The Business Year

Manuel Arévalo

COLOMBIA - Finance

Jorge Andrés Jiménez & Manuel Arévalo

General Manager, CESCE (Segurexpo S.A.)

Bio

Providing credit insurance solutions means not only providing the right product, but also being a strategic long-term partner to companies in the management of credit risks.

What is the current focus of business in Solunion, and how can partnerships help reach a wider market segment?

JORGE ANDRÉS JIMÉNEZ We have a large project to launch concerning credit insurance solutions for SMEs. We are also working to launch two different distribution channels. So far in Colombia, distribution has been focused on the traditional channels of brokers and businesses. We are looking for different ways to perform distribution in the Colombian market, and are keen to introduce expertise, especially from Europe. We want to bring in a special line for factory companies, and are exploring niche products for specific sectors of the economy. Our shareholders in Europe have considerable expertise through close relationships with the banking sector. In Spain, the market is very much about banking and credit insurance lines, and thus channel banking has been important. We are trying to bring that experience to this market. We are looking at links between banks and liquid trading industries.

CESCE, through Segurexpo, is a pioneer of credit insurance in Colombia. What is the strategy to maintain a market leadership in the segment of credit insurance?

MANUEL ARÉVALO We have been doing credit insurance for more than 25 years and since then in partnership with the local government we have been offering domestic and export credit insurance and also coverage for political risk. Throughout these years we have been able to develop a deep knowledge of the market, its different economic sectors and companies from large and well known to medium and small ones which is one of our main competitive advantage besides with our offer which allows us to take more risk than our competitors thus giving more support to our insureds; this allowed in 2021 that our credit insurance business grew at a pace of 50%, twice as fast as our competitors, and our market share went to 29% from 25% in 2020. We are also working on process efficiency and improving customer experience as those are also critical factors to maintain and develop our leadership in the market.

How does Solunion leverage new technologies and digitalization to improve its service for partners, and what are the efficiencies achieved?

JAJ The entire industry of credit insurance is based on technologies. For us and the whole group that we work with, technology is the basis of our operations. The needs of the clients in Colombia are met on diverse platforms. Technologies play an important part in the strategy and branding of the company. We are close to the client. The technology is adapted to the local culture.

How do you frame product innovation to reach new clients and expand access to credit insurance?

MA Our intention is to offer simple products for small companies aiming to democratize credit insurance, a product that has common been for large and medium companies. Through targeted coverage and lower costs, we expect to form new business avenues. In other innovations, in 2021 we launched an API that facilitates the synchronization of data between our system and the ERP of clients. This cuts out mechanical data processing. If we use technology to facilitate the operations of our clients, we ensure repeat business and strengthen long-term partnerships.

Solunion is the credit insurance market leader in Colombia with over a 59% market share. What is your strategy to make sure that credit insurance reaches more beneficiaries?

JAJ We are close to associations and all sectors, and account for 60% of the Colombian market. We are very active in promoting credit in the local market. We are active in the way we reach brokers and potential clients, and also in the way we develop new products. We constantly work to improve the service model, technology and specific product line. We still have a long way to go to create an established culture, despite having been working on this for 20 years. Thus, we still have considerable growth potential.

What are your main ambitions and what are you focusing on to make those ambitions a reality?

MA Our vision is to recover our market leadership position; for us, being the leader does not only mean being the largest or the biggest, but the most agile and the most supportive to our clients. To get there, we have in place a strategic plan that focus on efficiency, client orientation and the development of our main asset which is our human talent; so far, we have achieved major improvements in a couple of key processes, updated some IT tools, get closer to our clients, intermediaries and partners so we now understand better their needs and give more agile solutions. 

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