INSURANCE

Panama 2017 | FINANCE | B2B

While the country is used to high rates of growth in the insurance market, recent slowdowns in growth mean companies are getting creative.

Emanuel Abadia
EMANUEL ABADIA
Managing Director, Country Head
Marsh Semusa
Sucelt Pitty
SUCELT PITTY
General Manager
Panamerican Network

What are the main trends defining the insurance sector in Panama?

Emanuel Abadia The insurance market in Panama has been through many changes. The industry is used to an annual growth rate of 9.5%-10%, but in 2016 growth was only 4%. Investments are down and there is no growth. We do not see large infrastructure projects taking place. In general, the sector is slowing down. In comparison, we are growing in the health and life insurance segments. In 2016, these segments did relatively well. Marsh Semusa is focused not just in the development sectors, but also in all areas of the insurance market: individual policies, the middle market, large companies, and many other practice areas as well. Now with Marsh we have the opportunity to develop a number of areas where there is little expertise in the market in Panama, such as renewable energy.

The canal expansion is reinforcing Panama's position as the maritime epicenter within Latam. What is the potential offered by this segment and how will you capitalize on this?

Sucelt Pitty We have different options in this segment; at the moment, I cannot disclose our market strategy, but we currently have an existing portfolio of clients active in this niche. Cargo and logistics companies in particular hold appeal to us. Companies that offer maintenance for the shipping industry are important players that we would like to work with. The number of vessels that cross the canal is steadily increasing, which implies great potential for the logistics sector in general, and we are ready to offer our insurance services to all the companies operating in this rapidly growing segment.

What specific services do you offer newcomers to the energy sector and what is the composition of your existing portfolio at Marsh Semusa?

EA The most important thing we offer is expertise because, when it comes to insurance, companies need an expert to manage their investments. They need an expert in risk and risk management, and Marsh Semusa has many experts to do this around the world. Our most important value is our experience in the industries where we work. Marsh Semusa is a diversified company. We have a division that handles liability and risk insurances for large companies and another department that manages employee health and benefits insurance, such as life insurance cover for employees. We have other departments managing all the individual lines of insurance and the middle market. We are present in all the insurance segments and each department is able to manage all the needs of our clients. We offer all the types of insurance that the local market needs, as well as other financial products such as bonds. When a new investment takes place in Panama, we seek the assistance of experts in that particular field. Then, we collaborate with our clients to find the best deal for them with the best reinsurance companies, cover, deductibles, and conditions for their individual portfolio needs. Marsh is present in more than 160 countries around the world and has more than 27,000 employees globally.

What is your strategy to consolidate your presence in Panama, differentiating your brand from the competition?

SP Approximately 15 years of continued success and growth are key components of our identity. Service is an asset and quality service is our key resource. It is not that easy to find great service in Panama. My background and education laid the foundations for the success of this company. We are constantly informed about trends, opportunities, and challenges. We know how to manage our business. Offering a tailor-made service to our clients is a pivotal component and a differentiating factor in our daily activities. Our clients need solid relations with the insurance company that they work with; we are a reliable partner. In this business, service is the secret. We sell an intangible product and everything comes across as a service. That is how we ensure we maximize the efficiency of our operations in the country: with an excellent service provided by an excellent team. HR is a real challenge in Panama and we have managed to solve this by investing in education and training. We are service oriented. We always solve our clients' issues. Efficiency, service, and quality are our core values and the differentiating factors that have led to the growth of our reputation in Panama. It is fundamental to educate our potential clients about the importance of investing in our services.