Insurance Daily | February 2022

Banks and insurance companies have closed 2021 with record-breaking financial statements. However, there is still much work ahead. Excluding profit, which can often be the result of rationalizations and improvements, the growth potential remains huge: on the one hand, a sea of liquid assets on current accounts is waiting for someone capable of managing them; on the other hand, nine Italians out of ten are not yet adequately protected from the most common risks (home, health, and life).

Is the lacking financial and insurance position of our compatriots to blame? Of course, but it is not the only reason and definitely not the most important one.

A company aspiring to excel in its sector should bet on (at least) three factors: 1) the credibility and reputation of their brand, which results in a higher or lower level of trust; 2) the availability and competence of its staff, that also represents the company, measured through the client’s level of satisfaction; 3) the quality of the products and services offered to the market, measured through their popularity.

The individual analysis of each of these three elements reveals plenty of room for improvement for banks and insurance companies.

Firstly, the brand. Its strength is based primarily on its circulation. And, since the unknown cannot be appreciated, a key role is attributed to communication.

Banks and insurance companies, with a few exceptions, are the Cinderella of investments in communication: little money often spent for complacency rather than for sending clear and distinctive messages to their stakeholders – clients, employees, shareholders, and suppliers (rigorously in alphabetical order).

There are, of course, notable exceptions: banks of financial advisors, primarily Mediolanum and Fineco among the big spenders, but also Amundi, the asset manager of the transalpine giant Crédit Agricole.

In its last campaign, Mediolanum clearly conveyed the central role attributed to the client, “the bank as you want it”, enhancing its pillars – investments, protection and loans – betting on advanced digital banking but also on the figure of the financial advisor.

Fineco is the bank that simplifies the bank. Being a Fineco client is enough to understand that this is not merely a slogan. Amundi has launched the first multi-channel television campaign in Italy, France and Germany, focusing on ESGs addressed to the general public.

As for availability, proactivity and competence of the staff, from financial advisors to insurance agents and bank employees, several quite different situations can be identified. We will limit our observation to the data of the market, from time immemorial an impartial judge: new records for networks of financial advisors and high level of satisfaction among clients.

As for the quality of the products and services offered, the true and increasingly merciless judges are the so-called moments of truth: the settlement of accidents, the performance of an investment excluding the costs and the supply of credit.

Woe to those who mix apples and oranges. But, are we so confident in saying that it all depends on the Italians’ lacking financial education?

The good news is that the market is rewarding the best companies, be them banks, networks of financial advisors or insurance companies. Good luck to the rest of them. 

Nicola Ronchetti