DIGITAL ECOSYSTEMS

Mexico 2018 | FINANCE | INTERVIEW

TBY talks to Nicole Reich de Polignac, CEO of BNP Paribas Cardif Mexico, on digital innovations in customer service, data analytics, and insurance penetration rates.

Nicole Reich de Polignac
BIOGRAPHY
Nicole Reich de Polignac has been CEO of BNP Paribas Cardif Mexico since 2014. She previously served as the CEO of Scotiabank Mexico for five years and as the Country Manager of Scotiabank in the Dominican Republic for two years. She has an MBA from Instituto Tecnológico Autónomo de México and a degree in computer science from Instituto Tecnológico y de Estudios Superiores de Monterrey.

How have recent technological innovations transformed the face of insurance in Mexico?

Technology will completely change the way the industry works globally; however, Mexico will not evolve as quickly in that area, even though we want to advance as rapidly as possible. Most of the innovations today are focused on customer service more than on the acquisition part of the business, and we are evolving faster on the service aspect than on the sales aspect. Still, we have developed many tools to help with the sales platform, and there will be a full digital ecosystem for insurance that will help customers as well as partners. In Mexico, this process is evolving slower because the market is still operated by agents. However, changes are coming, and BNP Paribas Cardif, particularly, is developing in-demand digital ecosystems.

What role does data analytics play in the company?

Data analytics is a top priority, and we have appointed a director in charge of business intelligence and strategic planning. There are three pillars that are important for us: data mining and analytics, predictive models, and emotional segmentation. Data mining and predictive models help us to understand the best moment to sell, the best product to sell, and so forth. Emotional segmentation is needed because social demographics are not enough to properly target our customer's needs

How do you price your products?

In the insurance business, that is an art; if we do this wrong, we lose a great deal of business. At BNP Paribas Cardif, the prices are set in conjunction with the commercial and the actuarial areas. We do not price just an insurance coverage, we price overall insurance solutions. This is important because most of our products are not just single products, but products with an offer and may include assistance and more benefits. For example, we have an important retail customer for whom we designed a complete offering; we provide not only life insurance but also give them the opportunity to call a doctor if they have a terrible allergy and discounts at the pharmacy. We design offers to fit the needs of customers and make the product more real and tangible. BNP Paribas Cardif in Mexico serves three main groups of customers. There are banks and financial institutions, which have certain needs. We are also a significant player in the auto finance industry in terms of providing insurance for finance captive companies of the automobile insurance. Finally, we serve retailers. Therefore, the price depends on the customer, the industry, the package, and many other things.

How is the market education here in comparison with other countries in Latin America?

We have a tremendous opportunity to grow the insurance business in Mexico. The penetration rate is 2.1% in Mexico and has remained between 1.9% and 2.1% for the last decade, although it grows around 11% a year. In terms of auto insurance, only 30% of automobiles are insured here, while only 7% of the population has home insurance. There is also a huge opportunity for health insurance. Banking penetration is low in Mexico, and insurance is even lower compared to other Latin American countries where insurance versus GDP have bigger figures than Mexico. For example, Chile is 4.7%, Brazil 3.1%, Argentina 2.8%, and Colombia 2.7%

What is your outlook for 2018?

We have been building toward profitability, because in insurance, the more one grows, the more they invest. I hope we will continue to be a company that is proud of the service it provides for both customers and partners, and continue to have high ratings among our employees. Hopefully, 2018 will also be a big year to continue advancing with technological developments. We are in the process of defining all the goals; however, 2018 should be another year of solid growth and consolidation of our businesses with our partners and customers.