Higinio Iglesias
CEO of ebroker and President of AETMA

Higinio Iglesias, CEO of ebroker y AETMA President, talks about the objectives of this recently created group of mediation technologies. Posted on December 2022 by insurance.

Higinio Iglesias is the first president of the recently created association AETMA, made up of the five main mediation technologies. It is a true example of cooperation supported by dialogue, consensus and a common vision to be at the side of insurance mediators. Iglesias, a veteran who knows the sector from his different sectoral responsibilities, underlines the relevance of AETMA for the market and for mediation and the clear focus on everything they touch.

To begin with the interview, this September the creation of AETMA, the Spanish Association of Technological Mediation Companies, became official. Why was this union necessary, had the opportune moment come to create it?

We live in times in which technology plays and will play a determining role in the evolution and transformation of the business models of insurance mediators, especially in the field of brokers, and all this has begun to manifest itself through important projects sectorial. The moment and the circumstances have favored the approximation of our companies to a global and transversal approach in the application of technology to the progress of professional distribution, an approach through an attitude and vision open to cooperation.

The founders are the five great mediation technologies. Have you already incorporated more members in these months? What is the company profile that has a place in AETMA?

Until now AETMA is made up only of the five founding companies, however, it is an associative business cooperation project open to all those companies whose main activity is technological resources and services for insurance brokers and, obviously, fit within the foundational requirements contemplated in the bylaws.

What is AETMA's specific approach?

The great objective of AETMA is to remain at the side of insurance mediation, at a time when technology is an essential element to achieve great objectives associated with the digital transformation process, which affects both society and the business world. We wish that our cooperation initiative be perceived as an instrument for the representativeness of our associated companies, based on the values ​​of dialogue and consensus. In the coming years there will be many things to talk about in terms of technology in the insurance sector, in many cases with important strategic implications for mediators. In this highly transcendent dialogue we want to be your natural ally and your trusted reference point.

AETMA is an associative business cooperation project open to all those companies whose main activity is technological resources and services for insurance brokers.

AETMA has recently set up its Technical Commission and has established its lines of action. What are they?

The AETMA Technical Commission is made up of the leaders in technology from our respective companies. Its objective is to add capacities and optimize resources to have precise knowledge of the projects, the best way to approach them, and to unify the criteria of dialogue in the sectoral working bodies and committees, always from a purely technological perspective. We are companies, and often we have to make important decisions, mainly the CEOS, decisions in the particular interest of our respective organizations, and on many occasions conditioned by complex technological aspects. That knowledge, and the discussion about it, is what we want to share through cooperation; Another very different thing is how each company translates and applies it in its strategy and presence in the market. The immediate goals for the Technical Commission have been established in the field of projects EIAC-CIMA and digital policy.

Mediation technology companies compete and will continue to compete in the market, let no one doubt it, a competition that is good and necessary because it benefits mediators.

For the good common

Are the companies that make up the association compatible? In other words, despite the fact that you are competing companies, is it an example of a commitment to common development?

We are clear that cooperating and competing freely and fairly in the market are not incompatible. As mediation technology companies we compete and will continue to compete in the market, let no one doubt it, a competition that is good and necessary because it benefits mediators as it provides them with a diverse and plural offer, and also generates a dynamic that makes products evolve and improve.

Where do you think are the greatest opportunities for the technology companies that you are part of?

One of AETMA's objectives is to participate in decisions on how to carry out and focus on those aspects of sectoral projects that involve insurer-broker relationships, and that clearly and directly affect the integration processes with our ERPs and management tools. connectivity. Our products play a hinge role and operating link between insurers and mediators, and for this reason we understand that we have to participate in the conception and design of that part of the projects. We will all benefit from doing things better. We will all win in terms of efficiency and productivity, and this does not mean having to give up a competitive value.

Imminently or in the short term, I do not perceive a concentration dynamic around the main mediation technology companies.

The size of technology companies is beginning to matter in order to be able to develop ambitious and complex projects at affordable prices for customers. Will the big tech companies end up 'eating' the small ones? Are we heading towards an inevitable concentration of technology companies?

Achieving higher levels of efficiency, profitability and competitiveness through business concentration is not an unknown or secret practice. It is happening in general, and very particularly in our sector. Insurers are concentrated, brokers are concentrated, service providers are concentrated. Imminently or in the short term, I don't see a dynamic of concentration around the main mediation technology companies. However, one of the factors that could alter this dynamic is better mutual knowledge, convergence in criteria and interests, current circumstances, for example. Chemistry and business share the peculiarity that the reaction is more likely when the elements interact and share a medium. Another different thing is the result of the reaction.

How do you assess the general reception of the creation of AETMA?

Very good. Both mediators and insurers are giving us a very positive view of the decision, an issue that is to be appreciated. When a cooperation initiative is born driven by the values ​​of dialogue, consensus and commitment to the general interest of mediation, it is difficult not to perceive it as positive.

Greater presence

Going on to talk about the EIAC/CIMA project, what is going to imply the push in this case of AETMA?, How will it contribute?

We trust that it will help to move faster. Going faster means that more brokers who use the technology's ERPs take the step of adhering to CIMA as a way of operating the functionalities based on the EIAC standard. But for this we understand that it is necessary to improve some issues related to the quality of the data and the operation of the service. The runners have to perceive the advantages of the model in a clear way. We are committed to working on it.

