Gabriel’s 2 Worlds
As Head of Stategy and Business Development there is nothing more satisfying than a busy diary. April turned into one of those months where I spent more time in meetings than at my desk.
Broker meetings are, of course, always high on my list of priorities if I’m in Mexico or London. It’s an integral part of my job and, luckily, one that I really enjoy. Spending time with those who are sending us opportunities on a daily basis, enables me to listen to what they need from us, and form a solid partnership. We often forget, when we are sat in London, how the market is perceived elsewhere. So, when I’m in LatAm I find it beneficial to hear feedback on both the market and facultative reinsurers in general.
I spent the first part of April in Mexico, and took the opportunity to attended some client visits with the insurers. Spending time out with the clients helps me to ensure our solutions reflect their needs. I’m always excited to see the entrepreneurial spirit Mexican’s are known for in action. On this visit, I went to a stunning new office, a short walk from the historic streets of San Angel, which felt like being in a Google office mixed with a golf club! Proof that Mexico is an emerging and exciting place to do business.
AMIS, the Mexican insurance association, does a fantastic job promoting the industry’s development in the region. So, it was great to catch up with their Managing Director to discuss the programme for their prestigious annual convention in May. I’m delighted to be working closely with them, and supporting their event by hosting an afternoon session. We’re sharing our thoughts on succeeding in a market in crisis, a topic that Ash Bathia (CEO) is well placed to discuss given his 35 years’ experience. It’s an honour to be invited to speak and share the spotlight with some impressive business leaders, including Ken Segall (ex Creative Director of Apple), James Canton (CEO of the Institute for Global Futures) and Inga Beale (CEO of Lloyd’s of London).
As our approach to underwriting embraces the science of analytics, spending time with ERN (Expertos en Riesgos Naturales) to discuss their cat models and pricing tools is an important part of my job. Whilst I was in Mexico, I was able to discuss the detailed information and data available in the local region which enables us to maximise our underwriting approach. And, it is not just applicable to Mexico, as ERN are also modelling for Colombia and Peru, which is currently being taken up by regulators. It was fascinating to get into the details of this as well, and it’s a conversation that we’ll certainly be continuing.
After a week and half of meetings in Mexico City, I enjoyed a week off with the family, and put my tourist hat on. We spent most of it in Valle de Bravo, a stunning lakeside town about an hour and half from the bustling Mexico City. The town is known for its colonial architecture and sailing on the lake. I love being able to spend time relaxing and exploring my home country – so I’m always happy to make recommendations if you’re visiting!
Back in London, I was invited to attend a breakfast briefing with the Lord Mayor of London, regarding the annual Lord Mayor trip to LatAm. Whilst this year it will be a policy tour, rather than a delegation visit, the Lord Mayor was keen to take on board our commentary on promoting the City of London to regulators, government and businesses in LatAm. Having just returned, I provided some useful insight into the intricacies of working with the region.
It’s great to be at the forefront, helping to champion relationships between London and Latin America and I find it uplifting to listen to others discuss the wealth of opportunities in the region.
April also saw Lloyd’s host Latin America week. It was a treat for me to be able to sit back and enjoy the sessions this year, rather than feeling stressed with running them! The line-up of Lloyd’s country managers, as well as external experts, was well put together and highlighted some interesting points of view. It’s encouraging to see the Lloyd’s business from Argentina continue to defy economic conditions and grow even in US dollar terms from 2015 – 2016. Argentina is now Lloyd’s fourth largest LatAm market after Mexico, Brazil and Chile.