In pursuit of excellence
Building on trust, insurance broker MEDAL unveils its newly-refurbished head office
These are exciting times for southern Portugal’s leading insurance brokers and risk managers MEDAL, a name synonymous for 22 years with unrivalled customer service and an outstanding portfolio of bespoke solutions for individuals and businesses, especially among the Algarve’s expatriate community.
With a recently refurbished Portimão head office, the imminent launch of a new partnership (TARGET Insurance) in Estoril, and MEDAL’s ambition to tap more into the Algarve business sector, Managing Director Henrique Pinheiro says the company’s success lies in its continued commitment to “quality services, quality staff and trust. We respect the brand: it is connected to the past, to what we have done before and to where we are now and will be in the future”.
The office renovations hail from this inherent trust. A tasteful blend of pastel and natural stone walls, wooden stairways, glass partitions, contemporary furnishings, indoor gardens and classic Algarve photographs provide the ultimate welcome for clients and an enviable working environment for the 16-strong English, German and French-speaking team.
“We started with just a small office; after 10 years we had one floor and now part of a second. But we kept the same location here in Portimão, which is important for business,” Henrique proudly explains. “Our aim is to give confidence to the staff and clients. They appreciate that we are investing in a good way. The offices are clean and light, making people feel at home, making them smile.”
At the core of MEDAL’s ever-expanding, 8,000-strong client base is a life-long, exclusive relationship with afpop, the renowned association for foreign property owners in Portugal. Concentrating on specific expat needs, and working only with high-end insurance companies, the brand has developed a prestigious portfolio of affordable polices for afpop members including health, travel, motor and house insurance.
Persistently seeking to improve its product range, MEDAL will launch its latest afpop-member health option in January 2019. The policy will cover all clients’ pre-existing medical conditions, exactly one year from signing up. “These are incredible terms,” says Henrique. “We enjoy a very special relationship with the insurance companies we work with, who also appreciate that this is a very special market, with special needs.”
Despite an increasing amount of business being done via phone and email, MEDAL strives to maintain a personal relationship with clients. This is one of the main reasons they opened an Almancil branch in 2010, where they were already dealing with clients from a huge eastern Algarve catchment area.
“We needed to be near our clients, the people that trust us, because trust is so important. They trusted us from Portimão, so we decided to invest and offer a face-to-face service. Clients must know who we are, the name, the face.”
And he says the same principles will apply to their new commercial partnership, TARGET Insurance, in Estoril: “This is already a very important geographical area for us, with expats having appreciated our products for the last few years. We want to be leaders where we are.”
MEDAL also boasts an impressive after-sales service, with a dedicated staff to deal with claims, guaranteeing “complete follow-up and management of any situation from the moment it happens until its conclusion”.
Henrique Pinheiro says that the quality of their claims department was evident in the aftermath of the Monchique forest fires in the summer of 2018: “From a total of €3 million worth of claims following the fires, one third of that amount was from our clients! Where possible, our claims’ representative, along with loss adjusters, visited clients the same day.”
Henrique concludes: “Our new aim, as insurance and risk consultants, is to let more Algarve companies, whether from the building or tourism sectors, know that we exist and that they don’t need to go to Lisbon looking for services and solutions that we at MEDAL provide locally. This is indeed a very exciting time for us — it is always a challenge when you approach a new market.”