This interview was originally published in Intelligent Insurer and is shared with the kind permission of the publications. Read the original here
A culture in some Latin American countries of not being open to outsourcing certain functions to experts or consultants, is affecting growth, Martin Smith (pictured), director of Latin America at the industry consultant Pro Global, told Intelligent Insurer.
He says that Pro Global is growing and performing well in Latin America, but adds: “In some instances they use local very small niche consultants who sometimes lack the breadth of expertise, and this is often made more difficult if you are not located in the same country,” he says.
From Smith’s perspective, one of the main challenges is changing the mindset of the market in Latin America “to view consultants such as Pro Global as a trusted partner and not simply as a provider”.
He adds: “They need to understand that we are there to support them over the long term so they can focus on their core business strategy and operations—and that we are here to make that happen in a simple and straightforward manner.”
Another challenge in Latin America is having the right data. Smith explains that when approaching existing or potential new clients to work on a new project, there are inevitably issues and delays in providing the required data.
“Many ongoing projects risk being delayed because of the time it takes to request, turn around and analyse data and processes—and often, the timescales far exceed expectations. At Pro Global, we support many clients by improving their processes, which leads to improved operational efficiencies,” he adds.
Over the past 12 months, Pro Global has approached several insurtechs in the region (mainly in Argentina and Brazil) to be able to support its clients.
The industry consultant has strengthened its own in-house capabilities in areas such as robotic process automation which, says Smith, allows the company to bring even greater operational efficiencies and cost savings to its clients.
While there are plenty of challenges, Smith is quick to note a number of opportunities in the region. Pro Global is expecting additional growth in its Brazil office, and for the other countries in the region, Pro Global has projects mainly focused on re-engineering processes, unallocated cash and coverholder and claims audits.
“We do see opportunities in projects related to automation and processes in order to get more efficiencies which will allow our clients to focus better on their core businesses,” says Smith.
This reflects Pro Global’s efforts on a group basis, “which are focused on helping clients become more efficient, through outsourcing functions such as underwriting support, claims, broker services, processes, and starting to support automation”, he adds.
Additionally, more traditional services such as unallocated cash, claims and audits are still needed in the region, says Smith. Pro Global expects these to become an increasing area of focus in the future.
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