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PANAMA - Finance

Stavros Costarangos

Partner, Padeco Seguros

Bio

Stavros Costarangos Pashales is a seasoned insurance professional with a background in business administration as well as in Risk Management. He holds a Bachelor of Science in Business Administration from The Florida State University. In his career, Stavros has held key positions, including Vicepresidente Ejecutivo and Partner at PADECO SEGUROS.

"The country is on its way to economic recovery economically recovered from COVID-19-related issues, and the insurance sector made it a point to service theses insurance-related coverages."
What is new in the insurance sector?

The country is on its way to economic recovery economically recovered from COVID-19-related issues, and the insurance sector made it a point to service theses insurance-related coverages. Pandemic coverages are typically excluded from policies, though insurance companies in general supported their clients and covered all their insurance related claims related to the pandemic. That was a great example of solidarity and trust, which is what we sell. We do not sell products—we sell a piece of paper, that at the end of the day if you do not fulfill it, it is not worth anything. Now, the sector is experiencing steady growth. Although it is not rapid enough, we are on are way recovering to previous levels. The population has also realized the importance of insurance; those with private insurance were able to receive prompt service from private clinics. In addition, the government reacted positively in setting up COVID-19 centers for those under the social security scheme without private insurance. It was also a great way to attend to health issues during the pandemic. The end of year (2023) proposed challenges on general lines insurance, which had a reaction from reinsurers to harden their renewal rates, offering an opportunity to look into other alternatives. These made way for an in-depth analysis of corporate programs to understand their appetite for risk as well as competition in the sector.

What is the story behind Padeco Seguros?

My father, Apostolos Costarangos, a Greek businessman, founded Padeco Seguro in 1968 and served as an inspiration to us all. He passed away not long ago with almost 94 years old, and was in contact with the office every day even up to the date prior to his passing. He taught us that trust needed to be gained not only from clients, but also from insurers which rely on us as the first line in underwriting. When all this is present, it filters down through all the employees, and everyone can better serve clients. We identify as boutique brokers which look at creating a risk and insurance program, rather that selling policies. Our technical angle was rooted to us by our late partner David Perez-Almillano, which is dearly missed by us all.
We want to be considered as allies in your asset protection and this can only be done partnering with clients for that purpose instead on being looked upon as insurance policy providers for a price. They should feel like we are working alongside them throughout the process to develop an insurance and risk management program. In the end, when a claim comes in, that is when we demonstrate our service and the anticipated results. Service is key and we do not sacrifice service in order to grow. I would rather take care of our existing clients and grow with new ones at a pace where we can prioritize the servicing of current clients with everything they need, prior to committing and not being able to properly serve.

What large-scale projects has Padeco Seguros worked on in Panama?

Our focus is on medium to large-scale commercial retail and wholesale, import/export clients; apart from employee health benefits, a major portion of our work involves infrastructure projects. In infrastructure, we must be thoroughly prepared and go through the contract entirely in order to properly serve our clients with regard to their exposure. We have been able to demonstrate this and focus on risk management rather than pricing for several types of industries, including railroad cargo and passenger logistics as well as construction related endeavors. These also included the insurance and bonding program that was required during the construction on the Panama Centennial Bridge over the Panama Canal. We strive to remain close to our clients and assist them in their growth, including expanding out of Panama which brings up our international service.

How do you participate in international projects?

Clients grow and we want to be by their side throughout this growth which also requires servicing their international needs as well. This is done through the proper selection of regional and global brokers with whom we have partnered with. This requires a different approach therefore a great deal of traveling needed in order to develop and strengthen these partnerships, especially in the US and Europe. These brokers also have the same needs and are able to service theses multinationals here in Panama and in the region. Working with a strategic partner that understands our business and is an extension of us makes it fairly easy for us to have this wide network. For example, if we receive requirement from a network partner from France or Colombia, even if the business is small, we know it is important to them, and we take care of them as though we are an extension of their office, and we expect the same of them. It is all about having the right partners with the same service attitude. Last but not least, Passion to Serve is the key ingredient in our corporate culture.

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