GOT YOUR BACK

Panama 2015 | FINANCE | INTERVIEW

TBY talks to Rigoberto Chavarría, General Manager of Seguros Confianza, on priority segments, instilling an insurance culture, and geographical coverage.

Rigoberto Chavarría
BIOGRAPHY
Rigoberto Chavarría has 35-years of experience in the insurance industry in Panama and worked at AIG Panama for 32 years. At AIG he led the Sales and Marketing department for 15 years in all segments of the company. He is now the General Manager at Seguros Confianza, since three years ago.

What is the story behind Seguros Confianza?

We started from scratch and today are satisfied with what we have achieved to date. We have established ties with reinsurance companies that give us the necessary support to be a reliable and trusted insurance company. This also enables us to face all risks associated with the industry. Over time, we developed a comprehensive portfolio and have aimed to enter underdeveloped segments, such the low-income bracket. The low-income bracket represents around 70% of the uninsured population in Panama. This does not mean we overlooked other more traditional segments, such as industry and commerce. We have focused on response time in claim settlements as our true added value as a company. At the moment, there are 32 insurance companies in Panama and we have reached the 22nd position in the ranking with only three years in the market. Apart from that, our top priority is to be profitable as a company.

How would you assess the level of competitiveness in the insurance sector in Panama? What is your strategy to gain greater market share?

This is a tough market, and we aim at taking gradual steps to gain the trust of our customers. This is not an easy task, as there are highly professional companies operating in the sector. Ours is a small, but secure market. Key elements in this industry are knowledge and dedication to customers, as well as fast claim settlements. Therefore, our main strategy is to grow by promising what we can actually offer and nothing more.

In what segments and categories do you currently invest the most?

We target middle-class professionals and people starting families, who are most likely to purchase a housing unit, car, or other big-ticket item. We also have some interesting activity in the corporate segment, although it is not our priority. We have expanded activities in the medium to lower-income bracket through insurance products, such as vehicle insurance. We have also put much effort into e-insurance products, boosting online services, which enable us to be fast in providing an answer to our customers.

Can you elaborate on your strategy to inculcate an insurance culture among Panamanians?

The middle class has expanded in Panama, and with that we have seen more Panamanians purchasing housing units and accessing credit lines. We have worked together with banks to offer complementary services to their financial products, such as compulsory life insurance for mortgages and housing insurance. Seguros Confianza has also invested considerably in the promotion and education of certain products, campaigns, and the overall need and importance of insurance products. We also developed a strategy to offer accessible and affordable products and services. For example, for $5 a month, we offer a cancer-specific insurance that covers up to $50,000. We also offer many consultancy services to explain the benefits and opportunities to insure the entire family unit, for example. We have also seen that the insurance culture has grown in Panama alongside the rising number of expatriates relocating to the country.

What is your geographical coverage?

We have a presence in Panama City, as well an office in the central region of the country. We have plans for 2016-17 to open two additional offices; in Chiriquí and West Panama provinces, which have great potential for our demographic target. We also plan to increase our portfolio of alliances with financial companies in order to strengthen our presence and position in the national level. Our strategy also includes the broadening of our distribution channels.