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Liberty International

Momentum Through Shared Strategies

The Liberty International Strategic Business Unit (SBU) consists of local insurance companies that sell property, casualty, health and life insurance products to individuals and businesses in 18 countries.

Liberty International's 2013 structure is as follows in these four operating regions:

  • Latin America, including Venezuela, Brazil, Colombia, Argentina, Chile and Ecuador
  • Europe, including Spain, Portugal, Turkey, Poland, Ireland, the United Kingdom and Russia
  • Asia, including Thailand, Singapore, China (including Hong Kong) and Vietnam
  • India

Liberty International operates in 18 countries

Liberty Direct (Poland) recently expanded into new distribution channels and product lines

Liberty Videocon serves 70 percent of the Indian insurance market

Momentum for Liberty International is centered on growth — both organically and through acquisition. “This mix is purposeful and significant,” said Liberty International President Luis Bonell. “It's not only about acquisitions; our existing companies have to secure and build their market share.”

While Liberty International's previous years have been dominated by acquisition, the absence of external activity in 2013 allowed stronger internal focus on strategic goals that will make the SBU more valuable to its customers and assist its pursuit of being a leading global player in personal and small commercial lines.

“It has been critical to build cohesiveness and discipline around Liberty International shared strategies, such as applying local knowledge and expertise, sharing best practices globally, and providing a best-in-class experience to our distribution partners, customers and employees, while exhibiting responsibility in every country,” Bonell said.

These actions, carried out according to unique local needs, produced significant momentum in every region. Liberty International's newest entity in India is developing these attributes while growing a business in a complex market. In Ecuador, two newly acquired companies were integrated into one and rebranded as Liberty Seguros in just one year. In Poland, Liberty Direct has consistently grown its direct auto channel and most recently expanded into new distribution channels and product lines.

While these examples are significant, public reminders of Liberty International's successes, there is much occurring behind the scenes. As each country records success with a particular initiative, the data is stored and shared for replication across the globe. “Liberty International operations will not be able to solve every issue locally,” Bonell said. “Local expertise must have the support of shared, global knowledge.”

For example, Liberty Seguros (Spain) is pioneering the use of analytics to enhance its customer-centric service model, which can be reproduced where needed. Liberty Seguros (Brazil) used insights from Liberty Seguros (Colombia) and Personal Insurance in the U.S. to enhance fraud detection accuracy. The achievements and lessons learned become part of the global knowledge base everyone can access.

“We are facing challenging and exciting times that require quick responses and flexibility to adapt and lead the market changes,” Bonell said. “I am quite confident we are positioned to further the evolution and growth of our SBU in 2014.”

Focus on India

During its first year, Liberty's new operation in India made impressive strides to develop a new insurance brand in a culture where mature brands are the most respected.

Liberty Videocon General Insurance Company Limited (LVGICL) launched its operations in January 2013. This Greenfield startup was not burdened by legacy systems or processes, yet its first decisions still had to be the right decisions. To the operation's CEO and Whole Time Director, Roopam Asthana, that meant understanding the relevance of insurance in the Indian consumer's mind, respecting the unique context of Indian culture, and adapting the best practices of Liberty International to suit the local milieu.

“India possesses the key characteristics that make it attractive to Liberty Mutual,” Asthana said. “We boast the world's ninth-largest economy, a growing middle class and increasing urbanization. These factors lead to increased disposable income and asset accretion as well as the expectation of robust auto sales. But we needed to structure and position ourselves correctly to take full advantage of these socioeconomic opportunities.”

As it starts its second year of operation, LVGICL can report impressive results. Today, it has 20 branch offices reaching nearly 70 percent of the Indian insurance market, a centralized processing center in Mumbai and a central contact center staffed to speak some of India's major languages. It also ramped up to more than 400 employees while earning external accolades for its employee onboarding practices and rapid technology deployment, and it developed an appealing new insurance brand in a culture where mature brands are the most respected.

On the business development side, LVGICL created market-friendly personal and commercial products sold through four distinct channels: motor dealers (more than 200 counters), agents and retail brokers (more than 1,000 relationships), affinity (including 25 bancassurance partners) and brokers (150 relationships). It also launched a sophisticated website (www.libertyvideocon.com) that looks as good from the inside as it does from the outside.

“Externally, you see bright colors, clean lines, engaging content and customer feedback from seamlessly integrated social media applications,” Asthana said. “And internally, our team built an easily scalable platform that is ready for the next product introduction or advancement into e-commerce.”

As LVGICL embarks on its second year of operation, it will further develop its own path while adapting and sharing best practices among its peer operations. Essentially, its achievements join, and propel forward, the momentum of Liberty International.

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