¿Quiere vender seguros? To do so, you may need to speak Spanish
The Spanish-speaking market is not going away; in fact, it’s spreading throughout the country
Hispanic consumers can be found throughout the U.S., as they have spread beyond urban centers to rural areas where they are boosting the populations and prospects of aging communities.
By Joseph S. Harrington, CPCU
Nestor Hugo Solari has an observation that’ll grab your attention: The United States has more Spanish-speaking residents than Spain or any other country except Mexico. Solari has capitalized on this fact by launching Sigo Seguros, a self-described “inclusive” auto insurance provider that recently introduced an auto policy in Texas available in English and Spanish.
Solari proudly proclaims that the coverage is underwritten without using education level, employment, credit history, or other factors he considers to be unfairly discriminating against Spanish-speakers in the United States. Besides forgoing such variables in policy rating, Sigo Seguros provides discounts for using its telematics app, which Solari claims is the first Spanish-language safe driving app in the United States.
Some traditional agents and brokers will wince at the prospect of having to market coverage or provide service in a language other than English. That’s not to say they wouldn’t hire someone who speaks the language of an immigrant community in their market area. If history is any guide, that effort would be temporary and the community would be local.
Things are different when it comes to Spanish, however.
Not all “Hispanics” in the U.S. speak Spanish, but those who do have the option of staying connected to Spanish-language culture and media without being restricted to certain communities. One indication of that is that major U.S. insurance carriers make their consumer website content available in both English and Spanish.
One can reasonably ask whether the United States, by virtue of its commerce and population mobility, is more functionally bilingual than Canada, where bilingualism is established by law, but where regular use of French is geographically concentrated.
If Sigo Seguros is successful, it will be because some people of Hispanic heritage prefer to do business in Spanish, even if they can do business in English.
In a 2017 article in Forbes, Isaac Mizrahi, the famous Brazilian designer and former chairman of the Hispanic Marketing Council, described how studies by Facebook and Nielsen found that the use of Spanish persisted among Hispanic households despite predictions that it would fade over time, and that Spanish-language advertising based on culturally authentic messaging (not just translations of English messages) were effective in reaching Hispanic consumers.
Those Hispanic consumers can be found throughout the U.S., as they have spread beyond urban centers to rural areas where they are boosting the populations and prospects of aging communities. “Since 1990, the Latino population in the rural United States has more than doubled,” writes Amelie Ramirez, a researcher with Salud America!, an organization that advocates for Hispanic communities.
If rural agencies and brokerages want to survive and thrive, it’s hard to see how they can do that without reaching out to the growing number of Spanish-speakers in their midst.
 “Sigo Seguros . . . Launches Spanish-first Product in Texas . . .,” Aug. 3, 2021; accessed at https://www.prnewswire.com/news-releases/sigo-seguros-an-inclusive-auto-insurer-launches-spanish-first-product-in-texas-that-removes-biased-rating-variables-like-credit-score–education-301346115.html
 Isaac Mizrahi, “Is Marketing In Spanish Still Relevant To Hispanics?,” Forbes, Apr. 4, 2107; accessed at https://www.forbes.com/sites/onmarketing/2017/04/04/is-marketing-in-spanish-still-relevant-to-hispanics/?sh=55dce0aa7c36
 Amelie Ramirez, “Research: Latino Rural Migration Led to Housing, Transportation Inequities,” Salud America!, May 10, 2019; accessed at https://salud-america.org/research-latino-rural-migration-led-to-housing-transportation-inequities/
Joseph S. Harrington, CPCU, is an independent business writer specializing in property and casualty insurance coverages and operations. For 21 years, Joe was the communications director for the American Association of Insurance Services (AAIS), a P-C advisory organization. Prior to that, Joe worked in journalism and as a reporter and editor in financial services.