FERNANDO TERNEUS

Ecuador 2020 | FINANCE | INTERVIEW

Reading the social and political writing on the wall is crucial to staying in business as an insurer in any advanced society.

Fernando Terneus
BIOGRAPHY

Fernando Terneus attended Pontificia Universidad Católica del Ecuador. He has been working at Tecniseguros since 1973 and took over as Executive President in 2000.

What have been the company's main drivers of growth in recent years?

The growth of our sector is linked to the overall growth of the economy. Over the last three to four years, the insurance premiums generated in the country have been at around USD1.6 billion; however, the country has taken steps to solve financial and economic issues and create a more competitive economy under the new administration. We are confident that in upcoming years, Ecuador will be able to improve liquidity and its cash budgets and deficit. Over this time, there have been new regulations to improve the insurance system. For example, the minimum capital for insurance companies was raised to USD8 million, though the market has yet to witness consolidations or mergers. There are currently 26 operators in the market, which is a high number considering the size of our economy. In this context, Tecniseguros has managed to maintain growth of 1-1.6% by staying loyal to its core business, which is servicing the private sector. Tecniseguros actively participates in the country's strategic industries such as oil, mining, and agriculture, being the go-to insurance partner for flagship investments projects in Ecuador. We see the private sector becoming more important in the economy in the future because the current administration supports public-private partnerships, which creates business opportunities for the insurance sector. Additionally, the company has become much more efficient in handling its operations thanks to the implementation of technology. In addition, as part of Grupo Futuro, which is the most important insurance business group in the country, we have partners with whom we maintain direct communication and business collaboration, which has continued to grow and been made smoother thanks to technology.

How would you assess the impact of technology in the insurance business, and how is Tecniseguros specifically embracing it?

The main impact of technology on insurance, as in any other business, can be measured in terms of efficiency and productivity. On the occasion of the company's 45th anniversary, we agreed that the development of the technological part in our organization would be a priority in the coming years. Tecniseguros has been focused on improving our predictive analytical tools through new technology and our omnichannel presence in order to improve both our internal operations and customer experience; therefore, we have quickly adopted new solutions such as mobile applications and robots, at the same time as creating a more dynamic website with specialized business chats and improving our social networks to better relate to our clients. Most importantly, we have aligned our strategic IT pillars with the overall objectives of the organization. As a result, our operations in handling vehicle cases or medical assistance are much more effective now, such as the tracking system for car repair processes or instant approval of hospital or medical budgets. A great example of our work in this field is our work with the Pontificia Universidad Católica del Ecuador, where we have installed totems that insured students can use by entering their ID number to check the status of their policy. Marketing automation, business intelligence, and information security are other applications that define this innovation as our philosophy.

What is Tecniseguros' approach to product innovation, and for which new products have you seen demand increase?

As a broker, Tecniseguros works closely with insurance companies to create or adapt products that best fit the market's needs. There are newly created products that have seen some growth in recent years. Directors and officers are another category that covers companies' executives in legal matters, in the event they are sued personally for any decision they made during their tenure. This policy covers the legal expenses, the value of the claim, and other potential expenses. Tecniseguros has another policy called "Crime" that protects clients against fraud made by third parties or their own employees. In the field of logistics, stock throughput is an innovative policy for companies that import, distribute, or export merchandise covering all moveable goods that are traded by the company, including raw materials, semi-finished, and finished products. Finally, environmental liability is also developing at a rapid pace, given the raising concerns over companies' impact on the environment.