Dimitris Tsesmetzoglou

CEO OF MATRIX INSURANCE AND REINSURANCE BROKERS

Greece 2019  I  Finance  I  Interview

BIOGRAPHY he completed his Bachelor of Science, in Insurance and Investment in the City University Business School (now Cass) in 1997. He holds also an MBA from Leicester University. He began his career in London’s Insurance Market in 1998 in Windsor Professional Indemnity and moved to BMS International in 2002 to launch a local office in Athens.

“AFTER ESTABLISHING A POSITION OF LEADERSHIP IN THE GREEK MARKET WE HAVE DECIDED TO EXPAND OUR OPERATIONS INTERNATIONALLY.”

MATRIX HAS BEEN GROWING AT AN AVERAGE OF 14% ANNUALLY SINCE 2010 AND ITS BUSINESS HAS GROWN 250% AFTER THE CRISIS IN GREECE. WHAT ARE THE MAIN REASONS FOR THIS SUCCESS?

 

In every crisis there are opportunities and identifying them is the main challenge. We have been able to establish a strategy that allowed us to benefit from opportunities in the insurance sector that were created after the crisis in Greece. We have been in constant contact with our clients to understand their needs and challenges and we were able to offer tailor-made solutions.

 

We have built a team that is specialized in structured reinsurance to allow insurance companies to use their capital more efficiently. During the crisis, there was a substantial reduction in property values in Greece which has created a large gap in the balance sheets of insurance companies due to due to the haircut on Greek Government bonds. We were able to fill this gap successfully and the largest deal we made was with Ethniki Hellenic Insurance Company, a subsidiary of the National Bank of Greece. The €420 million deal, a loss portfolio transfer to the US-based Arch Capital, was finalized in 2014 at the peak of the Greek crisis and was the largest single reinsurance deal in continental Europe at the time. These efforts have allowed us to have 100% market share in Greece in the segment of structure insurance. 

 

Many companies have gone through economic difficulties and personal liabilities was one of the most important challenges. The risk was also intensified due to the rise in crimes due to social tensions. We brought a team of specialists from London and created specialized products for our clients. We have reached over 40% market share in this segment. 

 

MATRIX IS RECOGNISED BY ITS INNOVATIVE PRODUCTS AND CUSTOMER SERVICE. HOW DID YOU CREATE SUCH A STRONG CORPORATE CULTURE IN A SHORT TIME?

 

I believe that to be successful in our sector, it is very important to be one step ahead of the market and always listening to your clients. In addition, it is also important to make a bridge with international markets to know what are the global trends. In our sector, we have to constantly create products that are adapted to the needs of our clients and the local and international economic situation. 

 

There are many companies that say they do this but we have taken this one step further. We have invested heavily in developing a highly qualified research team to be able to provide scientific analysis of the market trends, based in the highest international standards. 

 

MATRIX IS EXPECTED TO DOUBLE THE SIZE OF ITS OPERATIONS BY 2020. CAN YOU TELL US MORE ABOUT YOUR STRATEGY?

 

After establishing a position of leadership in the Greek market we have decided to expand our operations internationally. We have opened offices in Turkey, South Africa, United Kingdom and Cyprus. Today, all our operations in these markets are profitable. We continue to look for new opportunities internationally but now our focus is in Greece where we see very attractive opportunities. There are too many companies in the intermediary insurance sector for a market of the size of Greece. We will see a concentration in the sector as smaller players are looking for partners to scale their operations. This trend has already happened in other sectors of the economy, such as health and tourism. We are prepared for new opportunities and have the support of international partners to back our expansion in the Greek market. 

 

GREECE HAS RETURNED TO BEING IN THE RADAR OF FOREIGN INVESTORS. WHAT IS YOUR ADVICE FOR COMPANIES WILLING TO INVEST IN THE COUNTRY?

 

For every investor, one of the main challenges is to find a reliable local partner which is essential for the success of their investments. I believe this is valid for foreign investors coming to Greece and they should spend their time and efforts to find the right people in this market. The companies that survived the crisis in Greece are one of the strongest in Europe today. These companies have skilled staff and international standards, most of them are also looking for the right partner to grow their operations locally and internationally. 

 

MATRIX originated as a result of a partnership with an international company, BMS at the time. In 2006 we successfully completed a Management Buy Out from BMS, whilst in 2012 we became a registered Broker at Lloyds. The first and only one out of Greece.