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An interview with JUDr. Hana Machačová, Deputy General Director of Kooperativa insurance company.

What does the award of Manager of the Year mean to you?

It is a prestigious competition and I really appreciate the title Manager of the Year for the area of insurance. And perhaps even more so because as one of three women I was selected for the TOP 10 Managers of the Year 2013. I see it as an appreciation for my work, but mainly as an award for the company of which I’m a top manager, a company that gave me the opportunity to realize my potential. I also had the opportunity to meet other successful managers, which is always enriching.

What do you consider your greatest professional success in the last three years?

If I were to evaluate my professional career, then certainly being named the Deputy General Director in 2012. But I’m even happier that I was able to start an interesting tradition in Kooperativa... when I was celebrating an important birthday in 2012, I asked guests that instead of gifts they should financially support those who are in difficult life situations. In total we collected over 750,000 crowns and this money was donated to several charity projects. Also other colleagues were excited about the idea and over the last two years over 2 million CZK were donated from private contributions to charity purposes.

In your opinion, do women have the same chance to get to the highest managerial positions?

It’s usually more difficult for women. Often they make the mistake of trying to be like men. I’m convinced that there is no point trying to fight with so-called 'male weapons.' Quite the contrary, particularly in trade women have abilities that men lack. They are more sensitive, often communicate better and are better at perceiving client needs.  

Who was your professional role model and who do you see at the most important personality in Czech business?

I was lucky enough to have met a number of excellent people who influenced my professional life. Here I would like to mention Ing. Vladimír Mráz,

former General Director of Kooperativa, because he brought me to the company and supported me in the beginning.

The insurance field was influenced by significant legislative changes, particularly the effects of the new Civil Code. Where will this become most apparent?

The most important change is notable in covering health damage compensations. In accordance to the law, these must be settled in accordance with the principles of decency and justice. It will now be much more possible to evaluate specific situations, consider the kinds of lifestyle the persons were leading, the level of pain inflicted, how the injury or death of a relative affected the family and how much damage it was for them. Of course, this is a correct step. Those damaged will finally receive a more just compensation. On the other hand, it’s also a challenge for the insurance companies to convince their clients of the importance of insurance. Because if they don’t become insured, they will have to cover the cost of the caused damages, sometimes several millions, from their own resources.  

Out now: Leaders Magazine 3/2014 (e-Magazine) 

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