May 2021

It can be a change of government or Janet Yellen’s personal initiatives, the shimmering mood of the ruling class in China, the whims of AstraZeneca, the off-and-on reopening of schools, the amount of work which increases for some and decreases for others, the hiccups of a stop-and-go life with its sudden shifts: every day the social, economic and emotional landscape changes; or better, it remains in sempiternal movement, elusive as it is.

It would be interesting to capture the moods of this new Italy-in-Europe which has been fighting, suffering and struggling for fifteen months or more in a storm that we know only too well. However essential, the stories told by statistics, numbers, diagrams and polls hardly touch upon the quality of life and the ‘existential’ (a big word…) repercussions, which can be barely identified in the composite cubist portrayal which is taking shape day after day on the press and media.

Who are we, the Italians of today, who have lived and grown in the midst of an unprecedented storm which caught all of us unaware? It is going to take time for the big picture to take shape. However, it is possible, or maybe necessary, to try to understand the new faces of the country. Of course, such overview is going to be partial, yet useful for understanding a piece of us and of what we have become.

In this respect, Finer has conducted a research which aims at identifying some of the effects of the pandemic on the perception of risk and the consequent sense of fear (Paure e protezione del rischio, che cosa è cambiato con la pandemia). Available since January 2021, the results remain of course a work in progress. However, they allow to identify several types of reaction, from discouragement to resistance, to a renewed planning energy; moreover, the results draw the first seismographic map of a community which is posing new questions in order to face unexpected dimensions of risk and instability – financial, professional, family, psychological.

In the wake of this first cartography, it’s been a privilege to discuss with Laura Roscioni, Administrative and financial director of Groupama Assicurazioni, a company founded on transparency, sustainability and solidarity. It was March, still early to record the quick and meaningful changes in the insurance options required. After all, as Laura Roscioni reminded us, the insurance market is characterized by a certain slowness in reacting to new requests.

However, it was a valuable opportunity to compare different insurance models: the French one where Groupama was born, rooted in a ‘mutual’ idea of individual and collective protection; and the Italian models, less concerned with inclusion and participation, or maybe less flexible.

And the exchange on the near, almost present, future has been equally valuable, a future still impossible to depict in all its shades, yet rich in fascinating possibilities. Starting with the needs triggered by the pandemic: emerging needs which involve the world of education, the awareness of environmental issues and of the social responsibility of companies; or the fertile areas of a culture interpreted as a tool for individual and social growth, a valuable ally of any beginning.

Among difficulties, pains and roughness, a world that plans its future in the sign of trust and desire, maybe a renewed sense of community await at our doorstep; a new population which will soon be assessed; a population that, by 2021, has suffered, but also learnt.

New population, new dreams and needs require new security, or better, a new idea of security, participatory and responsible. De Agostini has recently published a first portrayal of this new Italy, Chi sono? Io. Le altre. Gli altri: the research led by Daniele Grassucci depicts the county of teenagers – 12-18 years old – which demands our attention.

History tells us that the world of insurance was born and changes according to the demands and events of life: after all, didn’t the 1666 Great Fire of London give life to fire insurance? The pandemic storm demands us to re-think with urgency the grammar of risk, protection, and its role for the whole community.

Caroline Patey, Partner Finer Finance Explorer