CEO, Santalucía Seguros
Managing Director, Asepeyo
How has your company evolved since its founding?
ANDRÉS ROMERO In the past century our business has evolved, although we maintain the essence of being a centenary project. Companies have an obligation to maintain the nature of who they are, even more so being an insurer whose corporate purpose is to preserve such intangible elements as security, tranquility, and the future. Basically, Santalucía continues to be a family business whose shareholders belong to the three families that founded it in 1922. At the time of its inception, its objective was to satisfy a basic need by providing insurance. For example, something that the founders of this company set out to do was ensure that no person in Spain lacked access to a decent funeral. And that is the thread that has brought us to the present. After these beginnings, we also focused on other aspects of citizens’ lives that needed to be protected, such as the challenge of people acquiring a home or developing a life model. We have been designing and developing other insurances that help people face their future with peace of mind.
VICENTE APARICIO Asepeyo is the number-one mutual insurance company in Catalonia and the second nationally. Considering the country is emerging from a difficult period that began with the 2008 financial crisis, we are doing well. Furthermore, as mutuals, we never stop being business associations as we collaborate with companies that protect their workers with us. When companies encounter problems, as was the case in the financial crash, we also have problems. If companies have to reduce their number of workers, then the total volume of workers we insure or protect falls. We had 2.3 million workers, which then fell to around 1.65 million. All the mutuals lost in proportion to their respective market share, which is noticeable. Since 2013, the economy in Spain has been recovering, and now we are back to pre-crisis income levels.
What is the key to staying competitive?
AR Although it sounds paradoxical, our new strategic vision is centenary. In the end, the maturity you reach as an entity, thanks to the 100-year long experience, puts you at a point where you say, now what? Spain is a market in which we are leaders. We have an experience that is perfectly exportable, so we identify markets that may be close for different cultural, geopolitical, or economic reasons. The question is how to focus on this internationalization. We believe strongly in JVs and in partnerships, because although we are experts in doing what we know, each country has people who are experts in their respective markets. That is what is taking us to Colombia, with the Fundación Social Group, and to Mexico, where we are developing two different businesses, one for the care of the elderly through Ballesol and another for providing funeral services through Albia, another company of the group, together with Aeternitas Memorial. All our local partners in the international expansion we are carrying out are leaders in their respective markets.
VA It is not just Asepeyo that is innovative; our competition is too. On the health issue, we put an MRI of three Teslas in Coslada, which few hospitals in Spain have, to the delight of our traumatologists. We have also renovated 12 centers in 12 years. The size of the center in Girona went from 800sqm to 2,400sqm, equipped with everything. There is also a 2,000-sqm center where we will dedicate 1,000sqm to physiotherapy. It will also have a gym so that patients can come to a single center with all the physiotherapists and a specialist. We are trying to strengthen health because it is not just our goal, but an obligation. In doing so, we put professionals in close proximity where they can share experiences and knowledge. Furthermore, we have collaborated with companies working in VR. Every year, there are more than 80,000 accidents, about 13% of which are traffic accidents. We acquired four driving simulators where people drive while our technician places obstacles in the way, which is significantly more effective in raising awareness in prevention. The key is to raise awareness because we have a minimum capacity to act in prevention. We tackle the issue from a social security point of view. Companies are delighted with this proposal because we are giving them a new product.
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