MetLife sees cooperation opportunities with Brazilian banks

Monday, April 13, 2015

US insurance giant MetLife could seek ways of growing its business in Brazil's through partnerships with some of the biggest banks, according to a senior MetLife executive.

The Brazilian insurance market – Latin America's largest – is dominated by Banco do Brasil, Bradesco and Itaú Unibanco, which are the biggest players in both the country's banking and insurance markets, taking full advantage of the bancassurance model, in which banking clients are offered insurance products.

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But in the coming years, these large banks are likely to partner with insurers and move away from certain insurance operations deemed not to be core business, Oscar Schmidt, MetLife's CEO for Latin America, told BNamericas.

The need for more consultative sales, additional capital, specialized marketing and a wider range of products are all factors that could prompt some large banks to seek partners in specific insurance segments, said Schmidt, adding that MetLife views this as an attractive "space" it can fill.

More consultative sales and product diversification will become increasingly necessary as Brazil's emerging middle class demands a greater variety of more sophisticated insurance products, according to Schmidt.

Schmidt added that Brazil is a very important market that requires a long-term view. "Brazil is a place where you have to be, but you don't want to rush it."

MetLife is one of the largest insurance players in Latin America, where it has a presence in Argentina, Brazil, Chile, Colombia, Ecuador, Mexico and Uruguay.