Oct. 15, 2021


Juliana Tobón Peña

Colombia

Juliana Tobón Peña

Country President, Howden Group

Understanding the importance of thinking differently and adapting itself, Howden Group focused on offering its customers a new range of products and services during the pandemic.

BIO

Juliana Tobón Peña holds a bachelor's degree in business administration with a specialization in strategic marketing. She has more than 25 years of experience in the insurance sector. Before her current position at Howden, she previously held leadership positions at QBE, Mercer, Generali, Mapfre, and Metlife.


How was Howden and its operations impacted by COVID-19?

It has been a difficult year for all industries and the insurance industry has been no exception. However, despite all the difficulties that have occurred, the insurance industry has maintained strong dynamics. Fortunately, we have not had to reduce our staff. On the contrary, we have needed more support and customer service people because times like this are when the advice of an insurance broker is most valued. Our duty is to understand the needs of people, families, and companies in order to offer them the best advice. The most important thing during a pandemic is to be close to customers and communicate our products properly, teaching them what works for them and what coverage is important. The truth is that we have learned many things. Advice in times of crisis is vital and is one of the drivers of insurance brokers. The industry is moving—it is dynamic. In addition, if there was no pandemic, we would still have to be constantly moving because we would have to identify the needs that arise from the situation of the moment. For this reason, we will always be active in all kinds of events.

Looking toward the future, which types of insurance products and services will be needed in the Colombian market, and what long-term trends are you noticing?

In the long term, there will be many changes in products and services. As the needs of people and industries change, then the sector must adapt. It also has to adapt to new communication and marketing channels because there are more people who will need to purchase insurance and companies that will be more vulnerable. It is, therefore, necessary for insurance brokers to be able to offer a new range of products and services. Additionally, we must be prepared for all changes. The most important thing is that the entire portfolio of products and services that must cover a series of needs have to be adapted. This is one of Howden's pillars; the ability to adapt its format and be able to face change. It has been an extraordinary challenge for the Colombian insurance industry, but it must also be considered that the Colombian industry is strong and has extraordinary companies. The insurance industry has a large number of companies and a tremendously complete portfolio of products. They are, additionally, financially solid companies regardless of whether they are of local or international origin. All the players in the insurance industry have a huge responsibility in this degree, but mainly the insurance brokers because we have to reach out and communicate.

How can Howden leverage its global reach and technological capacity to strengthen its position in Colombia?

Within its corporate principles, Howden seeks technological tools to adapt to all business practices and specialties. We are a specialized insurance broker, and we work a series of industry practices in which each one has a series of highly specialized teams and commercial capabilities. We also seek to innovate in technological tools. Howden looks around the world to differentiate itself from the competition, and one of the reasons why it wants to distinguish itself is in the way it works in niches and makes use of technological tools. In Colombia, we are doing the same looking for tools to contribute to corporate segments. For example, for SMEs, which we believe are still neglected in the country by the insurance industry, we are developing a platform that allows them to compare the different insurance companies. We are targeting these types of clients through technological tools. But also, at the individual and family level, there is an enormous challenge to reach them with health, life, and home products. Today, in the wake of the pandemic, people value life and health insurance more. That is why we are targeting them with technologically advanced tools.