General Manager of Seguros del Magisterio. An expert in insurance, he worked for the INS for 15 years, and started his career with Seguros de Vida del Magisterio Nacional in 1997 as the manager of national equity insurances of Magisterio Seguros and of Seguros del Magisterio in 2009. He graduated from the University of San Jose in business administration with an emphasis on insurance in 2007. He is also Secretary of the Association of Private Insurance.

Can you tell us more about the evolution of the company?

We have an interesting history; our parent company is Sociedad de Seguros de Vida del Magisterio Nacional, which was established in 1920. In 1972, it expanded by means of a law on the private sector. From 1986, the company wanted to enter the insurance market but could not. It started selling commercial insurance from 1990 and created a portfolio until 2008, when a law opening the insurance market was passed. The company had an interesting portfolio, approximately 25,000 individual policyholders and 30,000-40,000 in collective insurances. On June 17, 2009, we were granted a license to act in the open market. Our license is the A02. We were the first private insurance company authorized to work in the open market

What is the total composition of your portfolio and which products show the most potential in Costa Rica?

We focus on insurance for people, namely individuals and group insurance. Within individuals, we focus on insurance that also includes the spouse and children of the principal registered in the policy, to try to look for an integral conjuncture of the whole family because when someone suffers an event it affects all the members of the family. For groups, we have made great progress; we work extensively with life groups as well as the insurance of debts for individuals who take loans with a financial institution. There, we have two types: original amount of debt and debt balance. We also work on funeral insurances, individuals, and as a type of insurance life group, and also have insurance for accidents. For example, if someone organizes an activity, race, or something for social responsibility, such as cleaning a beach, we provide insurance for the day. We operate only in Costa Rica.

According to SUGESE, revenue by volunteer insurances increased 25% compared with the same period in 2015. What is your outlook for the next year in this regard?

The market looks set to grow, though not as rapidly as it grew in the initial years. We expect growth, especially because life and medical insurance have grown a great deal. We will continue to offer group insurance as it is a great way to attract people. We have contracts with about 15-17 brokers, non-exclusive agents approximately between 10 and 15, and three to four dealers of auto-expendable insurance. There was an insurance market in Costa Rica after the monopoly, though there was no culture of insurance. However, over the years, it has improved and developed through campaigns conducted by insurance superintendent SUGESE and by the insurance companies. Now, people know not only about insurance, but also the rights that they have, what they can buy, how they can make claims, and so on. Awareness has improved a great deal compared to 2008.

What are your goals and targets for the next year?

We will finish 2016 with an expectation of sales that we have to fulfill. For 2017, we expect to fulfill the goals of 2016 and add new goals for stronger growth. We expect to grow 12% in 2016. In 2015, we grew by about 20-22%. Currently, we have 44 employees. For 2016, we expect to finish the development of three new products; in fact, we have one that will come out soon called SM Integral. We plan to release two more products and to also offer our products to the entire Costa Rican market. For 2017, we expect to continue with our goals and focus on collective insurance. We are also focused on the magisterial sector as it is our owner and shareholder. It is important to mention as well our value added, which is customer service. This is where we guarantee our insurers and beneficiaries a quick response in time and efficient in paying compensation.