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By Jim Labelle, Mexico Insurance Professionals

In the past most opportunities for US brokers in Mexico have been personal lines. US agents and brokers are finding more and more clients and prospects with Commercial exposure in Mexico.

The possibilities for agents and brokers have increased as a result of the implementation of the North American Free Trade Agreement and the relaxation of Mexico's foreign investment laws.

Mexico, whose border with the US is nearly 1500 miles long, is now the United States' third largest trading partner. Mexico's labor force is strong, young, and cost efficient. Thousands of American companies have taken advantage of the benefits of operating in Mexico, with millions of dollars worth of goods and thousands of vehicles crossing the border each day.

American companies and individuals with exposure in Mexico are best served by continuing to work with their US agent or broker. There is no reason for agents to risk losing clients, potential clients, or control of a portion of an account because they cannot handle exposures in Mexico. In fact, many US agents find themselves with opportunities to handle the US portion of an account as a result of having been the only producer to offer to review the clients Mexico insurance program.

The advent of Internet technology and sophisticated communications such as fax and email gives clients virtual access your office from anywhere in the world. Clients with exposures in Mexico would certainly prefer to work with their US agents, who understand the clients, share their sense of urgency and are accustomed to providing excellent customer service.

Agents and brokers can access the Mexican insurance market by using one of a handful of specialty wholesalers in the US who are contracted directly with Mexican insurers and have affiliate broker relationships in Mexico. These wholesalers provide coverage for American corporations and individuals with exposure in Mexico and are familiar with the Mexican market.

Opportunities for US agents and brokers in Mexico are the result of several factors:

Issues US agents and brokers, placing coverage in Mexico, should be aware of include:

Our neighbor to the South provides unlimited opportunities for US agents and brokers--not only to round out accounts, but also to develop new business opportunities.

Jim Labelle is president of International Insurance Group, Inc., a wholesaler specializing in all types of coverage for Mexico as well as group and individual international health and medical benefit programs. He is based in Flagstaff, Arizona Telephone: .