Words cannot begin to describe my feelings on my fantastic journey representing “the Lion” in many different leadership roles for the past 25 years. My journey started back in 1993 while working at a New York law firm as a young 27 year old attorney representing several insurance companies including Generali. Instead of paying my admittedly outrageous hourly rate, Generali invited me into the family as General Counsel of our US office in New York in 1996 where I had the opportunity to lead several high-profile matters. I quickly moved to the business side and was promoted to Generali USA CEO in 1999 for several years before being asked if I would become CEO of our Generali United Kingdom Branch in London in 2003. After a fantastic experience transforming and turning our UK Branch into strong profitability, I came back to the US to lead Generali USA Life Reassurance where we were able to grow the company from a small player into a top 3 player with over $1 Billion in premium, but more importantly, over $100 million on the bottom line. This growth led to a highly successful sale of the company to the French reinsurer SCOR in 2013. Now, under the leadership of our CEO Antoine Parisi at Europ Assistance (“EA”), I have been given another great opportunity to build our presence in the US as CEO of Generali Global Assistance.
Of course, as Generali is deeply in my “heart”, my dream has always been to build a meaningful presence for our Group in the largest insurance market in the world. The US market is, of course, challenging due to its size and complexity, but is also ripe with opportunity. My conviction has always been that success will come with the right focus, discipline and of course team. Sophisticated US clients demand expertise so specialization is key to success, as specialized “expert” companies have been outperforming generalist insurance players for the past decade. At Europ Assistance, in the past, although we had some bright spots to build upon through prior acquisitions, our business in the US was historically fragmented and unfocused. And instead of operating as one cohesive US team, we were operating as several siloed small companies trying to delivery a variety of solutions instead of clearly choosing the specialized areas where we wish to operate and focusing on being the best in those segments. For the past several years, with the strong push and support of EA’s top management, we have embarked on a mission to reorganize and refocus our US business. Our goal has been to become one organization with a clear focus on becoming a leader in select growing and profitable niches where we could bring expertise and value to our clients. Our approach is paying dividends, as the US has grown from a bit player in the EA Group to the top producer of revenue and profitability. We have become laser focused on becoming a top player in 3 niche business lines – Travel Insurance, Identity Protection for Individuals and Health Care Cost Containment. And within these niche segments, we have also focused on the fastest growing and most promising sub-segments. For example, within Travel Insurance, our Vacation rental focus (where we have over 85% of the market with large clients such as market leader VRBO, formerly Home Away) has served us well during COVID as we saw many of our clients volumes grow during a pandemic year as travelers gravitated to drive to vacation rentals as their safe get away of choice. And through our expertise, we were also able to acquire Airbnb as a partner for both their Travel Insurance and Host Liability programs. Our goal in the US is to again reach $1 billion in premium with strong profitability. We are over half way to our dream and with a dream and focus, I have little doubt that we will make our dream a reality.