For more than 30 years, Fundación MAPFRE has been working intensively to disseminate, divulge and educate different groups about financial and insurance knowledge, particularly focusing on young people. The aim of this work is to ensure that citizens are better prepared and trained so that they will be able to make good financial decisions in the future.
TEXT: RAMÓN OLIVER IMAGES: ISTOCK
“Inflation”, “premium”, “risk diversification” If you do not understand any of these terms, you are no different from approximately 50% of Spaniards who, according to data from the Bank of Spain and the National Securities Market Commission (Comisión Nacional del Mercado de Valores or CNMV) are not financially literate.
Financial Education is, historically, one of the great outstanding issues in our country. A more serious hindrance than one might think, since it affects people’s security and their future. Because only an informed public, with at least a basic understanding of the increasingly complex mechanisms governing financial products and services, can make informed decisions about how to manage their money and take care of their future.
Various bodies are working to overcome this knowledge gap which, for various reasons, continues to afflict Spanish society. This is also true in the field of insurance, where Fundación MAPFRE works extremely hard to improve the social perception of insurance through knowledge of the insurance culture, its principles and foundations. As Fundación MAPFRE points out, “For the citizens of any country, it is very important to possess a certain amount of information on insurance, as this is the best guarantee of covering oneself against the risks of modern society.”
Despite the fact that it has existed for many years and that it is very difficult to find even one person who does not have insurance coverage of some kind, this financial product is largely unknown to a significant majority of the public. A proper understanding of the functioning, benefits, capabilities and limitations of insurance, as well as of the basic terms used to articulate this –understanding of the terms “policy”, “premium”, “claim”; knowing who is the “policyholder” and who is the “beneficiary”, what the “coverage and guarantee” of each type of insurance is, and so on– is a key factor in providing security and reducing the levels of uncertainty in people’s lives. For this reason, it is very important to start this financial and insurance education from an early age.
Fundación MAPFRE carries out a great deal of financial and insurance education through different activities, both in Spain and Latin America. “Our program can be divided into two main blocks: one is educational, aimed at students; and the other is informative, targeting society in general. We develop content and resources adapted to each type of audience and to the medium through which we make them available. For example, we have classroom and online courses, we produce publications that can be consulted free of charge in our Documentation Center, and we present reports at conferences that are mainly virtual at the moment, but which we hope to be able to offer in person soon”, summarizes Adrián Gutiérrez de la Dehesa, head of Foundation Activity at Fundación MAPFRE.
The target audience for these programs is very broad. “We have resources that are aimed at society in general, but the educational program is mainly focused on vocational training students, both in Spain and in other countries such as Mexico and Brazil, as well as university students. Meanwhile, the digital resources for the general public target an audience between the ages of 25 and 55”, comments Gutiérrez de la Dehesa.
Insurance and pensions for all
Fundación MAPFRE’s key commitment to insurance education is Insurance and Pensions for All, a website that brings together numerous programs, materials and resources that provide information and guidance related to the world of insurance. Since its launch in 2012, the website has received more than three million visits.
Through attractive and diverse formats such as articles, infographics, animations, games, and a glossary that includes the 285 terms most frequently used in insurance jargon, we facilitate basic information for the general public on how insurance, social welfare and the culture of savings work.
The program also includes educational programs on these same subjects, suitable for all kinds of audiences (students, educators, the general public, etc.), as well as a practical section that provides a stepby- step explanation of specific aspects related to the insurance universe, from how to take out an insurance policy to what to do in the event of a claim.
All the materials and programs are free of charge and prepared using clear, simple and accurate language, where practicality is paramount. The website currently has 15 basic courses and 4 introductory courses on insurance and complementary social welfare, the latter available in Spanish, English and Portuguese, and more than 5,000 people have already passed through its virtual classrooms.
In another of its sections, the website contains a series of monographic information guides that provide current and comprehensible information on various aspects related to personal, family, and small and medium-sized business risks. Each of these guides develops a specific aspect and provides practical information on issues such as retirement, car insurance, health insurance, protection for self-employed workers and SMEs, cyber threats, and so on.
Despite having been around for many years, there is a great lack of public knowledge about the world of insurance
Fundación MAPFRE participates, either as the main organizer or as a guest entity, in many other initiatives aimed at improving people’s financial and insurance literacy. These include PlayPension and Finexit, two financial education workshops aimed at students over the age of 16, and the foundation participates in Financial Education Day (the first Monday in October), an initiative promoted by the National Securities Market Commission (CNMV) and the Bank of Spain.
For the Foundation, the financial education content it provides is as important as the way in which this is conveyed to its target audience. For many people, this is an unfamiliar and tricky subject, and it can sometimes be difficult to convey it in creative ways that are attractive to the target audience. That is why its managers particularly want to incorporate the latest teaching techniques into their financial education projects.
Specifically, two of its most recent initiatives use gamification to achieve greater immersion and emotional connection with participants. On the one hand, bugaMAP is a business simulation game applied to the insurance market aimed at university students. Working in groups of between 20 and 35 students, participants must deploy their strategic and decision-making skills to compete in an environment that simulates that of a real insurance company.
On the other, FINEXIT is an original idea that uses the popular “escape room” format to challenge vocational training students to solve a challenge using their ingenuity and financial knowledge. The initiative is available in both faceto- face and virtual versions and is expected to be rolled out in countries including Mexico and Brazil later this year.
Also in Latin America
This awareness-raising work on financial and insurance matters has also been extended to Latin America. Since 2015, Mexico, for example, has had its own space in the Finance Room in the Interactive Museum of Economics (MIDE, Museo Interactivo de Economía) in Mexico. This space, known as Patrimonio, Riesgo y Seguros (Wealth, Risk and Insurance), is designed so that children, young people and adults can discover the value of insurance, and to promote insurance education among these groups. This collaboration with MIDE has also enabled the museum to be the setting for a highly successful educational and outreach experience in which more than 2,800 people have already participated. This involves 90-minute workshops in which the participants are invited to discover the importance of insurance as a tool for protecting people’s finances in the face of an unexpected event.