ECUADOR - Finance
CEO, Seguros Confianza
Teresa Peña has been the Executive President of Seguros Confianza since 2015, with more than 25 years of experience in the company. She is currently the president of the Latin American Association of Credit Insurance (Alasece), being the first Ecuadorian woman to preside over this important entity. She is also part of the board of directors of Fedeseg, Vice President of the Guayaquil Insurance Chamber, and a member of the board of Reaseguradora del Ecuador, Ecuare.
Seguros Confianza has played a big role in supporting Ecuador’s development, having guaranteed many of the leading projects and public procurement initiatives in the country.
How did Seguros Confianza evolve from a small insurance company in Guayaquil to a major player in the market?
Confianza was established as a specialized company in the niche of surety bonds. In fact, some of its shareholders were other insurance companies that perceived the need for a player to oversee this specialty, as it is a different type of insurance, which has more similarities with a financial business than an insurance one. Confianza started with just one product, but 17 years ago we introduced another niche product: credit insurance. We are proud to have been pioneers of this product as well. By the end of 2020, we became market leaders for credit insurance, as we share the playing field with Coface. Confianza is an Ecuadorian company that has retained its Ecuadorian equity. It is a family business capable of competing with multinationals. Currently, we are leaders for both the bonds and credit insurance markets, which makes us proud. It has been an interesting growth trajectory. Guarantees might not seem as attractive for those unfamiliar with the business. However, when you insure a project or any type of infrastructure, you feel like you are a part of it because you are making it viable. If we look at it this way, we have supported a great part of Ecuador’s development, as we have guaranteed many of the leading projects and public procurement executed in the country.
Are you using big data or business intelligence to make your company more competitive?
We are testing both in small projects so that we can start using them in a larger scale soon. Digital transformation for us is about conceiving the entire business from a digital perspective. We want to enable the creation of a native digital user. Since 2021, we have immersed ourselves in this restructuring and redesign, moving toward the digital understanding of the business. In order to achieve this, you most definitely need to employ big data. We intend to enable the customer to immediately see their approval and conditions available with one click. This will make the process a lot faster, which is what our current clients need. In a business such as ours, one of the things clients appreciate the most is the consultancy support we provide. They need us to tell them if a new contract they are about to sign has clauses that are not beneficial for them, or if there are any others that need to be amended. They need to be absolutely prepared, and so by advising our customers we increase our added value.
What are the current trends for credit insurance in Ecuador?
For any foreign investor keen to enter Ecuador, the credit insurance aspect is still lacking. We are not a country with a big culture of insurance. Sometimes, companies go bankrupt not due to bad administrators or decisions, but rather due to a lack of liquidity. Credit insurance turns the account receivable into an asset of the company. From a financial point of view, this makes the company look sturdier when someone wants to invest in it, as it shows them that you have a financially sound business that is coherent and supported. With this insurance you are mitigating risks and depending on what industry a foreign investor is interested in, the insurance will always work as a support. No matter what the sector you want to venture in is or the role you want to play (be it investor, buyer, receiver of Ecuadorian products, or services), you will also be able to demand the insurance that works as a risk mitigator. Insurance is highly diverse in nature. In the model Ecuador is currently following, the country is actively looking for ways to invite foreign investors to participate in public-private partnerships. The insurance sector, of which we are part, believes that we have a role in these partnerships that could potentially be very interesting.
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