Dear reader,

We started the last period of 2012 still immersed in a complicated economic situation, which will most likely condition the growth of the insurance sector in the coming months. At an international level, especially in the eurozone, the results of investments will continue to be affected by low interest rates and, in addition, the avalanche of regulatory changes, with the Insurance Contract Law and the new IMD2 Mediation directive as protagonists, will mean a major challenge for insurers in the remainder of the year.

In Spain, the recessive context is causing the situation not to be too encouraging and the sector has to face a lower demand for insurance. This 2012 financial year has been difficult for Life insurance in our country, especially due to the delicate panorama that the banking sector is going through, as a result of the transformation that bancassurance agreements have undergone, in parallel with the reorganization of the financial system. On the other hand, in Non-Life, the evolution is conditioned, on the one hand, by the weak economic situation, with a high level of unemployment, a considerable decrease in family income and less business activity, and on the other, by the strong price competition and low financial profitability.

Despite all these difficulties, the Spanish insurance sector continues to show signs of strength and presents adequate levels of solvency and margins in its income statements, which makes us optimistic about a future that involves facing new challenges. Among them, the need to bet on innovation and the application of new technologies in improving the quality of service and customer service stands out. Currently, practically all insurers agree on the importance of orienting their companies much more towards the client and investing in getting to know them deeply through Customer Strategy projects. And for this, the marketing model, in most insurers, still unsophisticated and of little value, is vital.

I also encourage you to visit our Breakfast section, where, guided by Professor Javier Fuentes Merino and his book “The performance and effectiveness of the sales force: an empirical study” you will be able to learn about the keys to getting sales teams to sales increase their performance, with real implications for management.

And as an example of survival in the midst of a crisis and good management, both at a client and commercial level, we highlight the Zurich Spain Group in our La Ducha section, with an interview in which Julián López Zaballos, CEO of the group, reviews the solid situation and objectives of its group, with special emphasis on the effort that the insurer is making in its commitment to traditional mediation as a fundamental lever in the strategic development of its business.

To finish, I suggest you attend the Insurance Solidarity Awards, which once again will be a reflection of the social commitment of the sector, making clear the backing and support for those who have the least, those who need the most, in an attempt to alleviate inequalities and needs of the most disadvantaged in our society.

I hope that the new issue of our newsletter will inspire you in your business strategy to set out the new challenges that await us in the coming months.