The Business Year

Luis Imedio Serrano

PERU - Finance

Key Elements

General Manager, Secrex Cesce

Bio

Luis Imedio Serrano received his law degree from the Complutense University of Madrid and an MBA from the Instituto de Empresa in Madrid. He has 27 years of experience in banking and international insurance, working at organizations throughout Europe and the US. At the Cesce Group, he was Executive Vice President and Director at La Mundial Venezolana de Seguros de Crédito, and after that CEO at CESCE Argentina. In January 2013, he was appointed General Manager of Secrex in Lima, Peru.

"We have done a lot of work with the public administration in terms of credit insurance."

What peculiarities characterize the environment you are dealing with in Peru?

In Peru, all players in the financial system use different terminology to refer to the concept of bonds and this also means certain differences with the international community. For example, financial institutions, companies, and organizations use different concepts when referring to bonds. From this point of view, there is sometimes confusion. In Peru we deal with Bonds at First Demand, which makes the underwriting very important.

Do you work alongside public authorities to implement clearer rules for the system?

We have done a lot of work with the public administration in terms of credit insurance, which is a useful tool for governments to boost foreign trade. The sector has seen a lot of innovation in the last few years, taking key steps forward. We are quite active with the government in this regard. We have an agreement with COFIDE within the Programa De Seguro De credito A La Exportación (SEPYMEX) program, which has been in place since 2002. As Secrex, we have an exclusive agreement through which every export of SMEs within Peru is covered by 50% by Secrex. Secrex has been one of the leading companies in the development of this program with our credit insurance products for exporting companies. This program has been very successful from the beginning and we have been strengthening and improving it.

What role does new technology play in the development of the company?

This is a major part of our development and we have signed partnerships to leverage our capabilities in this field. We are able to offer a more comprehensive service in terms of risk management thanks to new technologies. Innovation and new technologies are key elements in our activity, especially in the bonds area, which is one of the strongest segments in Peru for our company. We have applied new technologies in order to create automated underwriting to our products, such as performing bonds. We have done a lot of work in automating underwriting in custom agencies bonds. There are over 2,500 customs operators in this country. At the moment, around 60% of our performing bonds are within civil works and the remaining 40% are customs agencies and casinos. We have a strong focus on developing these latter two. We have made a great deal of effort to accompany foreign companies upon their arrival in Latin America as well, some of them from Spain, too. We offer the competitive advantages of our almost 35 years of local knowledge and experience combined with our international capabilities. This structure has slowed down the decision-making process, but strengthened our efficiency and global capabilities.

What is the potential of Peruvian SMEs?

The SEPYMEX program is the best example we can give and the fact that the government wants to extend it is a clear statement of the role these businesses are set to play in the future of the Peruvian economy. We have seen SMEs reaching many new markets in the last few years and this is thanks to the export capabilities of this country, regardless of its size. For example, agribusiness is one of the sectors with the greatest potential for the near future. We have seen some successful cases in the last couple of years and we will see many more. SMEs have great potential for export activity due to the fact that Peruvian products are sold at higher prices in foreign markets.

What other sectors will underpin Peru’s future growth?

Apart from agribusiness, the mining industry is set to play a key role in Peru’s future development. Peru has large mineral resources and, despite these being mainly non-insurable commodities, we see more sophisticated derivate products, and those are the ones with big potential for us and for our products such as credit insurance. For example, we have a customer exporting to as many as 55 different countries. These products have greater added value than the raw minerals alone, and we think there is a lot to do in this field.

How do you see Secrex evolving in the near future?

We would like to introduce certain products and programs we have in Spain; for example, in Spain, credit insurance was dying out due to the extreme competition in prices and players being extremely pushy. That changed with the construction bubble and financial crisis that hit the country a few years ago. Competitiveness was based only on the premium we charged and that led us to try to think differently, offering other aside services not to bring down prices, which was one of the main trends. This was also driven by the necessity to reduce the impact of bad claims we had back then. In this context, we developed the “CESCE Master Oro” Policy, introducing variable prices, breaking the global paradigm prevailing in the industry. This has evolved into the “Pay-Per-Cover Policy” or the “Full Cover” we have in place now, in which the customer decides what they want to insure. Overall, we offer a more personalized product in a more attractive platform on the internet, changing the way the sector operates. We work on the implementation of these services and products in Peru and we will bring some good news in the near future.

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