Insurance || In celebration of its 22nd anniversary, Portimão-based insurance company Medal opened the doors to its revamped office in the centre of the town to clients, friends and partners on Wednesday, November 21. Among the guests was António Bico, CEO of Zurich Portugal, a major partner of Medal.
“The new office has been a long time coming,” Henrique Pinheiro, founder of Medal, told Barlavento newspaper. It is located in the same building on Rua Teófilo Braga, just a stone’s throw away from the town hall.
“It was a project that had been in the works for some time. We have existed for 22 years and needed to carry out some improvements.
“By inviting the administration and board of Zurich, we want to give our clients the opportunity not only to visit our new premises but also to be in direct contact with this great international brand,” he added.
Medal boasts a customer base of 8,000, including all the companies and individuals that use their services.
Said Pinheiro: “We have a long-standing relationship with many of our clients. To respond to their insurance needs, we have created specific products and solutions.”
In fact, in 1992 Medal partnered with afpop, Portugal’s largest foreign residents’ association.
“The expat community is very important to the Algarve economy. I am honest and I have to say that, for a long time, foreign residents were a little undervalued in comparison with holidaymakers.”
Catering to the expat as well as the Portuguese market has been one of the keys to Medal’s success. The company currently employs 13 staff in Portimão and three in Almancil. Two people will also be employed at a new office that Medal plans to open “with a local partner” in Estoril, near Lisbon, which will be named Medal Target and will also privilege the same “proximity to the foreign community and local companies”.
“I would place Medal in the top 25 in terms of insurance distribution in Portugal. I am Algarvean and I have always believed in our region. The Algarve has unique potential. My dream is to turn Medal into the largest insurance broker in the Algarve and I think we are achieving this,” Pinheiro said.
Having Zurich, an insurance brand with “100 years of history”, as a partner has also helped Medal’s growth.
“We have to have the ability to learn from them every day. This kind of proximity helps us a lot, while keeping our independence because our focus is on our client. But having Zurich as a partner helps us find tailored solutions for every client,” he said.
António Bico, president of Zurich Portugal, also praised the 18-year Medal-Zurich partnership.
“I already knew Henrique Pinheiro before our partnership. He has made quite a name for himself and built a brilliant career in the insurance sector. There are many reasons why Zurich is represented here today, which shows our appreciation and respect for his work over the years,” he told Barlavento.
As Bico points out, insurance companies are on the front line when it comes to helping individuals and companies recover from a variety of setbacks.
And to stay in line with the times, the sector is having to adapt to three new factors.
“First, climate change. It is undeniable that the frequency and severity of weather events is going to continue. Second, the digital era which is showing in all aspects of our daily lives. The third factor is the change of the dynamics of education. Understanding, accepting and incorporating these factors into our speciality is a challenge that keep us excited for the future,” he said.
The head of Zurich Portugal also said Portugal is living “an extremely positive moment” and painted an optimistic picture of the future.
“Our credibility has been recovered and foreign investors believe and are investing in Portugal, which is gaining intense notoriety due to its safety and stability. I am very optimistic about the future.”
Medal’s offices in Portimão and Almancil are open Monday to Friday from 9am to 12.30pm and from 2pm to 4.30pm.
Languages spoken are Portuguese, English and German.
282 430 800 (Portimão)
289 351 000 (Almancil)
Photos: HÉLIO RAMOS