Manuel Sebastiao Soares Povas

Manuel Sebastiao Soares Povas

Summary of Contributions:

MANUEL SEBASTIÃO SOARES PÓVOAS was the founder and senior executive of insurance companies in Portugal and Brazil. In addition, throughout his career he has held leadership positions in insurance industry organizations that influenced the business of insurance in his country, his region, and around the world. Mr. Póvoas founded and led Brazil’s first and largest pensions and annuities company. In the 1950s he made major contributions toward keeping worker compensation insurance within the private sector in Portugal through his leadership in Grêmio de Seguradores. Furthermore he was the founder or played a key role in founding several influential national and international organizations. In addition to being an entrepreneur and an international industry leader, Mr. Póvoas is also a thought leader who for many years has been widely respected for his innovative contributions, lectures and writings on insurance law and practice.

Historical Summary:

MANUEL SEBASTIÃO SOARES PÓVOAS was born in Portugal on April 16, 1927. He graduated in Financial and Economical Sciences at Universidade Técnica de Lisboa (Lisbon), and earned a degree in Law Studies at the Universidade Clássica de Lisboa (Lisbon).

Mr. Póvoas’ career began in the Portuguese insurance industry where he rapidly assumed increasing responsibilities. He served for almost seven years as inspector in Inspeção de Seguros (Portugal Insurance Supervisor) from 1951 – 1957, where he administered and recovered the A Social Companhia de Seguros with a notable success, deserving the annex compliment of the Inspecção Geral de Crédito (Portugal Insurance and Credit Supervisor of the Finance Ministry in April 1954. He was the founder and the CEO of the first Portuguese insurance group, formed by the Insurance Companies Mutualidade, Soberana e Alliança Madeirense which was iniciated with the insurance Company Mutualidade in January 1958.

Mr. Póvoas was also active in various important insurance organizations. He was a Director, and later the CEO, of the Centro de Prevenção e Segurança (Center of Prevention and Security) from 1970 till 1975. As a result of his lecture titled "Portugal in the Expectation of a Future Portuguese Economical Federation" a real programme for the development of the insurance industry in Portugal, he was appointed Director and subsequently CEO of the Grêmio de Seguradoras (Portuguese Association of Insurance Companies) until May 1975. This landmark lecture provided a realistic overview of the problems facing the Portuguese insurance industry, especially in the field of Worker Compensation, and set forth solutions to those problems. Over the years he has generously shared his insights through his lectures, many of which have been published.

In 1962 he was one of the founders of AIDA -Association Internationale de Droit des Assurances (International Association of Insurance Law) and served as a member of the International Board of AIDA. Subsequently he led the movement to found the Portuguese Chapter of AIDA, and in AIDA he was elected in 1964, president of Latin American Committee of Insurance Law (Comité Iberolatino Americano de Direito dos Seguros). He was reelected for 20 years until the World Congress in Budapest in of 1986, when he was already in Brazil. After moving to Brazil in 1975, in his capacity of president, he helped to restructure and develop the Brazilian Chapter. He served as President of the Deliberative Council of Aida and as honorary president of the Latin Committee.

When Mr. Póvoas moved to Brazil he was engaged in several important activities, as Administrative Superintendent, and from 1975 -1978 Technical Superintendent of Poduction of Sul America Seguros (SulAmerica Insurance Company is one of the three largest Brazilian insurance companies); as one of the founders and later the CEO of Bradesco Vida e Previdência (Bradesco Life and Annuities ~ the largest pension funds and annuities company in Brazil) (till 1991); and as president of the Group Mapfre-Vera Cruz Insurance and Pension Funds Company, from 1991 till 2002.

In the field of corporative administration, he was Director and President of ANAPP - Brazilian Association of Pension Funds (1982 – 1990); Honorable President of Iberian and Latin-American Committee for Insurance Law 1998; and Honorable Member of the Presidential Council (International) of AIDA 1998.

