Insurance Daily | September 2022

The long-standing, at times incestuous, relationship between banks and insurance companies should hardly surprise the most passionate observers of the financial industry.

However, a few variations on the theme have recently emerged: in fact, it would appear that the presence of two suitors at the same altar is not irreverent or blasphemous anymore.

One need only think of Monte dei Paschi di Siena (MPS) and its capital increase – among the institutional investors might be AXA and Anima.

The French insurance giant AXA has a decades-long relationship with MPS and represents an important channel for bancassurance products.

Thus, it would not be unheard of the French group to invest in MPS, the oldest bank in the world. It is certainly a marriage of convenience; however, the French will in all likelihood put their heart in addition to their money.

The heart is also the symbol of the other suitor at the altar of MPS: it is ANIMA, the largest AMC in Italy.

It would be, again, a marriage of convenience: MPS has always been one of the main outlets to the retail market for ANIMA products.

The CEO of MPS, Luigi Lovaglio, is currently considering the entry options for strategic industrial partners. The revision of the agreements with strategic partners (today Anima, Axa and Compass of the Mediobanca group), he added, will inevitably follow the underlying logic of current accords, which ensure the interest of the bank.

Protection, asset management, real estate credit (with Compass) represent the key components of any bank wishing to remain on the market, both in the make option (internal production) and in the buy option (third-party production, as with MPS).

So, what about those who renewed their insurance plan with the Swiss giant Zurich, only to receive texts and emails promoting an online bank account with the Spanish bank BBVA together with an Amazon coupon as an additional incentive?

Zurich Italia has recently acquired from Gruppo Deutsche Bank the financial network ex Finanza & Futuro, which will in all likelihood become their bank. Of course, the agreement with the Spanish BBVA consists in a partnership aimed at the development of digital solutions and financial products at competitive prices.

Quite another matter is the marriage between financial consultancy and protection imagined by the Swiss giant led by our Mario Greco, who will finally manage to succeed where he had failed in 2007.

Fifteen years ago, after the merger between Banca Intesa and SanPaolo Imi the management and supervisory boards of Intesa Sanpaolo decided not to go through with the listing of the Eurizon Financial Group led by Greco, settling instead on the development of the three sectors in which Fideuram, Eurizon Capital and Eurizon Vita still operate today.

Some would say that all this is only the beginning. On the horizon, there are new and evocative mergers between big players. A never-ending story which will surely thrill the most attentive observers.

Nicola Ronchetti