Next up on my recent international trip, Drew Remington (a credentialed actuary who leads AgriSompo’s global Analytic and Actuarial team) and I traveled by train from Zurich to our next stop in Verona, Italy. Train travel is extremely easy across Europe, making travel from country to country very convenient.
In Italy, we met another part of the AgriSompo International team, kicking off with a town hall at the Verona office.
Through the work of this team, led by Patrizio Casinis, Head of AgriSompo Europe, and Marco Ermini, Deputy Head of AgriSompo Europe, AgriSompo writes about 9% of all crop insurance in Italy. The program in Italy covers mostly grains, fruits, and vegetables against traditional weather perils and premiums are subsidized by the central government. AgriSompo started in the Italian crop insurance program with the purchase of a large agency, A&A in 2018. Since then, the team has been integrating into AgriSompo and Sompo International. Like AgriSompo’s work in the U.S. market, our Italian branch has been focused on underwriting profitability: diversifying our spread of business, properly rating the risks, addressing the policy terms and conditions, and adjusting coverage to remove perils that have proven unsustainable over time, such as frost.
While in Verona, I had the opportunity to introduce myself, share a bit about my background, and individually meet with each team member who was in the office. Almost everyone spoke English very well, which was much appreciated, as I do not speak Italian other than some newly acquired vocabulary including bonjorno (make sure to say it BWON-JOUR-NO, meaning good morning), grazie (thank you) and buena sera (good night). Much of the team expressed excitement about being a part of AgriSompo, bringing a broader focus to what they all do, and the opportunities that brings. Many of us at AgriSompo share that same excitement!
My final day on this trip took me on an early morning train back to Milan to meet Ralph Brand for coffee and a chat. As best I can tell, Europeans are always drinking coffee and my jet lag was the perfect reason to drink more cups than usual.
Ralph recently joined us as the head of continental Europe for Sompo International and is highly focused on building teams and business across Europe, which will be significant in Sompo International’s ambitious growth plans. While AgriSompo is responsible for our own business strategy, direction, and execution, it is important that we work closely and communicate with Ralph and the entire Sompo International team in Europe because our business there is written on the Sompo insurance entity SIIE, based in Luxembourg. This crossing of teams and regulatory requirements makes the need for consistency and transparency in our business relationship even more important, so we are all aware of the status of the business and what impact that has on the SIIE capacity and financials. Ralph and I are off to a great start, and I am really looking forward to future collaboration as we grow together in Europe.
Our superpower at AgriSompo, across the world, is that we know crop insurance, and we know it well. Reaching out, working together, collaborating, and connecting in person will be instrumental to our success. I challenge each of you to reach out to a colleague that you might not know well to learn more about what they do, and why they do it. In that, I am sure you will learn something, and they will, too.
Until next time, arrivederci (goodbye in Italian)!