Main Interview

Published in Extra Cover

In conversation with Alicia Soler

FULLCOVER had a chance to talk to Alicia Soler, Executive Director at AGERS and one of the 25 most influential women in the Spanish insurance industry as ranked by the Grupo Aseguranza in 2023. We discussed her career beginning when she joined the sector at an insurer in Valencia and her tenure at AICA (Alcobendas Entrepreneurs' Association) until she was invited to fill the directorial position at AGERS, one of the most meaningful and gratifying projects of her professional career.

Can you tell us about your transition from an education in management and finance toward the world of risk and insurance?

My interest in the world of insurance came up when I decided to go for a degree in insurance and finished it later with a university diploma in insurance. Opportunities in the field came up through a traineeship in Winterthur, where I was introduced to this fascinating world. Since then, and it has been more than thirty years, my path went steadily toward risk management.

Tell us how your career evolved.

My career has been a journey of nonstop learning and growth in the field of risk and insurance.

My professional experience started with a traineeship at the Winterthur insurance company in Valencia, where I was born.  During that time, which I remember fondly, I acquired solid knowledge on the essential aspects of the insurance industry.  And then a wonderful s opportunity presented itself to join Argente & Carratalá, a major insurance broker from Valencia, where I worked under Maciste Argente, who first became my mentor and, after I moved to Madrid, a very good friend.

Over my first sojourn in Madrid, around the year 2000, I became technical director of an insurance broker at an automobile corporation. The challenge here was to create an insurance department and I remember that as another exciting stage, thanks to the formidable team we created. We became one of the most highly valued, prized, fastest-growing departments in the organization.

Creating an insurance department from square one was a challenging task and our work came to fruition about six years after. Finally, in 2006, I decided to enjoy a well-deserved sabbatical to spend some quality time with my third child and devote more of myself to my family.

That lasted a little over a year. I made use of that time to continue my education and took several AGERS courses. In 2008 I accepted a thrilling challenge: Establish a specialty area for risk and insurance management at AICA, the Alcobendas Entrepreneurs’ Association. I worked passionately and persevered to raise awareness among member companies on the importance of holistic risk management.

My commitment to AICA ran up to 2014. I then decided to switch roles and join the board of directors, where I have sat since.

Leaving the AICA project behind was a difficult decision, but I could not ignore the motivation of contributing in a different manner towards the advancement of risk management in our country. When I was presented the opportunity of managing AGERS, it was an honor and I gladly accepted the position. A new and exciting chapter in my personal and professional path had begun.

Taking the reins at AGERS is a privilege and a wonderful experience.


You’ve been Managing Director at AGERS since 2014. Can you sum up those years for us?

As leader at AGERS since 2014 I am pleased to observe the progress and achievements which, thanks to the AGERS board and our President, we have completed in nearly 10 years. During this period we went through significant growth in our community of risk managers and major corporations and we’ve strengthened our relationship with the market, which has shared its invaluable knowledge and experience with us, as well as with other organizations we collaborate with.

This period was shaped by a persistent commitment to excellence and the advancement of best practices in risk management, in an independent way. We’ve worked tirelessly to offer resources, events and professional development opportunities that benefit both our members and the industry at large.

I’m proud of the positive response we got from our risk managers’ collective and the ongoing support from the market and other organizations. These accomplishments are the result of the hard work and dedication of all those who put in time at AGERS.

Looking to the future, we’re excited about upcoming opportunities and still committed to driving risk management forward, taking it to ever higher standards of excellence. I thank all of those who’ve come along on this journey and I look forward to all the good things yet to come.

What was the greatest professional challenge you ever faced?

Over the course of my professional career, I’ve faced challenges that proved essential to my growth. Without a doubt, one of the most meaningful and gratifying is my role as Managing Director at AGERS. From the outset, my main goal has been to advance and elevate the role of risk and insurance managers, whom we represent, protecting their independence and pushing them towards lead roles in our organization.

One of the most significant aspects of this experience has been the generous, positive response from our members in the risk management family. They’ve demonstrated unparalleled commitment as they contributed with articles to our publications, as teachers or students in our Study Center, as members in our Working Committees or as speakers at our events. This collective collaboration has been fundamental to achieve our goals and elevate risk management as a valued, respected discipline in all spheres.

Furthermore, we’ve forged solid bonds with colleagues from other continents, which has enhanced the international scope of our work. I am immensely proud of the way we have evolved and thrilled to see all the opportunities the future holds in store as we move forward. And it is also gratifying to see the number of representatives from major corporations grow at AGERS. It demonstrates that this discipline has gained more recognition and value across a number of industries both in the private and public domains.


Tell us about AGERS and how it has contributed to risk management in Spain.

AGERS, the Spanish Association of Risk and Insurance Management, was established in 1984. We’ll be celebrating our 40th anniversary next year. When we go back to our beginnings, what we see is a group of professionals from several multinational corporations in Spain, backed by other organizations, creating AGERS having recognized the need to give voice to risk and insurance managers in our country.