From 1997 to 2002, Mr. Póvoas was the president of ANSP, which was founded in 1993, He also served as president of his Egregius Council, and president of the Deliberative Council of AIDA and member of the Superior Council of the Confederation of Insurance, presided by Dr. João Elísio Ferraz de Campos.

Achievements and their results:

Founding of the first and leading Brazilian annuities and pension funds company

When in 1977 the Brazilian government legalized companies that offered private pension funds and annuities, Mr Manuel Póvoas was authorized to establish the first private Brazilian pension fund corporation: Bradesco Vida e Previdência (Bradesco Life and Annuities). He was one of the founders, Director and, later, the CEO of this company, which was the first and, today, the largest Brazilian entity in annuities and pension funds that represents around 20% market share.

The company thrived despite the fact that the Brazilian population lacked any experience with annuities and despite the shortage of qualified actuaries and other professionals required to make the enterprise run successfully. Today the Brazilian annuities and pension funds industry comprises about thirty companies with a total revenue around $26 billion. The ten largest companies have a market share of 50% of this amount.

Ten years later, when Mapfre Group entered the Brazilian insurance market, Mr Manuel Póvoas was invited to be the CEO of the Vera Cruz Group -Mapfre System.

Results of pensions and annuities activities by Manuel Póvoas:

  • Creation of the first and leading Brazilian annuities company, Bradesco Vida e Previdência, at a time when very few people believed that this line of insurance would prosper in Brazil. He brought a new culture from Europe regarding pension fund products.
  • Recognition of the need for qualified professionals to operate companies and serve as intermediaries; development of strategies to educate them. Because of the lack of popular knowledge of this product, structured itself like a school, with complete success.

Worker compensation reform through the Center for Prevention and Security in Portugal (Centro de Prevenção e Segurança) and other organizations.

In Europe during the 1950's there was a strong social movement to remove worker compensation insurance from the private insurance sector and transfer it completely to national social security systems. At the same time private insurance companies were experiencing difficulty in maintaining profitability in the line and on occasion losses threatened the solvency of some companies.

Because of the high sinistrality of Workmen compensation, a group of insurers leading by Mr. Henrique Salgado, created the Center for Prevention and Security (Centro de Prevenção e Segurança;, when Mr. Salgado died, was elected Manuel Póvoas as a Director and, later, as President, till June of 1975.

Based on the idea that the Portugal, Spain, and Brazil needed a uniform policy to improve the loss ratio in worker's compensation insurance, Manuel Póvoas established a partnership with Mapfre Group and Mussini Group, in Spain, and Fundacentro, in Brazil, to implement the Jornadas Luso-Espano-Brasileiras de Acidentes do Trabalho (Spanish -Portuguese -Brazilian Conferences on Worker's Compensation). This organization served as a forum of discussion and resulted in a brand new philosophy concerning the prevention of accidents and rehabilitation of accident victims, with a complete success.

Widening his field of action, in 1972 he extended these conferences to Angola, Africa so Sul, Rodésia and Mozambique, and organized in them an International Congress of Worker’s Compensation in the city of Maputo (named Lourenco Marques, at that time) which attracted attendees from twenty-two countries, when de terrorism was a real problem.

Following are the specific achievements resulting from the leadership of Sr. Póvoas’ at CPS and other organizations.

  • In Portugal fight to maintain Worker’s Compensation Insurance in the private field till today.
  • The loss ratio in worker compensation decreased and the private sector continued to provide coverage.
  • A new consciousness and understanding and of loss prevention developed in insurers and employees, leading to a safer, healthier workplace.

