Insurance Daily | November 2022

22 years had passed since the last request of an ex-novo banking license in Italy. As of lately, Zurich has broken such record, celebrating the marriage between the financial network ex Finanza & Futuro and Deutsche Bank Financial Advisor.

The press conference – held under the blue sky of Milan on the top floor of the palace owned by Zurich – saw the contributions of a remarkable trio.

Giovanni Giuliani, CEO of Zurich Italia since January 2022. He has previously worked as Senior Partner of the Insurance, Asset Management and Banking sectors for McKinsey and Generali together with Mario Greco, now Group CEO of Zurich. During the press conference, Giuliani reminded those present that the arrival of the Swiss company in Italy dates to 120 years ago.

Alessandro Castellano, currently President of the new-born bank and already CEO of Zurich in Italy. As Managing Director of SACE, he turned the company from public body to joint-stock company, thus increasing the level of support to the internationalization of Italian businesses. At the press conference, Castellano remarked the high standing common to the clients of Zurich and Zurich Bank in Italy.

Silvio Ruggiu, currently General Manager of Zurich Bank and already Managing Director of Gruppo Deutsche Bank, where 30 years ago he used to work as treasurer. As leader of the financial network of the group in Italy since 2018, he too it upon himself to illustrate the project in detail.

56% of the employees of Zurich Bank are women; 34% of them have been employed ex-novo in support of the old team; 28% of them are under 40 years old. All in all, a start-up with 150 years of experience in the insurance world and 36 years of experience in financial consultancy.

The Italian market is deemed strategic because of the financial wealth of Italian families which, however, suffer from two chronic illnesses: underinsurance and a lack of trust when it comes to investing their savings.

The presence of a new player – which will invest in digital technologies (a key element in the relationship between financial professionals, banks and clients) and in communication strategies – will certainly work as an incentive for Italians to change their bad habits in terms of finance and protection.

Insurance DNA runs, so to speak, in the veins of many financial networks currently operating in Italy – one need only think of Allianz, Generali or Mediolanum. Thus, Zurich’s most important challenge will depend on their ability to create synergies with the agency network and to share the wealth represented by a very similar customer base.

Adding the two million clients of the company to the one hundred and twenty thousand clients of the bank, the percentage of private clients is, on average, quite high. Moreover, the synergies fostering an integrated and competitive kind of offer dedicated to Italian companies will be another element of interest.

Italian companies, especially small and medium-sized, represent the true potential market, albeit often overlooked or poorly assisted. Moreover, they are the driving force behind the development of our Country.

Silvio Ruggiu, the new general manager of Zurich Bank, rightfully granted the clients of the financial network of Deutsche Bank access to loans offered by the bank and invited financial advisors and bank employees to cooperate.

In fact, the secret is to work on the rules of engagement between financial advisors and insurance agents. In Allianz, for example, the project of a common home for clients and financial professionals conceived by Giacomo Campora and implemented by Paola Pietrafesa is paying off.

The new Zurich Bank starts with extremely valuable people and endowment – let’s hope that it will be able to win the trust it deserves.

Nicola Ronchetti