For more than 60 years, Seguros Suárez has offered friends, neighbors, and businesses peace of mind with quality insurance products. The company is still run by the Suárez family and has offices in Cuenca, Quito, Guayaquil, Ambato and Puyo.
“My grandfather started this business in Ambato,” said María del Mar Suárez, manager of the Cuenca office. “He sold only life insurance. Now we offer life, home, travel, auto, commercial, major medical – anything someone might need.”
María didn’t plan on being in the family business, and yet her plans changed about five years ago after talking with her father Miguel Suárez and brother Jose Miguel Suárez.
“They told me they needed me because the business must grow,” she laughed. “We were only in Ambato and Quito at that time. I’m a financial engineer by training and was working at SRI in Cuenca. Now I sell insurance, manage the office, handle money, and go to accident sites. I do it all and it’s very interesting work.”
Seguros Suárez serves both Ecuadorian and foreign clients; María and other staff members in the Cuenca office speak English. Currently, they have about 20-25 gringo clients, with the most popular policies being around owning businesses and homes.
“Many gringos come to Ecuador and invest in the country,” she said. “They open a restaurant or buy real estate. We sell a lot of policies to gringos that protect businesses and homes, especially policies around fire and theft.”
According to María, it’s difficult to sell insurance in Ecuador because there’s not a culture of buying insurance or recognizing the need for it. Foreign clients are different, because they often already own insurance policies and appreciate the importance of protecting themselves and their property.
“I spend a lot of time convincing Ecuadorians that insurance is necessary,” she said. “Many people don’t believe that they could die in an accident or that their prayers might not be answered in the way they hope. People work hard to have cars, houses and businesses, and insurance is the best form of protection. Gringos already understand this and don’t hesitate to look for insurance.”
The major earthquake in April 2016 may have shifted that culture of not buying insurance a little bit. More Ecuadorians seem to be asking for house, car or business protection, and they are open to hearing suggestions from María and the rest of the staff at Seguros Suárez.
“We do our best to work with people where they are,” María said. “If you have a family, you need to look at life insurance to keep your family safe if something happens to you. If you are young and single and only have a car, it’s a good idea to consider car insurance. We do not offer policies that we can’t give, or tell people to sign up for certain policies they don’t need, or lie about costs.”
In María’s book, it is that last point about lying that distinguishes Seguros Suárez from many other insurance companies.
“So many companies won’t discuss the costs involved with your insurance,” she said. “They will sell you insurance for your car and say ‘you don’t have to pay anything when you have an accident.’ That’s a lie because there is a cost, a deductible. We are honest about the costs involved and do our best to help clients understand their policies. We help any way we can.”
Some of the ways that Seguros Suárez supports its clients are offering policies from major providers, setting up payment plans, and being on call 24 hours a day.
“We work with national and international providers to give you the best policies on the market,” María said. “We find the strongest companies because, when you have a crisis, you need to know that company will be there for you. We also offer payment options – you can pay on a credit card without interest for 6-12 months or, if you don’t have credit, you can pay cash in installments.”
It only takes about a day to get a policy in place, and, at the moment you have the policy in hand, you are covered, regardless of whether payments have been processed or not. Seguros Suárez offers a range of products that work for both small and large clients, including benefits packages for big businesses.
“To be the owner or manager of a large business and to offer your employees dental assistance or free medicines – this is huge,” María said. “To be able to do that inexpensively with high-quality products creates such a good work environment and sense of well-being for employees.”
As far as 24-hour service goes, María said it is simply a matter of calling them. There is a staff member dedicated to answering calls after hours and on the weekends, and if there happen to be multiple calls at once, she or another member of the staff will come to the scene and guide clients through the process of handling the claim.
Seguros Suárez is registered as a legal company with all permits from Ecuador’s Superintendencia de Bancos y Seguros (SBS). In fact, the company has been rated by SBS as one of the best insurance firms in the country.
“A lot of our business comes from referrals,” María said. “Someone likes us, tells a friend, and then we help that friend. We also go out and look for clients, to places we know or are familiar with, like CEDEI where I used to work. And we put out flyers in places that people visit frequently – restaurants, car washes, and laundries.”
People who are interested in learning more about the insurance products available through Seguros Suárez can call or stop by the office in Cuenca, send an email through the company’s website, or email Maria personally.
“We always answer,” Maria said. “We believe in getting back to people just as quickly as we can.”
Location: Seguros Suárez is located on Cornelio Merchán 4-24 entre Miguel Cordero y Rigoberto de Vintimilla in Sector El Vergel
Hours: Monday – Friday, 8:30 am to 1 pm & 2:30 – 6 pm, with 24-hour phone service
Phone: (07)281 5741 / 098 347 4665 / 099 922 1974
Email: email@example.com (Maria) or firstname.lastname@example.org (general)
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