Thiago Tristão leads corporate risks in Brazil

Working in the insurance market since leaving university, Thiago Tristão has built a successful career with a number of high‑profile insurers.

Thiago Tristão leads corporate risks in Brazil
Having been with MDS Brazil since 2014, he’s had the opportunity to immerse himself in the broking sector – another area of the insurance world and something he considers vitally important. MDS is delighted to have welcomed to its ranks a highly experienced professional with a unique outlook. 

A bright future
"In my university days, I did not have a clear idea of what I wanted to do with my degree and so talked to people who were close to me, including family members, to find inspiration. I was impressed by the experience of one of my uncles who chaired the English company, General Accident. He talked about the characteristics of the insurance sector, its challenges, opportunities and above all, its bright future. This influenced my thinking and a few days later, I applied for a position with General Accident, who took me on as a trainee.” 

Thiago admits he is still fascinated by the insurance sector, even now. One of the main attractions is its dynamism. A market, conservative in nature yet with innovation at its core and an ability to develop products, services and solutions that meet the evolutionary challenges of a globalised world. 

"It is a fascinating market,” says Thiago. And he appreciates the social responsibility issues, valuing company sustainability and working to ensure society has a future: "By replacing a loss, insurance helps rebuild companies and brings families and even countries back together. It has become one of the most important economic contributors to our world’s future wellbeing.”

During his career in the insurance sector, Thiago worked for major international companies whose cultures and business strategies were very different to each other and that of Brazil. "I managed teams at Spanish Mapfre, American Liberty and AIG, national Porto Seguro and the German Allianz.” 

A journey which has given him an in‑depth understanding of many aspects of the insurance sector and its product lines: "… from Varejo at Porto Seguro (retail), to Liberty’s middle market and larger risks at Allianz.” Thiago recalls one particularly memorable experience with Allianz: "In September 2014, not long before I left the company, I was ranked first in an internal survey completed by my subordinates. My team named me the best‑rated leader throughout Brazil for among many things, my results and management style.”

The MDS challenge
After 18 years working for insurers, Thiago decided to take up the challenge of joining MDS team and gain experience in the broking world. Having worked with a number of insurers, he believed this would be a wonderful professional opportunity: "MDS is a fast‑moving, technically‑skilled, excellently‑structured company, and through Brokerslink, a global player. Its different Group divisions, such as the reinsurance business with MDS Re and Ed and its engineering and risk management solutions with Herco, were very attractive to me.” 

Today, Thiago says this was a good decision: "We are an extremely flexible company that follows high standards of professionalism and competence. This allows us to compete with any player out there.”

Thiago cites a number of MDS highlights: "The turnaround of the Rio de Janeiro operation, repositioning MDS in the insurance sector and regaining the trust of our customer portfolio and, of equal importance, bringing back the glint in my team’s eye after accomplishing significant goals, like securing important clients and major events such as the 2016 Olympics.”

At MDS, Thiago leads a 72‑strong team. At the heart of his success is the spirit of teamwork and cooperation. "These are undoubtedly the key factors. Our success over the past few years is due to a technically‑savvy, competent and experienced team who are very knowledgeable about the insurance market. We are among the top brokers in the country for volume of managed premium and our speedy processes and high technical proficiency help us stay ahead of the pack.”

The Brazilian market
The greatest challenge for the Brazilian insurance market is to balance a need to raise premiums and fees (and so address recent local and world deficits) with companies who, due to the current economic climate, may not have the financial capacity to pay. 

MDS Brazil’s strategy to sustain growth in this context includes working more closely with customers, utilising their resources, sharing its risk‑management expertise, minimizing the possible risk of loss through effective programmes and managing clients’ operations.

"In the current climate, it is increasingly urgent to redesign policies and risk‑management programmes to optimize coverage and control the operation as a whole. In Property & Casualty, Herco, thanks to its technical capability and experience across various industries, has played a significant role.

In health insurance, we act through a highly‑skilled technical and medical team that puts together detailed studies on meeting client needs and for new clients, we design and offer alternative products for national emerging risks such as Cyber, Weather Risks, Credit Insurance and others. In addition, we take advantage of our relationship with Brokerslink members who extend our product portfolio.”

Over the next five years, Thiago says the insurance sector will face huge challenges, particularly those posed by political and economic issues. This will however, generate opportunities.

The personal view
First‑born son of a Rio de Janeiro family, Thiago spends his free time with his family, especially his three‑year‑olds who "not only fill my daily life with joy but have also replaced the gym,” he says, jokingly. "I also like to travel locally and play sports like volleyball and tennis with friends.”

With a wealth of experience in the insurance sector and a lengthy journey through the corporate world, the motto for this executive has to come from writer, teacher and administrative consultant Peter Drucker, the ‘father’ of modern management: "There is the risk you cannot afford to take and there is the risk you cannot afford not to take.”

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