The Red Mediaria insurance brokerage can undoubtedly be considered a success case and study of a business model in the field of insurance mediation.
We wanted to bring you this business experience through its CEO Carlos Carrasco, a key figure in the insurance sector, who generously has opened wide the doors of the brokerage and their own experiences and career.
Carlos, how was the RED MEDIARIA project born?
In 1.999 we were born as an Association with the name of Asfical and years later we decided to change our name and image through the Median Network Broker Association.
At the beginning, we talked about our problems with our daily work, we talked about guarantees and / or exclusions from the market, we talked about new players in the market (call it banking, internet, hotlines, etc.) and we learned from each other by looking for common points of our management. As you can imagine, that time expanded my training. I had almost just joined the Brokerage and talk after talk, meeting after meeting, I learned from the best of the best.
From very early on, as an association, we set ourselves several objectives that we had to address, but as one of the most outstanding we can mention a demanding and continuous training to all the managers and employees of each one of the brokerages, dialogue with the Insurance Companies to identify the needs of both parties, adaptation of our companies to the demands that the market was putting on the table and, of course, the achievement of converging all in a single Insurance Brokerage.
Throughout the years, there were ups and downs within the Association, but the character and the restlessness of it remained intact. Our demands with ourselves were not easy to meet (internal individual goals, all the same computer language, only one way of doing daily work, etc.), and these demands gave us the basis for future projects.
For several years, we were studying the best of the options to merge into a single Insurance Brokerage and at the end of 2013 (after studying other Brokerages that had taken the step we were looking for) a complete project was presented to all associates on which to start to work. Months later, that illusion of a group of friends who met to talk about the market, becomes a reality and Red Mediaria is born as an Insurance Broker.
As CEO, explain to us what is the business model of RED MEDIARIA and its value bet.
Our fundamental business objective is to transform our current administrative model by a purely commercial model. This is achieved with a central administrative team that provides solutions and avoids distracting the view of the really strong points of a Brokerage: the professional and independent advice both in the sale and in the processing of an accident.
From the outset, we centralized our administration departments into a single one located in our headquarters. This administration department is made up of three people and a person in charge of the department and its function is to carry out absolutely all the administration (remittances, settlements, returns, etc.) of Red Mediaria, relieving our teams of a job that provides very little value for these can be customer-centric and become purely commercial offices.
In the products department, we have a technical department that studies existing products on the market, informing all partners and employees of the strengths, weaknesses and points for improvement of the products marketed. With this information, we negotiate with different companies the release of exclusive products to the market, products that have future viability and that in turn resolve certain common exclusions in the market.
In addition, at the beginning of 2018 our technical products department will see the light, which will study together with the technical managers of the Companies, the products that we will commercialize both in Civil Liability, SMEs, D&O, Transport, All Risk Construction, Decennial, etc.
Since the middle of this year, our common claims department is a reality, a department made up of four processors and a department manager. Through this department, you take control of all the losses of the Media Network, using to the maximum the possibilities that ebroker puts at our disposal to make a thorough follow-up of each file and the use of automatic tasks to keep the client informed at all times through SMS messages, letters, emails, etc.
We have a training department, which receives all the demands of each office and periodically summons us to specialized courses.
We have a marketing department that develops all the campaigns that the offices will work on (planning, development, strategy, monitoring and measurement of results).
We currently have in the market a website specialized in a Classic Vehicle product, which is having a very great acceptance, and before the end of the year, another page dedicated exclusively to Works of Art will come to light. We consider that, in addition to having a general website of what the Media Network is, the client needs to identify with the specific product they are looking for and we must keep them away from other distractions, so we follow the strategy of making exclusive websites dedicated to the product they are looking for the client.
Why a brokerage should be integrated into the media network?
Because we know what we do, because we have suffered the same as them, because we know their concerns and their daily problems. Because together we have more strength. If all the above try to do alone, they may fall into the daily routine and leave it parked without achieving the objectives set.
Red Mediaria gives them solutions, guides them and supports them to change their business model.
From a personal point of view, why did you decide to take the step at that moment?
There are several factors that have made us take this step, but we can highlight some of the points on which we base our project:
a) Rivalry of competitors. We consider that the current rivalry between competitors is very high and especially when, the price competition that we have suffered and continue to suffer makes the continuity of a company based solely and exclusively on this, is extremely unstable, reduces its income, increases its expenses and how consequently your profitability will suffer.
b) Threat of new competitors. In the insurance market, the entry of new competitors has become a permanent threat, since year after year new operators are joining the market, such as foreign insurance companies or financial entities that have found in insurance a new way of doing business. get additional income. In addition, other competitors such as:
- Positioning of large brokers in provinces that were previously outside their field of action.
- Fusion of other associations in brokerages, franchising their model nationwide.
- Purchase by large national brokerages of small local brokerages.
- And special mention deserves the new phenomenon of competitors such as Comparators, Internet on-line insurance platforms; and direct selling companies without intermediaries, with impressive hype.
