Julio Castelo Matrán, who died yesterday in Madrid, has in his own right a relevant place in the history of insurance, an institution to which he dedicated his entire prolific and exemplary professional life. Born in 1941, he joined Mapfre in 1961 when he had not yet completed his university law studies. His merits and abilities led him to hold increasingly important managerial positions and responsibilities from a very young age, soon becoming one of the main pillars on which the spectacular development of said business group and its important founding activities were supported.
In 1990 he was elected president and chief executive officer of the group, a position he held until the year 2000. Under his senior management and with his personal drive, Mapfre achieved business figures and results never before achieved and expanded its presence abroad, consolidating its leadership in Spanish insurance and its status as a multinational group; and carried out a profound reform of its corporate structures and practices supported by the development of its own Good Governance Code.
He held relevant positions in the institutions of the Spanish insurance sector, to whose improvement he contributed with initiatives such as promoting the legal regulation of compensation for victims of traffic accidents, and the creation of Cesvimap, the first Spanish center dedicated to investigating the safety of Motor vehicles and efficiency in their repair. He was also a member of the Club of Major European Insurers and the International Association of Mutual Insurance Companies, and wrote two relevant works: ‘The insurance market in Latin America, Portugal and Spain’ and ‘Basic Insurance Dictionary’.
His clear intelligence gave him a great capacity to carry out in-depth and rational analyzes of complex business situations, to which he added other notable qualities: rigor, order and tenacity in the development of his professional activity; admirable command of oral and written expression; and honesty and strong commitment to ethics, austerity and transparency both personally and in business. All this, together with his simple and humane personal behavior, earned him the respect and admiration of those who knew him and dealt with him, both professionally and personally. His relevant merits and achievements are already part of the historical heritage of the Spanish company and the insurance world, and were highlighted with the award of the Gold Medal for Merit in Insurance.
When he turned 60, he resigned from all his positions, and ended his professional life. He retired to live in Águilas, his hometown with which he maintained a special relationship throughout his life, and fully dedicated himself to his family and personal life, and to his great hobbies: the sea and fishing. Shortly before his retirement, he began another activity, Naval Modeling, which he developed with the tenacity and brilliance that characterized him, until he became a great expert. Over twenty years he built a hundred models, some of which are permanently exhibited at the Cartagena Naval Museum.
But Julio Castelo’s main work was undoubtedly the creation of a large family hand in hand with María Luisa, the intelligent, generous and determined woman who has been his close companion since adolescence. She, her five children and her fifteen grandchildren have been the great support of her personal and professional life, they have shared her efforts and successes with healthy pride, and today they mourn her loss. For them, the affection and solidarity of Julio’s friends, of whom we are proud to have been a part.
José Manuel Martínez Martínez, former president of Mapfre, Alberto Manzano Martos and Filomeno Mira Candel, former vice presidents