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Report: MAPFRE to sell insurance online in Colombia, Mexico, Peru

Spanishinsurer MAPFRE SAplans to start selling insurance online in Colombia, Mexico and Peru as part ofits multi-channel sales strategy, ElEconomista reported July 8, citing MAPFRE's head for Latin America, RafaelCasas.

Thecompany will start offering the service in countries where it already has a"reasonable" network of offices and is also considering launching inBrazil, Casas said.

MAPFREhas 2,164 partnerships in Latin America with financial agents including banksand non-financial entities such as department stores, which has allowed it toimprove its customer relations in the region, Casas noted.

Althoughthe recent depreciation of currencies in Latin America has hurt MAPFRE'sbusiness, its growth is still above average for the market in nearly allmarkets where it operates, Casas pointed out.

Inaddition, Latin America contributed nearly 38% of the company's total premiumsin 2015, over half of which came from Brazil, according to the report.But the new generation of customers prefers digital channels, the executiveadded.

Themarket for online insurance is still small in Latin America, but MAPFRE aimsfor digital sales to account for 2% of its new business in certain marketswithin five years.

Atthe group level, MAPFRE expects 7% of its total billing to come from digitalbusiness in 2020, up from 1% in 2015.

MAPFREhad considered offering digital services in Latin America through its subsidiary,Verti Aseguradora Compañia DeSeguros Y Reaseguros SA, which sells vehicle and home insurancedirectly, but it has postponed that plan until the local markets are moremature, Casas said.

Meanwhile,MAPFRE is working to export Verti's direct insurance model to the U.S. andChina, he added. MAPFRE Chairman and CEO Antonio Huertas in March that Verti will belaunched in the U.S. in 2017.