In the face of these threats, you have two options, or you are looking at how, little by little, they are doing with the market, or you position yourself at a higher level to compete face to face with them.
c) Bargaining power of customers. The client (with great success) is increasingly informed in relation to insurance and therefore has greater negotiating power of his contract, both in guarantees and, of course, in price. This, together with the two previous points, makes you have to differentiate yourself even more within the insurance sector.
Therefore, it is decided to change our work system, going from being administrative offices full of assumed burdens, to transforming ourselves into purely commercial offices, combining professional advice with the offering of products that complete the needs of our clients.
The sector of mediation
Your responsibility in Red Mediaria allows you to have a position of privileged observer of the sector. What major challenges do you think the insurance broker faces in the near future?
Primarily stagnation and lack of adaptation. There are many colleagues in the sector with whom I have the opportunity to chat and change points of view, and repeatedly it surprises me that brokerages with small portfolios are not clear that the sector has changed, that customer loyalty is no longer such and that the new players in the market are here to stay.
Professionalization. I am not talking about complex products or specific market niches, but about "everyday" products such as automobiles. We cannot insult the intelligence of customers. Like any of us, the vast majority of clients seek advice, place their trust in a professional who has explained the differences in the market to them, who is by their side when they really need to solve a problem, no matter how small. This requires study, study and more study, because companies change and products also and what we thought we knew varies.
How will the Red Mediaria insurance brokerage face these challenges?
For many years we had already foreseen this and for that reason, We base our brokerage on innovation, change and professionalization.
A few days ago, I began a course on our management system that I taught to our employees: "As Albert Einstein said, MADNESS is doing the same thing over and over again hoping to obtain different results".
As I said before, we have changed the work model of our offices, going from administrative offices to commercial offices. To do this, you must be clear about what you need: invest in training, and not training on a specific product, but global and continuous training (not only training must be done because it is required by law) that allows you to change attitudes and skills of your team in proactive attitudes and skills.
Without forgetting our origins, we have made a change in our business model. We are adapting to new ways of selling, such as online sales.
Having a good management system provider is a key element to achieve your goals. At this point, we are in constant contact with ebroker to achieve administrative and commercial excellence.
We are clear about our path and the steps we must take in the next 5 years to achieve our goals.
How is the Media Network preparing for the imminent entry into force of the new IDD?
For some time now, Red Mediaria has been studying the different drafts of the new Law that have been emerging and has been informing all its members of the news that this has. There are many fields that we have to face and give a solution, but to mention some of the most relevant, we would highlight the advice that the new Law indicates that we must do to our clients, with a prior study of the needs of our customers, a comparison of the product you are requesting, an advice on why the one we present to you best fits your person, etc. This is something that we have already been doing, but this time, it must be done in writing. From Red Mediaria, we have been working in this direction for some time now, collecting, through our technical department, differences, exclusions, differentiating guarantees of the different Companies, etc.
In addition, one of the points that we tackle thanks to ebroker is digitalization. From the entry into force of the new IDD will be key to use with the utmost diligence the digitization tools since it requires to keep in a durable format all the documentation of the policy during 6 years once it has expired or canceled. Without a good IT provider, the cost will be very high or not feasible.
Carrasco Insurance Broker
Carlos reconciles his responsibility as CEO of Red Mediaria with the management of the Carrasco Brokerage. An activity that, as in the case of the vineyards, has a great family tradition, dating back to 1989, when his grandfather Cayo and his father José Antonio, who had been a Mapfre delegate in Aranda de Duero and the region, set up the brokerage with the desire to be able to offer its clients other alternatives and solutions.
In 1999, recently graduated in law, Carlos Carrasco joins the brokerage. He currently leads a team with extensive experience and very well defined profiles for each of the departments, which are supported with specific training and a clear commercial orientation.
"My team is different in its professionalism, they live the brokerage house as if it were theirs, they worry about the good progress of the company and they adapt to the changes without needing to insist".
By tradition, Carrasco Correduría has been founded on automobile, home, SME and agricultural insurance, although, for some years now, the company's management has sought to position itself very clearly as a specialist in Civil Liability insurance for companies, self-employed and individuals. "It is a product that we are passionate about and the more you know, the more you want to delve into and master."
This specialization is born from the need to direct the company towards a field that not many dominate, and that in the opinion of Carlos Carrasco should not be sold through a website.
«The mediator must be able to know his client perfectly (personal, financial, patrimonial situation, etc.) in order to advise him, direct the path of his steps in the hiring of an insurance that protects what has cost so much sacrifice It may cost you. And this is not achieved with a questionnaire on the Internet ».
You come from a family of winemakers of great tradition. What does the wine culture represent for you and what has brought you as an entrepreneur?
It is life itself. Every year, you see the birth, growth, reproduction and "dying" of the vineyard. They are like your children to whom you must take care, pamper and protect.
Wine teaches you to strive, to work as a team, to work with a living being, it is a continuous sacrifice, a hard work that, well done, rewards you with the best that each vine can give: its fruits.
Our winery, Abadía de Acón, has given me the opportunity to discover new realities outside the insurance walls, to know new cultures since 65% of our production is sold abroad, new ways of thinking, working, living .
