The leading Portuguese insurer, Fidelidade is acquiring new technologies and looking to partnerships to grow across borders.
What is the main trend you are seeing in the insurance industry?
In Europe, the traditional concept of insurance is evolving, and so are we. Today, Fidelidade has four insurance companies and seven service companies. We are moving from pure insurance to universal services that include services at the margins of the insurance industry. When one of our customers has a problem, such as a car accident, instead of receiving financial compensation, he can drop off his car at our service center, which will lend him another car, and our partners will take care of the repairs. Finally, the customer will receive his car without paying or receiving money. This concept opens up a new era for insurance companies.
The same thing applies for health insurance. We now have 20 hospitals throughout Portugal.
How did you acquire the know-how in such different fields?
Some areas need to be addressed with the help of the right partners. We decided to create a partnership system a few years ago, which has continued to improve. In telematics, we work with our partner The Floow, a UK-based company. For advanced medical assistance, with video calling services, we work with Spanish companies. In Portugal, the technological movement is not yet stabilized. You have to be careful and choose the right partner at the right time in the startup ecosystem. Our startup accelerator, ProTechting, participates in technological development in Portugal. Its third edition in 2018 brought together applications developed from 31 countries. Our challenge at Fidelidade is to develop outside our sector through digitalization.
Which key indicator makes you proud?
We are proud of our operational quality and service. Here in Portugal, any complaint from a customer must be reported to the regulator. While we hold 31% of the market, we only have 14% of complaints. This means that we can grow without compromising the quality of our services.
What drives Fidelidade to invest more and more abroad?
As a leader with a market share of 31%, it is difficult to grow in Portugal, so we invest elsewhere. Today, 10% of non-life insurance turnover comes from abroad and we aim for 30% by 2020.
We are in the process of concluding an agreement with Positiva Seguros, a company with a notable presence in Peru, Paraguay and Bolivia. We are also seeing opportunities in Chile, Poland and other countries. Fosun was very supportive of that.
Does having a Chinese shareholder represent a cultural challenge?
In Fosun’s corporate culture, the key is to retain the best talent, the most energy-savvy and entrepreneurial, regardless of nationality. The group employs professionals from Switzerland, France and the United States, where they have acquired exceptional training. At Fidelidade, for example, our investment director is Chinese and he worked for years on Wall Street. In fact, Fosun provides us with a pool of highly qualified internal resources.
What concerns you most about the future?
One of the most important risks of the next decade will be climate change. This is a problem that worries insurance companies around the world because we do not know the extent. Only when the environmental damage is considered immoral will we be able to really control carbon emissions. In the meantime, we must be vigilant as this will completely change the universal notion of risk for our industry.