This article is part of our special edition “An Inside View Of MAPFRE – From Massachusetts to Madrid”
The year 2019 is a strategic and important one for the global insurer that is MAPFRE. Every three years the company presents a new Triennial Strategic Plan, outlining the major goals and objectives the company hopes to achieve within each of the major markets in which it operates.
In conjunction with the strategic importance of this year’s initiative, the Spanish-based insurer invited eight journalists from eight different countries, to attend the presentation of its 2019 Shareholders meeting in Madrid.
As a publication focused on the Massachusetts insurance industry, which happens to be MAPFRE’s largest marketplace within the U.S., Agency Checklists was invited to attend the meeting in Madrid as part of a three-day tour to learn more about the company and its mission.
The “alma” or soul of the company
One of the most interesting aspects of MAPFRE is the role that Fundación MAPFRE plays concerning the insurer MAPFRE. Created in 1975, the Fundación MAPFRE is the insurer’s non-profit institution created with the aim of “…improving people’s well-being and social progress” via its multi-national programs and activities.
The importance of Fundación MAPFRE to the insurer cannot be understated in that it is actually the major shareholder of Grupo MAPFRE with more than a sixty percent (60%) stake in the company: in a way, the insurer answers to Fundación MAPFRE. While Fundación MAPFRE does not have as large a presence in the U.S. as it does in some of the other markets in which MAPFRE operates, most notably Spain, the influence of Fundacion MAPFRE and its spirit of service pervades the company.
“The Foundation is the soul of MAPFRE, it’s the spiritual part of our organization – Antonio Núñez, former MAPFRE Vice Chairman”
Antonio Núñez, the former Vice Chairman of MAPFRE who retired earlier this year, summed it up well in a 2018 interview he gave to MAPFRE’s internal magazine The World of MAPFRE, for its 100th anniversary edition.
“The Foundation is the soul of MAPFRE, it’s the spiritual part of our organization. It’s a source of pride for all of us who work at MAPFRE having an institution of its category and solvency…” he said, adding that, “On arriving at the Foundation, I was finally able to properly comprehend that mantra I had probably heard a thousand times since I joined the company: ‘MAPFRE must give back to society part of the profits from its business management.’”
Long before Lemonade, there was Fundación MAPFRE
While newer insurtechs, like Lemonade, wax poetic about their “charitable chops” that involve returning a certain percentage of each premium dollar collected is given back, Fundación MAPFRE arguably has been quietly doing something similar for more than four decades.
“Transparency,” another keyword used by insurtechs, is also something that Fundación MAPFRE has been adhering to for many years. Consistent with this guiding principle of openness, the entire operations of the Fundación from its governing bodies to its operational budgets are available to review on its website.
And while there is a rigorous separation between the aims and objectives of each institution, it is hard not to notice how the spirit of Fundación MAPFRE’s mission exerts its influences and a sense of pride among those who work at both organizations.
So what does Fundación MAPFRE do?
As an internationally recognized non-profit institution, the Fundación has focused its effort on five “pillars” or areas of interest in which it works: Social Action, Culture, Health Promotion, Prevention and Road Safety, and Insurance and Social Protection.
Within this ambit, the Foundation organizes events and activities in the approximately 30 different countries where it has a presence. While less known in the United States, the Foundation has begun increasing its profile, particularly in Massachusetts, by actively organizing volunteer events and partnerships related to its mission throughout the Commonwealth.
More specifically, according to data provided by the foundation, during 2017, the Fundación worked with more than 480 volunteers in the U.S. via its “Volunteer Program,” which focuses on health and nutritional awareness. As a result of that effort, the Foundation says it was able to touch the lives of more than 2,600 children.
Another example is the Fundación’s collaboration with Boston Children’s Hospital to implement a prevention and road safety program for children in the Greater Boston Area. So far, approximately 5,578 children have participated in this program.
According to Alfredo Castelo, the CEO of North America Regional Area, this spirit is something that is starting to spread into the U.S. operations as well. “We have shown a 50% growth in the number of activities,” said Mr. Castelo with respect to those carried out in the U.S. “Last year, we held more than 117 volunteering activities and based on our numbers, these are round numbers, almost half million people got some benefits out of these volunteering activities.” He notes that this has been an important addition to incorporate and educate MAPFRE’s U.S. employees on the Foundation’s mission.
“This is something that has been very well-received by the employees. Of course, we are an insurance company, we are a listed group, we have to deliver results, but it’s not only that…” he explains, emphasizing, “We are MAPFRE, because MAPFRE goes beyond insurance. And one of the examples is the commitment we have with society and the role Fundación MAPFRE is playing worldwide. We have seen lot of new activities with Fundación MAPFRE, not only in Massachusetts, but also in Ohio, in California, in different states.”
The Jewel of the Collection – A Museum in the heart of Madrid
Located in the “Museum Mile” of Madrid is the crowning glory of the Fundación MAPFRE’s dedication to the promotion of art and culture—the Fundación MAPFRE Museum. The museum, now housed in the former headquarters of the insurer, offers three floors dedicated to art. The first and bottom floors (In Spain, they count the first floor as our second floor) house a permanent collection of the Spanish artist Joan Miro’s most personal pieces donated by family members of the artist. The second and third-floors feature has an exhibition hall that hosts a variety of temporary exhibits throughout the year.
During our trip to the museum, we were able to view the exhibit “De Chagall A Malevich: El Arte en Revolucion” or “Art in the Revolution.” These pieces of art exhibit the works of leading Bolshevik artists, both male and female, who radically changed meaning of art in post-revolutionary Russia by focusing on the reality of life during the great political and social changes happening during that period.
For those who are interested in having a look at what the Fundación MAPFRE Museum is like, as well as some of the art now being exhibiting there, take the virtual tour by clicking on the photo below:
Promoting innovation through grants, prizes, and publications
In addition to organizing a variety of charitable endeavors, the Fundación is also involved in the area of research grants, awards, and publications on a variety of topics related to the “Five Pillars” in which the foundation focuses its work.
For example, the non-profit organization publishes 130 publications each year in a variety of formats and languages, including Spanish, English, and Portuguese-Brazilian. It is noteworthy to mention that while a majority of their publications on art and culture need to be purchased, most of their publications involving topics on insurance can be downloaded directly from the website here. One that might be of interest to our readers is the 2019 Outlook Report which is available to download from our site here:
As we mentioned above, while many insurance professionals work with MAPFRE in Massachusetts on a daily basis, you might not have an idea of the scale of the company outside of the U.S. and its long-time dedication to many social causes. With that said, for those interested in learning more about the Innovation Awards and research grants that Fundación MAPFRE, a great place to start is here on the website which is available in English by selecting the language tab at the top.
MAPFRE’s Museum of Insurance
A Museum of Insurance, you say? Why yes. In another interesting tidbit from our trip to Madrid, we learned that the Fundación MAPFRE also maintains a Museum of Insurance. Housing a collection of more than 600 pieces, this free museum is dedicated to telling the story of the history of insurance. Displaying various works, the Museum takes the visitor on a journey through the history of humanity via “…various milestones in the insurance world, such as the birth of the insurance policy, the first maritime insurance policies and the creation of fire insurance.”
Among some of the interesting treasures housed here include the registry of the sinking of the Titanic, fire insurance plaques from all over the world, as well as old insurance ordinances, antique insurance policies, advertising boards, posters, and leaflets.
And most interesting of all is that the Fundación has provided an interactive virtual visit to the museum for those who can’t make it to Madrid. Feel free to take a tour by clicking the photo below…