Former financial services and insurance industry executives launched Apoyo Seguro, a new provider of low cost insurance solutions for the Hispanic market, where millions of families are under-insured or uninsured. Apoyo Seguro will offer accident, supplemental health, critical illness, dental, funeral expense and simplified life products for all Hispanics including the more than 16 million uninsured Latinos and the millions more who will enter the market as a result of immigration reform and the Affordable Care Act (ACA).
As Congress debates immigration reform and the Obama administration implements the Affordable Care Act, potentially five million Latinos will be left without any form of insurance coverage. In a recent survey by the Robert Wood Foundation, 69 percent of Latinos believe the ACA is confusing which may be an indication that many will remain uninsured by opting out of local exchanges. The same research concluded that 45 percent of Latinos have not had permanent and regular access to health insurance.
Alberto Vilar Jr. is founder and CEO of Apoyo Seguro, an end-to-end marketing and distribution solutions partner of choice for insurance companies addressing mass-market Hispanic consumer needs. Most recently, Vilar was SVP in charge of MetLife’s Global Expat business. Since early 2010, Vilar was part of MetLife’s team responsible for integrating ALICO to MetLife’s International operations. He has more than 20 years of international experience working with MetLife and other major financial services and insurance companies.
EXTRA: Why did you start Apoyo Saguro?
Alberto Vilar: I started because I found an immediate need to serve the Hispanic community. I lived in Mexico for many years. I found out that there is a certain segment of the population who has a lot of needs with nobody to serve them. I need to build a solution that serves the Hispanic community. They need to be informed, they need to be aware, educated and helped to assess their needs. They can only do that if someone speaks to them in Spanish.
What type of insurance do you bring?
We bring both accidental medical, and critical and supplemental health insurance. This is not a replacement for health insurance.
How much does it cost?
You can get it for under $100 for a family of four. It is paid directly to the insured. The personal accident has a scheduled payment and anything accident-related, covers 80-90 percent of that expense. Everything else is 100 percent. We can assist in Spanish. Life insurance is the only one that requires residency. It will give them supplemental coverage. After 2014, you have to pay a penalty if you are not insured. We pay the insured the funds and not the hospital and that’s why we are supplemental.
How is the Affordable Care Act going to affect Latino patients?
I think the same way as the general population. Each state will have an exchange based on household income; they will have access to subsidies for the government. The fact that you have an immigration reform may open the door to many.
What has your experience been like with MetLife’s operations?
I think MetLife is the best insurance company. I worked with them for six years. I looked at the market and that’s why last year I partnered with them to do the fact checking to see how vital the opportunity is. We are bringing major carriers into the Hispanic community.
With a new campaign and tagline “La Cara de la Tranquilidad,” (The Face of Calmness) Apoyo Seguro will go live, launching online and on-air initiatives, as well as a bilingual call center staffed by licensed agents to help consumers from across the country select the best coverage for their needs. For more information, visit www.apoyoseguro.com.
This post is also available in: Spanish
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