Our association has since then played a vital role in the advancement of risk management at the highest level in Spain. We’ve achieved that through a number of initiatives such as our conferences; this year we’ll have our 34th conference. We’ve also contributed with numerous publications, established solid institutional relationships, and collaborated closely with other similar organizations. All these activities have a clear goal: bring our members a service offering with content of the highest quality.

Currently we’re the only Spanish association accredited by FERMA (Federation of European Risk Management Associations) to offer an expert accreditation program on risk management and the Rimap Certification.  We’re also active members at the FERMA board.

I should also highlight that we are represented at the Advisory Board of the General Directorate of Insurance and Pension Funds (DGSFP), which allows us to contribute meaningfully to the design of policies and regulations connected with risk and insurance management in Spain.

We operate a study centre of our own, the CEA (Centro de Estudios de AGERS), through which we advance the sharing of knowledge, methodologies, and best professional practice in insurance and risk management, incorporating the FERMA framework. It is led by a high-quality teaching team, all of them leading, working experts in their respective fields who embody the vision and vast practical experience of organizations, insurers, and professional services. We offer a broad range of educational and awareness-raising materials through videos, interviews, opinion pieces, and we have our own magazine, Observatorio de Riesgos, 17 issues and running. Our library features over 30 books on risk and insurance management, and we maintain an active presence on platforms like YouTube, social networks and Spotify.

The engine powering all this activity is our dedication to amplifying the voices of our members and collaborators. We will work tirelessly to remain a key player in risk management across Spain and Europe and to make sure this discipline gets the respect and recognition it deserves. 

An event which will help us accomplish our goals will be the FERMA Forum 2024 in Madrid.


In general, how do you see risk management as a profession evolving over the past few years, and what are the challenges risk managers face right now?

These past years the profession has faced challenges and constant change. Risk managers, those who devote their lives to managing risk and/or insurance, have chosen a profession which may elicit passion but is nevertheless extraordinarily difficult. Managing all the sorts of risk that organizations face has become more and more complex over time.

While traditional risk has for the most part been controlled and understood, the uncertainty surrounding other kinds of risk that are hard to measure and quantify, as well as lack of awareness on the latter, have presented a considerable challenge. Furthermore, placing some of these risks with the insurance market has become more complicated, so other, more sophisticated retention systems have surfaced.

Without a doubt, despite the challenges, those who choose this line of work pour their commitment and passion into it. Risk managers are an essential pillar in any organization. Their experience and knowledge on the identification, assessment and mitigation of risk are not only invaluable but they also contribute to informed decision-making and protect company assets.

In short, risk managers will face increasingly complex challenges, but they will continue to play an essential role in the protection and achievements of their organizations, demonstrating their value every single day.

The engine powering all this activity is our dedication to amplifying the voices of our members and collaborators. We will work tirelessly to remain a key player in risk management across Spain and Europe and to make sure this discipline gets the respect and recognition it deserves. 

What about the challenges AGERS faces as a professional association?

One of our key challenges is to maintain growth by attracting more members and expand our presence across boards both domestic and international. This will give us a stronger voice and more influence to advance risk management in Spain.

We are also committed to establishing supportting points in Latin America and replicate our organization wherever necessary. That will not only bolster our international presence but also allow us to share knowledge and best practices with other countries.

As to education, one of our ambitions is to create a formal, university curriculum for risk and insurance. This would bring future generations the opportunity to become professionals in this domain from an early age and contribute to the continued development of risk management in the country. At present we’re taking steps to develop risk and insurance professionals through our two post-grad university programs which introduce and develop professional skills in risk management and insurance.

Our focus is on growth, international expansion, and ongoing education. We hope to bring more opportunities to future professionals in risk and insurance management.

What are the future risks that most concern risk managers?

Risk managers increasingly concern themselves with several emerging risks highlighted in documents like the Davos report. Such risks include environmental sustainability, cyber threats, geopolitical volatility and health crises like the one we experienced recently, the Covid-19 pandemic. They have potential for significant impact on the stability and continuity of organizations.

In addition to such risks there is an ongoing concern with the cannibalization of risk management as a function. Risk managers work hard to stay independent and work closely with company boards. This strategic position is essential to guaranteeing that risk will be managed effectively, and informed decisions will get made.

In short, risk managers pay attention to emerging risks and work hard to preserve their independence and close working relationship with their company boards to ensure that risk management remains critical, strategic and effective in today’s business environment.

What traits should future risk managers possess?

Future risk managers should possess a number of key traits if they are to succeed at their jobs. First of all, a risk manager should have credible qualifications and they should be a well-known, valued member of their company. They should be a part of the corporate culture and be recognized for their contribution to strategic decision-making.

And they should be fully aligned with the company strategy. This means that they should work proactively and strategically in close cooperation with upper management to identify and manage risks that may impact the company’s goals and operations.

I see present and future risk managers as facilitators and protectors of their companies’ operations. They should play an active role in the early identification of risk, implementing preventive measures and effective management of any incidents that may occur. Additionally, they should communicate effectively and convey the importance of risk managers to all stakeholders in their organization.

