Blanca Velázquez
Metropolitan Director
View from the Top

Data Needed to Improve Risk Assessment

By Jan Hogewoning | Fri, 01/24/2020 - 11:43

Q: How does Quálitas differentiate itself from global and local insurers?

A: Our work is based on two pillars:  service for our insured base and cost control. We always try to anticipate new areas of opportunity and respond quickly to implement them in our service model. Our organization has a simple structure with few hierarchical levels. At the same time, our products are clearly defined according to a pre-agreed price scheme, so the client pays what the policy says.

Our service model is greatly aided by a network of over 400 offices across the country. We retain more than 300 lawyers and 1,200 adjusters. Having this much talent in-house is unique because other insurers subcontract these positions. We have built our brand mostly through word of mouth and since 2007, we are the leading company in auto insurance.

Q: What are the key factors behind higher accident rates in Mexico?

A: Eighty percent of all accidents are caused by human error, such as ignoring traffic signs, speeding and being on the phone while driving. Another 13 percent is caused by weather conditions and a mere 7 percent relates to car malfunctions. Because of the predominance of the human factor, pricing in this sector has to take greater consideration of who is driving the car. This is not necessarily easy to achieve. Currently, insurance prices are based on the accident rate for the car model and the area where the car is registered. However, we can gather more data to increase the number of variables to take into account. Often, the data collected depends on the car’s systems, which can be limited or biased. A national driver’s license registry would help to get a better picture given that today, drivers can obtain a new license when moving to another state.

Q: What is the best way for companies to convey the importance of insurance coverage in a country where these products have such low penetration?

A: Legislative changes to make insurance mandatory would greatly increase coverage and general awareness about its importance. Unfortunately, this is still not effectively implemented and some states are lagging behind, such as Mexico City and the metropolitan region. Besides laws, however, there is a wider need to increase awareness about the risks of having an accident while driving and the harm this can cause to vehicle owners and others, as well. We have worked on campaigns aimed at promoting better driving habits. These initiatives, however, should be widespread. With truck fleets, we have worked on prevention of risks, analyzing where we can impose preventive measures.

Q: What technologies do you use in your services?

A: We are working with different technologies to reduce risks and the impact of incidents. One is a satellite technology used to track a vehicle in case of theft. Another is an accident-prevention device that sends out alerts when a car makes a fast change in direction. We also have a more-sophisticated development that features a camera that reads the driver’s behavior. It can detect when the driver is distracted by the phone, if they are falling asleep or if their seat moves. We have focused largely on using these systems for big transportation fleets. There are particular risks in this segment and prices of devices tend to be high. Our goal is to have more affordable devices that can be fitted in a private vehicle.

We have also started using artificial intelligence to better analyze risk areas in the country. This allows us to further personalize the policies we offer. This type of information collection can also further help in providing better awareness about driving habits. We also offer our clients a mobile app that allows them to report an accident, see when their adjuster is coming and follow up on their claim’s process. It can even help call for an ambulance. The adjuster uses the app to confirm completion of each phase in the client’s claim. The app has made our accident protocol more efficient and reduced the need for phone calls. 

Q: What are your goals for 2019?

A: We want to continue providing an excellent service and build long-lasting relationships with our clients. It is important to instill tranquility, which comes from knowing that you are being taken care of. We have been around for 25 years and have been No. 1 since 2007. Our philosophy is to insure cars and care for people.

Q: What is the best way for companies to make the best out of a contracting market without compromising revenues?

A: We need to anticipate risks and prevent them. We do not only sell insurance; we also provide our clients with driving guidance. To get a better picture of risks, we use advanced monitoring technology and artificial intelligence to gather and analyze data. From a financial perspective, it is important to keep insurance costs affordable and personalize them according to different client profiles. We cater to different types of clients, such as agents, fleets and individual drivers.

Jan Hogewoning Jan Hogewoning Journalist and Industry Analyst