Features

Martín Vera – Seguros SURA

Cloud operations as insurance during the pandemic

If pipes burst in your building, you’d want to be insured yesterday, not tomorrow. Time is of the essence, says Martín Vera, who the past eight years has led digital transformations in the financial and insurance industries.

He’s also helped generate new digital sales channels and enhanced the relationship of customers to self-service channels—think websites, applications and other forms of digital ordering that are all about speed and convenience.

This knowledge of technology, he says, also helps him assist insurance clients and brokers. That’s precisely why Seguros SURA, the Chilean subsidiary of Suramericana, a company specialized in insurance, trends and risks, and part of Grupo SURA, hired him in March 2020. Now, a broker for the business can enter a client’s needs into a computer system and immediately see which projects to offer them.

“This helps build trust faster between brokers and their clients,” Vera says.

He and his team have also decreased the time it takes to make a new policy active. To accomplish this, they’ve encouraged communication among everyone from sales to executives.

“We learned what products our people wanted internally and for their clients, which allowed us to create fully operational digital products solutions within two weeks of a request—instead of five months,” Vera says.

While Vera was speeding up processes, COVID-19 was slowing everything down. By the end of his first month at Seguros SURA Chile, Vera was thinking of ways customers could still purchase and access policies—and how brokers could work from home.

“We needed a more efficient, secure and robust model to operate remotely,” Vera says. “It wasn’t easy, but we were able to show people—internal and external—that sometimes change is the best option in a crisis.”

COVID customer service

According to Vera, the obvious answer was implementing a customer relationship management platform.

“That’s why we turned to E-contact and Genesys Cloud, two separate vendors that created one system for us,” Vera says.

Clients can now reach Seguros SURA at any hour by phone, email, chat or even social media. Although they may not be able to speak directly and immediately to a broker, they can interact with chatbots and voicebots that guide them through filing a claim or checking on the progress of one, for instance. The system can even check the status of an insurance application without an insurance agent or carrier needing to get involved.

The best part? Even though customers can contact Seguros SURA through multiple channels, these channels don’t need to be checked individually by brokers, the sales team or customer service. Instead, all communications are stored in one place.

E-Contact also analyzes all the conversations and creates data reports. Vera views these, sharing them with other departments which then make changes to their processes, like letting the bots handle minor questions so brokers have more time to search for comparison rates.

The valuable currency of time

In fact, helping the departments connect more easily has been a priority since Vera was hired just a month before the COVID-19 outbreak. Noticing important customer information wasn’t centrally located, he introduced CitrixCloud in just four months, allowing employees to work remotely but securely.

In the future, Vera aims to help brokers obtain insurance quotes from several carriers in one place. Also, then the remittance department won’t have to call a broker to ask for the paperwork a client submitted when they filed a claim. Such consolidation of data saves time for clients and brokers so that’s what we’re working towards, Vera says.

“This was game-changing as it automated payment processes—to employees and for filed claims—and reconciliation of money remittances,” says Vera.

On top of making systems more secure, Vera trains the technology team on cybersecurity risks by simulating hacking events, for instance. He’s also created a series of workshops and training for brokers, insurance carriers and clients on security risks such as phishing e-mails or the risks of connecting to open Wi-Fi.

Baby’s first computer

While Vera is happy to teach others, he had to learn on his own. Receiving his first computer at the age of 10, he began writing programming in several languages just four years later.

“I always wanted to deliver innovative tech solutions, and they’ve changed the financial industry today,” says Vera, who has tackled several technological projects such as the implementation of enterprise resource planning platforms and customer relationship management platforms.

At seven different companies, Vera has moved company services and operations to the cloud to help companies enhance their sales and customer self-service options. He says his career journey has been full of hard work as he started as a help desk associate after graduating with his computer management engineering degree.

“I have built my career for the last 15 years in the financial industry step-by-step with two engineering degrees and several courses,” says Vera, who graduated in 2020 with an MBA from Universidad Adolfo Ibañez. “I’m in an industry that always asks more from technology and that keeps me active and constantly alert. I love to keep learning and my work at SURA allows me to tackle new cybersecurity and digitization issues,” Vera says.

View this feature in the Winter I 2022 Edition here.

Published on: December 15, 2021

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