Remembering Olímpio Magalhães

A historical figure in the Portuguese broking sector

Remembering Olímpio Magalhães
A man who made the world of insurance his home. A man known to his peers as ‘Mr Broker’.

It was 1967 when I completed my university degree and set out to find employment. As fate would have it, my first job interview was in a brokerage founded by Olímpio Magalhães – Invicta Seguradora. This was the start of my career and I was lucky to have a young, enterprising, generous boss who taught me a great deal about insurance and the discipline of work. 

Olímpio was a respected and influential figure in insurance; during his career he was always proactive and along with other broker colleagues, founded APROSE (Portuguese Association of Insurance Producers) in the period immediately after the Portuguese revolution of April 1974. He fought for a legal framework and regulation for the broking profession, which until then had no guidelines of its own.

He was elected chairman of the General Assembly of APROSE and later sat on several boards. 

Olímpio was a charismatic, hands‑on chairman who generated enthusiasm among APROSE associates and was always acting in the best interests of broking entrepreneurs.

He inputted to, organised and managed conferences – events that were praised by all, including the regulating authorities and several Portuguese insurers.

His fourth conference was the crowning glory: a World Summit (BIPAR and COPAPROSE) in Lisbon which was attended by the then‑president of Portugal, Jorge Sampaio, and BIPAR (European Association of Insurance Intermediaries) chairman Kurt Sedler. Olímpio at the time was chairman of COPAPROSE – a body that brings together insurance producers from Latin America, the US, Spain and Portugal. He was an outstanding chairman in APROSE’s long history.

He devoted much of his life to others and to worthy causes. He founded the Teatro Experimental do Porto (Experimental Theatre of Oporto), chaired the Assembly of Oporto City Council, presided over Instituto Profissional do Terço (Professional Institute of Terço) and served as president of Boavista Football Club and the Clube Fluvial Portuense.

While Olímpio Magalhães has passed on, the cycle of life continues. But Olímpio will remain in our collective memory, a very real presence to us in the noble industry of insurance.

I, who had the good fortune of spending time with him and learning from him have lost the benefit of his company, but Olímpio the unforgettable friend lives on.

By António Vasconcelos

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