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223. Where cooperation, insurance and football combine

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Coop Name: P&V Group N° of Employees: 1700
City: Brussels
Country: Belgium Year of formation: 1907
About this coop:

The P & V Group is a cooperative insurance group that was founded in 1907 with the aim of offering as many people as possible fair protection. Over the years, the group has grown steadily. Each brand and distribution channel which forms part of the P & V Group has their own identity. However, they all share the basic idea, which has since 1907 remained intact: solidarity with the insured and society.

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Photo Credits: Pablo de Medina, downloaded from flickr

There are many measures of success. In Latin America, owning one’s own football team has to be one of them  especially when that football team wins the national league. By this measure, La Equidad Seguros is a success, just as it is by a number of others. With assets of $US135 million, it is one of the largest insurers in Colombia. And it has become so by providing insurance products custom designed for Colombia’s most needy.

La Equidad was born of a 1968 study group led by two men who, at different times, led the global, co-operative insurance body, ICMIF. Yet La Equidad wasn’’t actually established until 1970, thanks to the work done by the then head of one of the world’s largest co-operative insurers, Raymond Lemaire of P&V, together with Klas Bach, who went on to become chief executive of giant Swedish co-operative insurer, Folksam.

One of La Equidad’s greatest successes was a microinsurance product whose development was initially funded by USAID.

Research had shown that many Colombians were interested in being insured, but no products existed that catered to their needs.

La Equidad responded by developing two products which were highly successful. After more than four decades in business, La Equidad is now owned by more than 1.5 million Colombians.

This story is an IYC Yearbook feature: http://ica.coop/en/iycbook

Author of this story
Kate Askew
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