Founder of AIDA -International Association of Insurance Law - International AIDA and Portugal Section (AIDA -Association Internationale de Droit des Assurances)

Even before his election as President of the Grêmio de Seguradoras (Portuguese Association of Insurance Companies), Manuel Póvoas maintained his long-standing interest in the study of insurance. In 1960 he was a key figure in the founding of Association Internationale de Droit des Assurances (AIDA) and in 1962 he attended the first AIDA Quadrennial Congress in Rome. At the suggestion of Prof. Antigono Donati, the founding father of AIDA, Mr. Povoas became one main figure in the founding of the Portuguese Chapter of AIDA in June 1962. It became one of the most active chapters in Europe, being elected in 1964, president of the Committee for the Study of Insurance law, CILA as said, and reelected till de World Congress of Budapest, in 1986, where he said that don´t accepted being elected, having presented a regulation that the propose the rotation of the presidency among all chapters, which was accepted and voted.

Contributions as an Innovator and Thought Leader


Mr. Manuel Póvoas is an accomplished scholar and thought leader, in addition to being a successful entrepreneur and business leader. He transmits the knowledge and insights he has gained to others by delivering lectures and by publishing widely acclaimed books. Thus, he has helped to engender a knowledge revolution in both Portugal and Brazil.

Books Published

  • Considerações Sobre a Indústria Seguradora Portuguesa (Consideration on the Portuguese Insurance Industry) - 1965
  • Gestão de Marketing na Actividade de Seguros

           Edição portuguesa em 1979:

           Edição em castelhano em 1981, com o título Marketing y Seguro

  • Previdência Privada Filosofia; Fundamentos Técnicos e Conceituação Jurídica

     (Private Security -Philosophy; Technical Foundations and Legal Concepts)

             Primeira edição em 1985

             Segunda edição em 2007, contendo a reforma da previdência social        

  • Previdência Privada ~ .Planos Empresariais (Private Security – Corporate Plans).

             Primeiro Volume – 1990

             Segundo Volume – 1991

  • Na Rota das Instituições do Bem-Estar -Seguro e Previdência (On the Route of Wellbeing Institutions -Insurance and Annuities) – 2.000
  • No prelo: Seguro e Previdência – Ciclo da Criatividade e da Prosperidade - Janeiro de 2010

These books have been and are currently used by College students in every Law School and Annuities Law program in Brazil.

Lectures and Papers:

  • A Empresa e a Prevenção – 1963
  • Seguro de Vida e Previdência Social -1965
  • Aspectos Conjunturais e Técnicos da Indústria Seguradora - 1966  
  • Worker's Compensation Prevention
  • Convenience for Worker's Compensation to be operated by Insurers
  • Improvement of Insurers' Image
  • Insureds Defense
  • Insurance Law
  • Insurance Techniques
  • Insurer Management
  • Inflation and Insurance
  • Defesa dos Segurados
  • History of Insurance
  • Pension Funds
  • Annuities Law
  • Welfare State
  • Micro insurance
  • Lei Complementar no. 109 -- 2001
  • Social Security Reform
  • Pension Funds and Mercosur
  • History of the Annuities

Lectures in 2007

  • The Future of Social Security studied under Welfare' s Concept -June 2007
  • Perspectives of Social Security in Mercosur -August 2007
  • Hearings in Financial System -September 2007
  • Insureds' Rights and the Principles the Defensors should follow -November 2007
  • Social Security in the Institutional Context of the Brazilian Pension Funds –December 2007


The esteem in which Sr. Póvoas is held is reflected in the many awards that he has been granted. Among them are:

  • Remarkable Personality of the Brazilian Pension Funds Industry -1987. Given by IBDP -Instituto Brasileiro de Direito Previdênciário (Brazilian Institute of Annuities Law)
  • Annuities Merit -1997. Given by ANAPP
  • Gold Medal-2001. Given by CILA during the international meeting in Rosario, Argentina
  • Aida Gold Medal 2002. Given during the international meeting in New York, USA
  • Insurance Merit Award -2005. Given. by Millenium Editorial Group
  • Annuities Law Medal-2006. Given by the Federal Council of Annuities Lawyers