The collaboration of Mr. Konstantinos Kastrinakis with Sofos Insurance Agency SA. only a few months. However, this does not prevent him from admitting that this is the most important step in his 30-year career, describing with warm words and enthusiasm all that he found in the Company that won him from the first moment: vision and development plan, organization, corporate culture that fits at its beginnings, investments in human resources and logistical infrastructure, executives with knowledge of the sector and the subject, a multitude of insurance programs from almost all insurance companies in our market. These are some of the features he believes will help him achieve his goal of further developing his clientele and attracting new customers and new partners. The area in which he lives and operates, after all, has increased needs for insurance coverage, as a result of intense economic activity, especially in tourism and the primary sector.
Interview with SOULA KORMA
Mr. Kastrinakis, you have completed 30 years in the insurance mediation industry, with experience from both the Agency and the independent network. Tell us a few words about the journey you have traveled so far (why you decided to take up the profession, the most important milestones in your career, etc.).
KK: We do not choose our profession. it chooses us. The 1993, therefore, there was an approach from a colleague, who gave me a presentation in relation to our profession, its social dimension, its humanitarian contribution, the imminent financial and social appreciation, which are consistent with the intermediate effort that one puts in, but also the results of his work.
I considered it a professional opportunity and I joined a strong Agency team, through which I came into contact with all the products. It helped me to work with goals, to respect the client and his needs, but also to "read" him individually. Gradually, over the years came success, travel and professional recognition in the local community. The 2005 I took the big step and I started my own agency. Then I found out, first hand, that the profession of an insurance agent offers the possibility to choose one's partnerships, according to one's own priorities, aspirations and goals. From the start it looked like a decent run would be wiped out. I believe that this course reached a high level for Chania's standards and withstood the crisis, which came a little later. At the same time, the 2013, I worked with a large insurance company and took over the development of the local branch. It was a challenge for me, as it automatically put me in the management field, while time eventually showed that I served this position successfully. The 2017 I continued to practice as an insurance agent and at the end of 2022 I met with the people of Sofos Insurance Agency, so I made the decision to join this big insurance organization. I believe that is the most important step in my career so far, as I am given the opportunity to utilize all the experience I have gained over the years.
Tell us, more specifically, the reasons that made you connect your professional path with Sofos Insurance Agency. How much did the fact that the Company places special emphasis on the development of work in the Life and Health sectors count in your decision?
K.K.: From our first meeting I understood that this is a completely different professional proposition. nothing to do with those of previous years, which, after all, were limited in terms of supply but also in terms of access to a multi-pricing platform, always centered on the car.
I saw a vision and development plan, investment in human resources and logistical infrastructure, organization and one corporate culture which suits my principles. I was impressed when it was clarified to me how important the development of other branches, besides the automobile, is for the Company, especially the development concerning individual life and health insurances. In fact, it was obvious from the first moment that the executives who make up the Company are connoisseurs of the specific branch and subject. For sure I appreciated positively and their cooperation with all insurance companies. This, in other words, was probably the most important factor in making my decision.
So, having assumed the management of the Company's branch in Chania since January, what are your production/development goals and the plan for achieving them?
K.K.: During these first months of our cooperation, the first concern was completion of the logistical infrastructure of the two offices, so that we can properly introduce ourselves to the market of Chania, without this having any impact on the service of our already high portfolio. From the first moment, it was planned the development plan, with specific actions, which concerns three axes:
- At further developing the relationship with existing customers, being able to propose more solutions to their needs.
- At attracting new customers, whom we must welcome in a completely professional manner, acting in a modern and methodical manner with regard to the needs of each one separately.
- At further staffing of the office with new associates, with whom cooperation will be based on mutual trust.
What is the profile of the ideal new partner?
K.K.: The ideal partner should be honest and honest, to respect himself and those around him, to have vision and goals for the future to be open to new ideas, forward-thinking and amenable to training.
You, for your part, what would you say to a prospective new partner regarding the activation of schemes such as Sofos Insurance Agency?
K.K.: Schemes like Sofos Insurance Agency, properly structured, respecting the partner and his production, with basic design and in order to simplify the partner's work and at the same time provide access to the entire insurance market, I think it's the ones that will dominate in the future. The environment in our market is becoming increasingly difficult and demanding, with new channels for promoting insurance products, competition and time-consuming, high-cost procedures. Mergers and acquisitions, on the other hand, even among the biggest in our industry, but also in all sectors of the economy, are a daily occurrence and point to the future.
What special features of the area you operate in would you say make your work easier and, if so, under what conditions?
K.K.: Chania is a place with strong growth, especially in recent years, with a peak in the tourism sector as well as the primary sector. All this means economic activity on the rise, but also needs for insurance coverage. To be able to participate in this, you should have the time, knowledge and help. Having the time to plan an action plan and the ability to get out of your office and implement it. Being knowledgeable of the needs and the corresponding insurance solutions and to be able to propose competitive solutions, so that you are able to claim market share.
In closing our discussion, and given your long experience in the industry, it would be interesting to tell us what you have concluded as to why our fellow citizens are not insured. Do you think the state needs to provide incentives or more weight should be given to informing the world by the industry, overall and systematically?
K.K.: Having worked for 30 years at all levels of brokerage, I have to say that today's market is nothing like the one I once started working in. Such a society as well as companies have matured. I still hear that there is no insurance awareness in Greece. I do not know if this is determined by the fact that the client does not come to our offices to insure himself. I don't think, however, that in questions like: "Do you feel safe enough about health issues you may have to deal with?" ή "Are you comfortable with the amount of a pension of this kind, which will ensure you a decent living in old age?" responses would be marked with a positive sign.
The market is more aware and more mature than ever. What we have to do is let's communicate it. Let's open the discussion beyond the one that concerns the more "cheap car insurance". Let's get informed and to operate in industries we have no experience of and are ignorant of.
The economic situation in recent years has been another negative factor in the development of the market. The state must implement policies which will help development in areas such as health, pension and wealth. Certainly ia were helped by substantial advertising campaigns by industry collectives, but also by insurance companies, in order to restore the citizens' partially shaken confidence in our market.
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