The best thing about the world of wine are the personal relationships you make, either through the importers, or around a table enjoying a good glass of wine in the company of good people.
They are two very different worlds, wine and insurance. In one, you offer customers something tangible, something they can put into use at the moment of buying it, something they can talk about without great knowledge and without technical words. In the other, you need the right knowledge to be able to transmit to your clients that it is something necessary to cover their needs in a possible future damage.
Both are exciting and demanding at the same time.
Diversifying your business allows you to open your mind, not be so focused on one that you do not know very well if there is life outside of it. In addition, the change of a mental activity such as insurance, to a physical activity such as the cellar, allows you to rest physically and mentally. In fact, I always recommend to my colleagues of profession (insurance) that if they have the chance to do the harvest. For me they are part of my vacation and I enjoy them as much as possible.
How do you reconcile both worlds?
As you can imagine, these are two totally different worlds. In one you seek the tranquility of your clients, protect their assets, advise according to their needs and seek the best solutions that exist in the market. In the other, you seek to make them discover the pleasure of a product, the satisfaction in the same moment in which they enjoy your wine. But in both cases two things come together: teaching and contact with people.
Teaching because you try to transmit your knowledge for a better understanding of the product that you are putting at their fingertips. Contact with people, because the most wonderful thing in the world is communication with other people, other cultures, other ideas and to show them that what really matters behind a product are the people and the confidence in what they offer you It is the best.
A fundamental element to be able to devote enough time to both passions is the human team that I have in both businesses, since, as is logical, being dedicated to one of them makes you not to be 100% in the other, and you have to be completely sure that both, you leave them in the best hands.
However the main element is the family. I have the company and advice of my father, the support of my mother when I need a smile, my two brothers who fight for our common passion that are our wines and my wife and my children who support me and encourage me to continue fighting, rewarding me with a smile when I get home.
To combine both worlds (family and work) is hard and difficult and you have to make an effort so that the balance is in a continuous balance.
I have a wonderful family, a woman who understands me, supports me and helps me, 3 wonderful children (Daniel, Carmen María and Lucía del Mar), 2 works that I love (insurance and wine), a new project that excites me with some partners that I do not deserve from how good they are (professionally and personally), I have health and some friends that never fail. Without a doubt, I am happy.
Media Network and Technology
What role does technology play in RED MEDIARIA's business strategy?
Fundamental. It is one of the biggest concerns when you want to make the leap to a large brokerage. Concurring the different forms of work into one, different forms of information in one, different forms of administration in one and different forms of marketing in one, is not an easy task.
If you do not go hand in hand with a great technological team, your worries will come true.
As a basic principle of our Brokerage, it is consolidating the steps that we are taking so as not to have to go back and this entails sacrifice and time. As a result of this consolidation, and of the management system, in our offices administrative tasks have been reduced to the maximum, the offers that we pass on to our clients are better managed, with an automatic and rigorous monitoring of them and the information received by the companies insurance, is being unified thanks to the EIAC language and the adaptation to it of ebroker making it simpler and faster.
Why the insurance brokerage RED MEDIARIA decided to implement ebroker as a technological solution? What were the determining factors when choosing this solution compared to other market options?
One of the decisions we adopted years ago in the Association is to speak the same computer language. This decision led us to place ourselves in the hands of a management systems advisory company and we entrusted the task of identifying 4 management system providers, which program best suited our needs. The result was ebroker.
Undoubtedly, the success in the choice would not have been such if ebroker had not opened the doors to us to advance in our future business model, but its managers understood that they should take the step to a solution to adapt to a reality, the merger of brokerages and / or their administration. As a result of this joint path and the effort of its technicians, we can say today that this adaptation is already a reality with multi-company ebroker.
This system allows us to work in a single program with several different brokerages at the same time that allows us to manage other portfolios without having to search for patches to solve different scenarios.
To what extent do you think that ebroker can contribute to the development of the different brokerages integrated in RED MEDIARIA?
It is essential that the brokerages that want to join Red Mediaria use our management system. What we do from Red Mediaria is to show you that through ebroker and our management system for each of the departments of your brokerage, the change of your business model from administration to commercial is done with well-defined and weighted criteria.
With ebroker you will find an easy, complete and adapted system to the new realities and needs.
Do you know the different capabilities and functionalities that ebroker is incorporating: BI, EIAC, connectivity, management of marketing campaigns ...?
Of course. Thanks to that continuous communication that ebroker makes to its customers, we are informed at all times of the improvements and innovations that are implemented in his / our program. As a management system, ebroker not only focuses on providing a solution to the administration departments, but also encompasses the entire future of an insurance brokerage, from the management of the same to the commercialization of the products sold by the brokerage.
What would you ask ebroker in the short term?
Not only would I ask ebroker, but all insurance companies. The adaptation to a single language (EIAC) is the future in the unification of the data. These processes make us more agile and therefore more effective. And I do not only talk about administration processes, but also about claims processes, because we do not forget that the basic principle of every Brokerage is personalized and professional attention at the time of the loss of our customers.