June 03, 2024

BCC Iccrea Group and BNP Paribas Cardif signed a strategic partnership for life insurance in Italy. Alessandro Deodato, CEO of BNP Paribas Cardif in Italy and Mauro Pastore, General Manager of BCC Iccrea Group explain why this partnership is key to both companies.

Tell us a bit about the context of this partnership…

Alessandro Deodato: As CEO of BNP Paribas Cardif in Italy, my goal is to develop our business with the entrepreneurial spirit that is rooted in the company’s DNA and we are continually seeking partners with whom we can keep making insurance more accessible. Beyond the business, our relationship with BCC Iccrea Group started in an unusual way: I met Mauro Pastore in Wiesbaden a few months ago and we discovered that we both happened to be supporters of the same football team. So I knew this was the beginning of a very good relationship! As for the origins of the partnership in itself: we presented an offer to BCC Iccrea Group with another company (Assimoco, the Italian insurance branch of R+V Versicherung), in order to address their needs both in savings and protection. We accompany our partner in the savings spectrum and the life part of all Creditor Protection Insurance (CPI) products, whereas Assimoco’s perimeter is the non-life part of the protection business.

Mauro Pastore: In the area of savings, we were looking for a solid and technically qualified partner that could help us develop our strategy in the life branch of bancassurance, which is a product line we truly believe in. We were looking for a partner that could help us make BCC Vita (our company dedicated to life insurance) grow to its full capacities by enhancing and optimising its global product range, as well as improving its promotion to the customers of our 115 local banks. To us, it was clear that BNP Paribas Cardif offered the quality financial product management that we needed, as well as technical and sales promotion capabilities that are among the best in the market.

Why were you both looking for an alliance?

Alessandro Deodato: We strategically wanted to continue diversifying our distribution setup and client base while continuing to build long-term partnerships in Italy. Scalability and long-term agreements are key drivers, as they allow us and our partners to grow in a healthy manner. BCC Iccrea Group’s cooperative DNA and distinctive client base were interesting entry-points, which makes them probably the best banking group to partner with for the next 15 years, at least! Beyond giving a fresh momentum to BCC Iccrea Group’s savings activity, this partnership also allows us to reinforce our own position in savings, as we acquired 51% of BCC Vita.

Mauro Pastore: We are a banking group, present throughout Italy and with a strong and historical relationship with our partners and communities. It was essential to complete our range of financial services thanks to an efficient partner, experienced in savings management and fund structuring, a partner that could assist us technically and in the field. We believe that savings and more globally insurance solutions are more than a simple option within our own value proposition. We care about the future of our customers, and the necessary protection and risk control guaranteed by insurance is part of our holistic service vision. The value proposition of BNP Paribas Cardif is comprehensive and offers great value compared with what is available in the market. Overall, they offer some of the most effective solutions in savings and protection, for example solutions that meet customers’ future needs, or other specific demands such as the protection of salary-backed loans, which are specific to Italy. We expect to exploit some of these new resources over the next 15 years, at first in the area of savings, to increase our growth and development.

What are the mains benefits of this alliance?

Alessandro Deodato: BCC Iccrea Group and BNP Paribas Cardif share the same vision: we want to prioritise customer needs above our own individual interests. Indeed, there is no success in a partnership if we do not put the clients at the heart of the equation. The cooperative world, which is part of BCC Iccrea Group’s historical DNA, takes that consideration even further, as individuals may not only be clients but potential shareholders as well. We believe we can contribute towards enhancing the investment products currently being offered to BCC Iccrea Group’s customers, while strengthening our partner’s competitiveness in the Italian market. The idea is to help them broaden and complete their range of financial products thanks to a product mix in savings, by leveraging not only general funds, but also unit-linked investment capabilities. We also aim to improve performance and investment horizons thanks to our unique know-how and customer-retention expertise. More generally, our goal is to be a growth engine for BCC Iccrea Group: increasing the promotion of BBC Vita’s product range to the cooperative banks could be a driver to boost savings inflows and thus contribute to our partner’s growth. With our combined strengths, we believe we can help BCC Iccrea Group become one of the best banking groups in Italy, and be part of this great success story ourselves as well.

Mauro Pastore: It has only been a few months since we entered into this new partnership and we are already seeing strong collaboration. While we expect excellence from BNP Paribas Cardif in supporting us in the technical management of the product range, we provide them with our extensive network – around 2,500 branches – and our solid relationship with our customers. Joining forces and assets will soon make it possible to promote the product portfolio that we will have built together.

To what extent does this partnership contribute to improving value for clients?

Alessandro Deodato: Together we are working with the common aim to make insurance more accessible to BCC Iccrea Group’s customers. Our value proposition is a combination of compelling and unique promises, providing both financial and non-financial value to our partner and their customers. Throughout BBC Vita, we commit to improving investment product quality and financial security to meet their customers’ needs. Our goal is to is keep on delivering a combination of high-quality products and services to clients and retain their trust over the long term.

Mauro Pastore: Client value is at the heart of our strategy. We believe it is crucial to adapt and optimise our savings product range in order to design the solutions that our clients expect. We are a grouping of local banks founded on strong relationships and customer trust. We are used to listening to our customers with a level of attention that sets us apart, and for this very reason we need a partner that can help us give our clients all the attention and customer care they deserve. This is one of the reasons we chose to team up with BNP Paribas Cardif, as they are able to identify solutions specifically designed to meet the needs of the people who come to our branches. Their recognised expertise is particularly strategic for us; it will help us take our relationships with customers to another level, as well as finalising a new product offering with new benefits for both the distributing banks and end customers.

What are the next steps?

Alessandro Deodato: We are working hard, together with BCC Vita and BCC Iccrea Group, initially on product analysis, preparing to provide customers with the most appropriate and high-quality offer, as well as a comprehensive sales promotion, as soon as possible.

Mauro Pastore: As soon as we receive approvals from regulatory authorities, BNP Paribas Cardif’s acquisition of 51% of BCC Vita will become effective. Immediately afterwards we will dedicate ourselves to the design and fine-tuning of new savings products. If the partnership thrives, we expect BNP Paribas Cardif to acquire a further 19% of BCC Vita’s capital in the future.*

* Subject to approval by IVASS, the Italian insurance regulator.

Find the full business report here. 

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