At AETMA, do you think that the CIMA project had stopped?

The project has not been slowed down, it is simply progressing slower than desired, and therefore it is necessary to go faster. More brokers, more insurers, more technology, a more standard standard, more vision of the advantages.

Have you felt excluded from the conversations and decisions made about the CIMA project?

The technological ones, until now, have only participated in the Technical Committee of CIMA. At the time, we requested to join the CIMA Commission itself because we thought that, being an essential part of the model, we were not participating in making some decisions that significantly affected the strategy and functional operations related to our ERPs. The commission did not consider it pertinent, and although we respect the decision, we do not share it. In any case, the important thing is not that the technology companies, before individually and now through AETMA, are part of the CIMA Commission, what is really important is to establish mechanisms that allow us to be part of the process in the discussion of the issues and in making decisions.

What other initiatives do you have planned for the future?

At this time, AETMA's focus is on the EIAC-CIMA and digital policy projects. However, we are sure that other important and highly transcendental projects for professional distribution will come to the sector soon, and we want to be prepared to accompany the mediators in their development, objectives and interests.

How are technological tools helping to boost the insurance sector?

Marketing, after-sales, operational efficiency, regulatory compliance, use of data, customer experience, new business models; everything will go through technology, it will be essential for both insurers and mediators.

The important thing is not that the technology companies are part of the CIMA Commission, what is really important is to establish mechanisms that allow us to be part of the process in the discussion of issues and in decision-making.

We have heard you say that the technology applied to mediation is “world leading”. Is it exportable to other countries?

Globalization opens the doors to internationalization. When you visit other countries you realize that in Spain we have a highly developed vision and state of the technology applied to mediation. There are issues, such as sectoral connectivity, in which we are true leaders. I think there are real business opportunities in other countries, we have vision, knowledge and experience, but what is not so clear to me is that we have the right size and structure to undertake relevant internationalization actions, and by this I am not referring to having clients in other countries, I mean globally address other markets. It would be interesting to reflect on it.

Continuing with such an essential part of the sector, what is your reading of mediation? And do you see mediators prepared to face a truly digital future, or already present?

We are living in a new digital age and we must not forget that throughout history mastery and leadership in technology has determined political, social and economic hegemony. Technology will be an essential element for insurance brokers to maintain their current leadership in distribution. Multichannel is an unquestionable reality, and mediators have no better way to live within it than by becoming strong through a contribution of value to the consumer supported by technology. Technological companies have the great mission and responsibility of being by the side of mediators and providing them with these capabilities.

Has your experience of cooperation between brokers in the last 30 years helped you to bet now on cooperation between technology companies?

In 1993, a small group of runners bet on cooperation as a strategy to walk together towards the future. We are talking about the pre-internet era, and then we already thought that technology would play an important role in the professional and business development of the insurance broker. We are committed to cooperation between brokers that will simultaneously promote the development of the insurance business and investment in technology. 30 years later at E2K we still think the same and are consistent with that vision. Once again we are committed to cooperation, this time forming part of AETMA, cooperating with technology companies specialized in insurance mediation. We think that E2K's knowledge and vision of the needs and interests of brokers, together with our experience in the technological world through ebrokers, can be useful and benefit the entire mediation. That is why we joined AETMA and we appreciate that the rest of the technological founders of the association shared this idea.

digital policy

Another of the sectoral projects that you are going to focus on is the digital policy. What concrete approaches do you have?

Almost all technology companies offer brokers features for electronic document signing, and that also includes the ability for brokers to offer their clients the ability to sign the insurance contracts they mediate. It seems good to us that a sectoral initiative establishes as its objective a standard way of doing it. But this is a complex issue because it goes beyond an exclusively technological issue. It is necessary to dialogue to agree on the model in which we have to carry out this transition in a regime of coexistence with the pre-existing reality and the way in which the way to achieve it is approached. It must be taken into account that the current functionalities must coexist with the standardized form that is intended, because, among other issues, not all insurers have adopted EIAC as a standard and not all insurers are adhered to CIMA and, in any case, As technology companies, we have to offer brokers the ability to operate with all market entities. Now AETMA has asked the CIMA Commission for this dialogue to take place and we agree on the best way to do it and move forward.

What is the future you foresee for the digital policy?

Signing contractual documents electronically is not something of the future, today it is already a common practice with which we are familiar. Insurance policies have to be formalized electronically in the very short term, it is unquestionable.

Multichannel is an unquestionable reality, and mediators have no better way to live within it than by becoming strong through a contribution of value to the consumer supported by technology.

It is an issue that ultimately involves the entire sector. Why hasn't it been developed before?

It is somewhat excessive to refer to the electronic signature of policies in terms of 'digital policy'. Digitizing the insurance contract should involve more than just signing it, we should be talking about electronically managing the formal part of the underwriting documentary process. It is a matter of both legal certainty and operational efficiency. It has not been developed before because it is effectively a sectoral issue and many things have to be agreed upon; one of them is the role that insurance brokers must have in the formal process to fulfill their professional duties and obligations as mediators. Insurance brokerage implies active participation in underwriting supervision, which implies a significant level of technological integration between the systems of insurers, brokers, certifying entities and the devices used by clients. You have to analyze well how to do it so you don't have to do it twice.

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