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ANTONIO HUERTAS HIGHLIGHTS THE OPPORTUNITIES PRESENTED TO THE INSURANCE INDUSTRY BY CHANGES RESULTING FROM THE PANDEMIC

Antonio Huertas
The president of MAPFRE closes the 27th edition of the International Seminars event, which brought together more than 2,500 risk management professionals from over 25 countries
 
The changes brought about by the current pandemic pose huge challenges for the insurance industry, but these can become opportunities, for clients as well as the industry itself. These are the thoughts of MAPFRE Chairman and CEO, Antonio Huertas, who believes that these changes are forcing companies to update their risk maps to establish protocols and prevention mechanisms that are adapted to the current threats, and that these will logically bring in complexity but also interesting changes and opportunities for the industry. "However much the world changes, insurance will always provide answers to protect assets," he stated during the closing of the MAPFRE Global Risks International Seminars event, which is now in its 27th edition, this year's theme being: 'Tackling major risks in a new environment.'
 
Antonio Huertas reminded us that even before COVID-19, there were already risks that were set to have a massive impact on the sector: natural disasters and events associated with climate change. In this regard, he noted that environmental events in 2020 represented 258 billion dollars, 26 percent more than the average for this century so far.
 
He also highlighted another risk, which has gone from being emerging to now being structural: that of cyberattacks. This risk has increased exponentially as the use of digital channels has increased during the pandemic. The event was a chance to discuss MAPFRE's experience of suffering a cyberattack in August 2020. The Group Chairman recognized that "the strength of the systems, the quality and experience of the human teams, the excellent collaboration of technology partners and the robust crisis and business continuity plan meant that the attack could first be contained, and then repelled." In this regard, he stressed the importance of investing in protection, having strict protocols, and raising awareness among employees and collaborators in this area.
 
He argued that insurance has the capacity to protect society and prepare it for the future, and that in this post-pandemic phase, recovery models will only be fully successful "if they are based on public-private partnerships, working together companies both large and small, with public initiative and supranational organizations."
 
He added that insurance markets are showing themselves to be solvent and resilient during this crisis, even at a time when conditions have become much tougher and more demanding.
 
He also stressed the need to extend vaccination to countries that lack the resources to undertake it with the necessary urgency. "Exiting the pandemic, which is by definition global, must also be done globally. And we will only be safe when everyone is vaccinated," he said.
 
He also recalled that the MAPFRE Group has mobilized more than 200 million euros to combat the pandemic and alleviate the serious economic and social effects it is having around the world.
 
The event also saw the presentation of the International Award for Excellence in Risk Management, which this year went to Sigdo Koppers. This award aims to recognize and give visibility to the best policies and culture in the area of risk management, prevention and protection.
 
The event brought together more than 2,500 risk management professionals from over 25 countries, and covered topics such as the impact of natural disasters on the industry, the major risks faced by different markets, and the role of brokers. A risk managed professional representing MAPFRE Malta also took part in this event.
 
During the opening of the event, the Chairman of MAPFRE Global Risks, Francisco Marco Orenes, analyzed the five major elements that are defining the current situation. The first of these, of course, is the pandemic, during which it has been demonstrated, once again, that insurance is the most socially conscious activity there is—as it mutualizes risk—and that it is capable of adapting to the new circumstances.
 
He also highlighted the growing uncertainty in financial markets, which has a knock-on effect on insurance business, and the social transformation driven by technological changes, in which the pandemic has acted as a catalyst. The fourth factor is how the way we work is changing, especially in terms of remote working, which has its advantages and risks, such as the increase in cyberattacks.
 
Finally, he mentioned the need for regulatory intervention to address today's burning issues, none more so than pandemic risk. "In the face of unexpected and unforeseen situations like those we are experiencing right now, effective public-private solutions could be put in place for the benefit of society. The outbreak of a pandemic like the one we are living through is the perfect opportunity in this scenario to revisit this type of collaboration," said Francisco Marco Orenes.
 
Bosco Francoy, CEO of MAPFRE Global Risks, touched on the current global socio-economic context and its impact on the insurance market, as well as the value proposition of MAPFRE Global Risks in the new environment. Furthermore, he presented the new strategic initiative that the business unit is working on—the Global Employee Benefit Programs—the development of which "will leverage the Global
 
Risks Unit's expertise in managing other international programs, so that this can be brought to bear on the Life, Health and Accidents business lines," said Bosco Francoy.
 
International Award for Excellence in Risk Management
 
Sigdo Koppers has been awarded the International Award for Excellence in Risk Management for 2019–2021 by MAPFRE GLOBAL RISKS, in recognition of its risk prevention management and culture. This is the second time this award has been given, and its aims is to be a benchmark in the major risk insurance industry. The award recognizes the work, policies and culture of Sigdo Koppers—a Chilean business group founded in 1960 and operates worldwide—in the area of risk management, prevention and protection.
 
The key topics of discussion at the 27th edition of the MAPFRE Global Risks International Seminars event, which took place on June 9–10, were: cyberattack prevention measures; the challenges faced by large Latin American corporations in the current environment; major risk trends in the Spanish market; the increasing toughness of the insurance market; and the impact of natural disasters on the industry.
 
Madrid, June 10, 2021. For more information, please contact MAPFRE Corporate Communication (tel.: +34 91 581 87 14, email: joaquinhernandez@mapfre.com)
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