The recent purchase of the Spanish DEPSA direct line insurance operation is a further sign of the ARAG Group's continued commitment to Spain
ARAG's Spanish subsidiary has declared revenue of almost 100 million euros last financial year from premiums and services. The company offers legal insurance and services for families, drivers, property owners, companies and the self-employed. ARAG SE, the Spanish subsidiary, also offers travel assistance coverage.
The ARAG Group is the largest family-owned company in the insurance sector in Germany. The Group provides legal defence services in Germany through ARAG SE, as well as working in other multi-risk, health and life insurance areas through other subsidiaries. It also has branches in 13 other European countries and the United States, many of which are leaders in their own legal expenses insurance markets. With almost 3,500 employees, the company generated revenue of over 1.5 billion euros from premiums.
What is the importance of the Spanish market to the ARAG Group?
ARAG SE's Spanish branch is the Group's second-largest subsidiary, with a turnover of close to 100 million euros.
The benefits of Spain as a platform for Latin America
A number of international markets are being explored, not only in Latin America. However, if there is an eventual entry into Latin America, ARAG Spain could well be the hub, given that, as a Group, the aim will not be to repeat the German model in the markets in which it has an interest but rather one which adapts to the needs and peculiarities of each country. Obviously there are strong cultural and linguistic links between Spain and Latin America that will greatly facilitate such an adaptation.
Does the recent purchase of the Spanish DEPSA direct line insurance operation represent continuity in the Spanish market? Motivation behind continued investment in Spain
Undoubtedly. For ARAG Spain, this is an operation and an investment of great strategic importance for our business model, as it is based on a mediation channel in which the company has traditionally focused its efforts and will continue to do so. This purchase is a further sign of the ARAG Group's continued commitment to Spain, where it has recently invested in the refurbishment of the building housing the company's head offices and which was opened on 1 April in the presence of Dr Paul-Otto Fassbender, CEO of ARAG SE and Artur Mas, President of the Generalitat Catalonian Government.
The main reason behind the company's continued investment in Spain is that the legal expenses insurance market is little known, unlike in a country like Germany in which it enjoys a higher level of penetration and of which there is greater awareness. We believe that this segment has great potential, more in times in which people are gradually becoming more aware of the importance of knowing and defending their rights.
Present and future projects
The most important recent ARAG Spain project was the purchase of the DEPSA direct line insurance operation. Our aim and strategy is to maintain its position as leaders and as a point of reference in the field of legal expenses insurance in Spain. In the upcoming months we will be focusing our efforts on planning this transfer successfully.
Please give your assessment of the insurance sector in Spain. What is your opinion of the Spanish market and those that work in it?
I feel that the Spanish insurance market is very dynamic, with highly trained and qualified professionals who are well-prepared to tackle the current times. Training is the key to success. In this sector, real efforts are being made. For example, in terms of mediation, it is important that we implement the Strategic Mediation Plan which seeks to help the sector to continue to better position itself and consolidate its role as the main channel for insurance distribution. For our part, in 2013 alone, ARAG dedicated over 85,000 hours to the 2013 Training Programme, benefitting over 3,000 trainees.
Finally, if we compare ourselves with other European countries, the insurance market in Spain has not seen great progress, meaning that there is still a long way to go, especially in areas such as legal expenses insurance in which ARAG is a specialist provider in Spain.