“Flexibility is one of our main assets”

Letícia Soares is Country Manager Portugal at WEALINS, a company that develops tailor-made life insurance and capitalisation solutions designed for international wealthy clients looking for structuring, preservation and transmission of their heritage with absolute security and within a favourable tax environment. In 2020, the Luxembourg based company belonging to Foyer Group registered a growth of almost 70 per cent and Letícia Soares believes that the pandemic could explain this result.

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“Don’t look for exclusive solutions, we create them all for you” is one of your slogans. Each solution presented is indeed designed specifically for each client? How do you develop it?

Yes. We develop “tailor-made” solutions for each client, always structured and considering their specific needs, whether at the level of succession, capital or planning their family’s future and safety. We have a wide range of solutions, in the areas of structuring and capital protection. Solutions are designed based on clients’ expectations and needs, always assuring total security. Flexibility is one of our main assets.

WEALINS has almost 30 years of experience in wealth insurance. The company is belonging to Foyer Group, the largest Luxembourg private financial group. As country manager for Portugal, how do you position Portugal in regard to business opportunities?

Portugal is undoubtedly a mature market for these solutions. Our partners recognise the benefits for their clients and, given the legislative framework and the latest crises that Portugal has been experiencing, the security that our solutions are offering is a differentiating factor that led to new business opportunities for WEALINS. Despite the notorious maturation, I believe that Portugal continues to be a growing market, not only due to the increasing demand for this range of solutions but also because of the growing number of foreign people who decide to live in Portugal.

Being active in 10 different markets, how important is the portability of your life insurance contracts?

The portability of our insurance contract is extremely important. We live in a global world, where people mobility is naturally increasing, and we at WEALINS are able to provide support to policyholders throughout their personal and professional development and across national borders. That is why, we are working in collaboration with an independent network of specialists so that our products are always in compliance with the legal and fiscal frameworks of the client’s country of residence. If a client has already taken out a WEALINS contract and decides to change his country of residence, our range of services covers exactly the analysis of any necessary changes related to the new jurisdiction, so that the contracted product keeps its definition, as a life insurance product. Life insurance is a long-term product; therefore, we consider that a great after-sales service is very important.

How do you characterise the option of WEALINS to work directly with financial institutions – your direct partners – and let them present to the final client all the life insurance solutions that WEALINS could offer?

WEALINS has developed an exclusive partnership approach, which brings together asset management and wealth structuring professionals. We favour a B2B2C model and we are willing to offer the best possible solution, while respecting the exclusive and privileged relationship between the client and the partner in question. We have a long-term orientation: thus, by providing an excellent service to our partners, we strengthen their relationship with their clients.

So, the main challenge for WEALINS is always to develop the best solution to the client, through a synergy between WEALINS and your institutional partners?

WEALINS has many challenges, but the great one is, together with our partner, to be able to design the best solution for the client, based on his specific needs and expectations. We also must not forget that the life insurance contract should be in accordance with the legal framework of the country of residence of the client.

With the pandemic, large companies had to keep in operation, but without any breach of the security measures in place. How did WEALINS handle this?

Being owned by Foyer Group and thanks to its stable shareholder structure and financial strength, WEALINS has managed to adapt easily and react with agility to changes in the sector and in the world. In just a few weeks, the 800 or so employees were working from home. The primary concern was to guarantee the well-being of its employees, as well as to develop all necessary measures to maintain not only our operational excellence, but also the communications security. The insurance industry deals with sensitive and confidential data, so WEALINS is using the most accurate tools to ensure that security.
In the end, we believe that we successfully overcome this challenge, with a stronger spirit. WEALINS has seen, in 2020, an increase of almost 70% compared to 2019 with €1.7 billion of collected premiums, which means that, despite the pandemic and the associated crisis, WEALINS was able to rely on the loyalty and trust of its partners and our expertise has also made the difference.

Considering the changes in the society way of living and in the business world, how will WEALINS respond? Is it necessary to create new solutions to this new world?

For WEALINS, what matters the most, in the first place, is to understand the changes that occurred in the market, such as the impact caused by the pandemic as well as the new tendencies that are emerging. Our priority remains: to maintain an excellent service for both our partners and their clients. We are, at this point, already analysing the new needs, market by market, but I must admit that this is an ongoing work at WEALINS.

In times like these, with a pandemic crisis and a greater risk for health, how did people react to the need of having a life insurance contract? Were they more willing to do so?

I think so, and the growth of WEALINS in this past year attests that. Life insurance, as well as the asset managing, have become more important themes in the global society, precisely because of the pandemic crisis. In what regards to assets transmission, people started to worry about safeguarding their family members. I think this pandemic crisis made us think more about tomorrow and in the times to come – a long term view – and people are anticipating and are started to plan their succession sooner.

Considering the existing relations between Portugal and Luxembourg, how would you characterise the Portuguese market, by comparing it with the Luxembourg market?

They are distinct markets. I believe that the Portuguese market has evolved a lot in recent years. In my opinion Portugal has managed to adapt to the world, without losing its “soul” and all the characteristics that make us one of the best destinations in the world to live or visit and, by this, it has managed to attract investment. However, it will be necessary to do more in the future, mostly regarding professional opportunities. In this case, I believe Luxembourg is in a better position.

What will be the next challenges, in the insurance market?

We will continue to innovate and to develop new solutions. Innovation is at the heart of our development strategy. To provide an excellent and innovative service to our partners, we at WEALINS favours a tailor-made and customer-centric approach. One of our main challenge is to find the right balance between digital processes and human relation because our expertise – that we share with our partners and their clients – remains at the heart of our business. Indeed, I believe trust and physical presence are still important to build a long-term relationship with our partners.

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