The original version of this article was published in Pontos De Vista.
WEALINS is a Luxembourg-based life insurance company specializing in developing wealth insurance solutions. With nearly 30 years of experience, it operates in nine European markets. As Country Manager of the company in Portugal, how can you describe your consolidation in the Portuguese market over the years?
As you say, although it is a company with almost 30 years of experience in this type of solutions with a pan European know-how, WEALINS had for several years targeted the Portuguese market but in an indirect way, that is to say, the company marketed the Portuguese product via its international partners. In 2015, the company has decided to have a more active presence in Portugal, working with national partners and has also adapted all its product documentation to have it bilingual (in English and in Portuguese). Thanks to this, we have been able to consolidate our brand in Portugal. We continue having a high demand from foreign clients who move to Portugal, and at the same time we are also increasing our national client base. Our 2021 production reflects this: Portugal is currently in the top 3 of the markets with the highest production at WEALINS.
WEALINS develops wealth insurance solutions, considering the client’s country of residence, family situation, as well as their needs and objectives. Can we say that one – among many factors – that distinguishes these solutions is the fact that they are “tailor-made”?
Correct. We develop what we call “tailor-made solutions” for each client, always considering their specific needs, whether in terms of succession, capital protection or planning for their future and the safety of their family.
WEALINS’ range of solutions aims at structuring, preserving, and transmitting the client’s assets, always in total security, based on their specific expectations and needs.
Part of WEALINS’ DNA, innovation is at the heart of your business strategy. Which transformations and innovations have you been able to apply to increasingly add value to your solutions?
WEALINS and its shareholder Foyer Group, has made innovation one of its strategic axes and aims to become a technological company specializing in the provision of best quality insurance services that meet the expectations of its clients. The company has also decided to implement a new technologically advanced system that enables us to be more efficient and reactive towards our partners.
Last February, we also launched e-Wealins, the new version of our digital platform dedicated to our partners. This platform introduces new features to provide faster and more efficient service. In order to always satisfy our partners, the platform will be in constant development to offer more functionality.
Following the integration of GB Life Luxembourg S.A. in December 2020, we have expanded our offer with ePlatinum , a 100% digital solution that is simple, fast, easy to use and offers an “all-in” pricing, allowing us to serve a more diversified customer base. For now, ePlatinum is only distributed on the Belgian market.
We will have some new products for other markets in the coming’s weeks. And, of course, we always keep analyzing the development of new solutions on all markets where we are present, but I admit that this is an ongoing process at WEALINS.
In times of social and economic change due to the current pandemic, what is the profile of the Portuguese client who takes out this type of insurance? Is it legitimate to say that he has also changed?
I don’t think the profile of the Portuguese client who buys this type of product has changed. I do believe that life insurance, as well as the transmission of assets, have become more conscious issues in global society, and the pandemic has awakened a sense of its importance. Mainly in the transmission of assets, in which people began to worry about safeguarding the well-being of their families in the future and are anticipating it.
WEALINS guarantees that financial instruments comply with the precautionary principle and the long-term nature of life insurance. How does the investment strategy, defined by the insured, work?
Life insurance is a long-term solution, after all, most clients are investing in this type of product for life.
The investment strategy is defined by the policyholder at the time of contracting and executed by the professional asset manager chosen by him to manage his portfolio. However, one of the main advantages of this solution remains its flexibility. For instance, the policyholder can change the investment strategy or even appoint another asset manager throughout the lifetime of the insurance contract.
Many claim that Portugal has a high potential market for investing. In your opinion, what drives this idea?
There are several reasons: the fact that it is one of the safest countries in the world, its quality of life and the economic and social stability that we have been able to maintain in recent years. However, I do believe that we still have many challenges ahead as a country and we could attract more investments.
With all eyes set on Portugal, it has been considered a country of choice to live and bet on. Do you believe that the quality of life that Portugal offers, combined with cosmopolitan cities such as Lisbon and Porto, has been a determining factor for investment in the Portuguese market? Why?
I believe that the fact that Lisbon and Porto are cosmopolitan cities, which are in no way behind any other European city, the safety, the quality of our cuisine, as well as the fact that we are one of the sunniest destinations in Europe have undoubtedly helped a lot. The tax incentives created, such as the non-habitual residents’ regime, have also encouraged those investments.
For those who come to Portugal, stay and reside, how important is having to apply their goods and values and, on the other hand, how WEALINS is providing support to policyholders across national borders?
We live in a global world, where the mobility of people is increasing rapidly, whether for professional, personal or family reasons, which is why the portability of our insurance contract is extremely important.
WEALINS works with an independent network of experts so that our products are always in compliance with the legislation of the client’s country of residence.
When a client already has taken out a WEALINS contract and decides to change his tax residence, our range of services covers the analysis of any necessary changes in the new jurisdiction, so that the contracted product keeps its classification as “life insurance”. For instance, it is fully adapted to the law in force in the new country of residence, without any constraints to do so. Life insurance is a long-term product and that is why we consider that an excellent after-sales service is vital.
With all the challenges resulting from COVID-19, do you consider that life insurance, as an investment product, not only remained stable, but also boosted and grew in the Portuguese market? How can you define the current panorama for us?
Life insurance continues to be a growing market, not only because of the greater demand for this range of solutions across boarder, but because over the years the demand for flexible and savings solutions has increased. Investors intend not only to safeguard their assets, but also to maintain an excellent management of it, as well as to decide on its transfer, and all this always in an efficient fiscal way. Life insurance can offer all these advantages. In addition, the security that this type of product provides, is a differentiating factor and our partners recognize this advantage for their clients.
Which approach and strategy have been applied by WEALINS in promoting the Portuguese market for investment?
Our marketing approach is very specific. Usually with support and advertising in leading magazines, such as the Ponto de Vista Magazine, we are also sponsoring events held by our partners, whether aimed at a more international or national clientele or organizing conferences on legal changes and market tax, which can be digital or in person.
All sectors, in one way or another, are changing. So, what new trends do you believe will dictate the universe of life insurance in the future in Portugal?
First of all, we will have to understand what has changed in the market, verify the impact transmitted by the pandemic and only then will it be possible to understand what will be the new trends for the future. But this is a daily analysis of our type of business, always carried out in collaboration with our partners within the financial, legal or tax fields. Our priority number one is still to maintain an excellent quality of service to our partners and their clients.
What can we expect from WEALINS for the future, in keeping up with these new trends and also in the field of innovation, always maintaining proximity to clients as a pillar?
We are going to continue to innovate, to develop new solutions, to find the right balance between digitalization and human relationships to always meet the needs and expectations of our partners and their clients. I believe that trust and physical presence are still essential in building long-term business relationships and, an excellent quality of our service remains at the heart of our business.
Country Manager Portugal