In sum, the risk manager of the future will be a strategic, well-known, valued professional at their company and their role will be to facilitate and protect company operations through effective, proactive risk management.

The agenda for the next AGERS Conference in October includes the topic of captives. In your opinion, what is the relevance of captives as an instrument for risk retention, and how do Spanish risk managers feel about the topic?

Captives have become an increasingly relevant tool to manage corporate risk. They offer organizations the means to retain and manage their risks in an efficient, customized manner. The ability to establish a captive lets companies design insurance programs tailored to their specific needs, optimizing costs and increasing flexibility in insurance management.

As to how risk managers in Spain feel, I should point out that there is growing interest and recognition of the advantages that captives may bring to risk management strategies. Spanish risk managers have come to see captives as a valuable tool to complement their traditional insurance programs and approach specific risks in a more effective manner.

On the next AGERS Conference, we’ll have an opportunity to hear out a few renowned experts on captives, including the opinion of FERMA’s president, who will share the experiences and focus of other European countries. We’ll also have a delegate from the Italian association, ANRA, speaking on the use of captives in the management of corporate risk. And then we will explore the Portuguese perspective thanks to the president of APOGERIS, which will afford a more comprehensive, enriching view of the best practices and trends in this domain.

Basically, captives are a relevant and valuable resource to manage corporate risk, and Spanish risk managers have shown growing interest in adopting this solution. The upcoming AGERS Conference will give us a platform to discuss and learn more about the topic, as we will have internationally renowned experts speaking on it.

... the risk manager of the future will be a strategic, well-known, valued professional at their company and their role will be to facilitate and protect company operations through effective, proactive risk management.

For a while now, HighDome pcc, the MDS Group’s own captive insurer and reinsurer company, has collaborated with AGERS. How do you see this collaboration, and what has it done for both parties?

This collaboration between HighDome/MDS and AGERS has proved a mutually beneficial alliance to both sides over the years. MDS has been a valuable partner to AGERS for almost a decade and their commitment has materialized as a significant contribution to the enhancement of our events and resources.

MDS has shared its vast experience and knowledge on the retention and management of risk, participating actively through speakers at our forums, conferences, and contributing with opinion articles. Their contribution has proved invaluable to our community, as MDS has shared its vision and best practices with our members.

To us, this partnership is extremely important. You can't put a price on the support we get from MDS. We recognize the additional lengths their team has gone to, bringing experience and knowledge despite the daily demands of their work. This collaboration has forged a relationship that goes beyond the merely professional; it has become a collaborative association in every way, mutually beneficial to the parties involved.

In short, collaborating with HighDome and MDS has greatly enriched our work at AGERS and we are thankful for their steadfast commitment and valuable contribution to our community.


In 2023, the Grupo Aseguranza named you as one of the 25 most influential women in Spanish insurance. What does this mean to you?

In 2023, the Grupo Aseguranza honoured me as they named me one of the 25 most influential women in Spanish insurance. That has very special meaning for me. The key is that the honour goes beyond personal recognition to shine a light on AGERS and the entire risk management community.

To me, this honour bears proof of the growth and recognition that risk management is undergoing in our country. I’m happy to be part of a movement that values and recognizes the importance of our work. Furthermore, the distinction motivates me even more to work hard on the advancement of risk management and take AGERS to the top of the ranks in the future.

Put simply, this honour reflects the collective success of AGERS and the ever-greater value assigned to risk management in Spain. I feel a great deal of excitement when I consider what the future holds in store for our profession.

How do you like to spend your free time?

I love to enjoy special moments. I come from a large family and spending time with them is a wonderful sort of madness. Whenever I can, I try and visit the sea. The waves keep calling me and I always answer the call. A cold glass of white wine in good company, my closest friends, that’s something I value enormously. I also enjoy getaways with my husband. It’s like meeting him all over again! Finally, I love to lose myself in a good book, or cook as I listen to music. Everybody at home calls that “Mama’s time”.

So my free time is a combination of family moments, seaside adventures, laughing with my friends, couple getaways, and those magical moments reading, or cooking by myself, which rejuvenate me. It’s all about life’s little pleasures!



With over three decades’ experience in the world of risk and insurance management, Alicia Soler Rubia has stood out as Managing Director of the Spanish Association of Risk and Insurance Management (AGERS) for the past 10 years. She has a solid background in management and an accreditation in Superior Insurance. Her career began at Winterthur and she has since then worked in the world of insurance intermediation.

Alicia Soler has also served notably as leader of the Risk and Insurance Management Department of the Alcobendas Entrepreneurs’ Association (AICA) and currently sits on their board. At AGERS, she represents corporate risk management professionals and works actively to share knowledge through conferences, publications and education programs, contributing to the development and advancement of the sector.

AGERS represents Spanish risk and insurance managers. Almost celebrating 40 years, AGERS has focused its efforts on strengthening and protecting Spanish companies and providing them with expert profiles to manage and control the complex risks they expose themselves to. This early goal went beyond a mere statement of good intent early on and became a management element, ever more strategic and necessary across organizations large and small.