Subsidized insurance, Coldiretti’s business on the backs of farmers

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Subsidized insurance is an essential resource for protecting the crops and revenues of farmers and ranchers, as noted above. (1) However, their use is very low in Italy, partly due to the ‘dear by decree’ policies of former Agriculture Minister Teresa Bellanova. (2)

The Coldiretti magic circle meanwhile-in subsidized insurance in agriculture as in various other areas-does business right behind the backs of those whom the ‘union’ is supposed to protect instead. In the magna-magna of conflicts of interest that fuels the glitz of Palazzo Rospigliosi. Here’s how. #CleanSpades.

Green Insurance Srl, Coldiretti and the ‘Green Enterprise’ network, Net Insurance SpA

At Palazzo Rospigliosi, Green Assicurazioni S.r.l. operates, in theory, as an insurance intermediary(broker). The share capital of € 51.646 million is 96.1 percent in the hands of Germina Campus SpA (€ 15,492 million share capital, sole shareholder the National Confederation Coldiretti. See notes 3.4) and 3.9% directly in Coldiretti’s territorial ones.

Green Assicurazioni S.r.l. manages the sale of policies throughout the country through the ‘Impresa Verde’ network, the service companies controlled by Coldiretti, with more than 1,500 branches throughout Italy. The ‘syndicate’ then owns a corporation that grinds profits on policies sold under monopoly to its members. But there is more.

Green Insurance Srl and Net Insurance SpA

It is unclear whether Green Assicurazioni S.r.l., which presents itself to farmers as a broker (IVASS register, section B), really act as an intermediary to serve farmers only. Or whether rather – as some suspect – he practices the activities proper to an insurance agent (IVASS register, section A), placing only the products of Net Insurance SpA, in the latter’s primary interest.

Net Insurance S.p.A . in turn operates mainly as a reinsurer. That is, instead of insuring individual risks themselves, they rely on other insurance companies for their comprehensive coverage(fronting). (5) A business so attractive that it has gathered prominent financial investors, including banks and insurance companies. (6)

Green Insurance, farmers and adjusters

Companies that offer subsidized insurance in agriculture always win. The value of claims for calamitous events (e.g., artichoke insurance in Sardinia, epizootics) is stably lower on a policy-by-policy basis than the shares of premiums paid by individual farmers. Beyond the overall technical performance of the insurance service, which, moreover, benefits from substantial government subsidies (50-70% and above, with region-wide supplements).

The problem, according to some industry experts, is the role of Green Assicurazioni S.r.l., which they say used to enter into (including through other companies in the system) agreements with adjusters. In this way, the broker (or agent in disguise?) would have full control over the progress of premiums and claims. A goose with golden eggs, all the greater where public contributions are more substantial (e.g., Sardinia, which has in fact become a target market for Green Assicurazioni Srl). And that’s not all.

Conflicts of interest, from the beginning to the end (of the union)

Coldiretti, in combination, also owns Agrifides General Agency S.r.l., which acts as an agent for the Società Cattolica di Assicurazione Spa, whose president now under investigation Paolo Bedoni was a former president of Coldiretti. (7) The sole administrator of Agrifides is Raffaele Grandolini, aka the Midas King of Coldiretti. (4)

Agrifides, with the fronting of Net Insurance SpA, can sell Cattolica’s insurance services, through the ‘broker‘ Green Assicurazioni. From beginning to end, Coldiretti’s magic circle is always there to drain farmers’ resources, public and private. It is not otherwise explained why

– General Agency Agrifides Srl (administered by Raffaele Grandolini) should go through

– Net Insurance SpA and also through

– Green Assicurazioni S.r.l. (where Raffaele Grandolini and Vincenzo Gesmundo are directors, Albano Agabiti president, as well as president of Coldiretti Umbria),

to reach recipients that Agrifides could reach directly through the ‘Coldiretti system’ to which it belongs.

Who pays the bill?

A simple tractor liability policy – offered by Green Assicurazioni S.r.l. at Impresa Verde Coldiretti S.r.l. – would turn out to cost 180 euros. The same policy, offered by Generali and also available at independent Farmers’ Consortia agencies, costs 60 euros.

A transversal power that bosses around rulers and politicians in the name of representation anchored to de facto monopolies in the management of services crucial to Italian farmers and ranchers, however, costs immensely more, to the system-Country and to us all.

Democracy, legality. #CleanSpades

The Competition and Market Authority (AGCM) had also noted the obscurity of an economic empire that is based on a ‘syndicate’. (8) But neither the AGCM nor the judiciary ever bothered to launch an investigation.

And will IVASS, the Insurance Supervisory Authority, have ever bothered to look at conflicts of interest in the policy caravan described above? Law, like mathematics, has inopinable postulates. The supervisory duties of the relevant authorities are part of this.

#CleanSpades.

Dario Dongo

Notes

(1) Dario Dongo. Subsidized insurance in agriculture, the Italian anomaly. #CleanSpades. GIFT (Great Italian Food Trade). 19.4.21, https://www.greatitalianfoodtrade.it/idee/assicurazioni-agevolate-in-agricoltura-l-anomalia-italiana-vanghepulite

(2) Dario Dongo. Subsidized insurance in agriculture, the big business of Coldiretti’s magic circle. #CleanSpades. GIFT (Great Italian Food Trade). 1.3.21, https://www.greatitalianfoodtrade.it/mercati/assicurazioni-agevolate-in-agricoltura-i-grandi-affari-del-cerchio-magico-di-coldiretti-vanghepulite

(3) The Board of Directors of Germina Campus S.p.A. is composed of Chairman Ettore Prandini (president of Coldiretti), managing director Raffaele Grandolini (head of Administration, Finance and General Affairs of Coldiretti. See note 4), board member Vincenzo Gesmundo (secretary general of Coldiretti).
Germina Campus is also a majority shareholder (44%) of Filiera Agricola Italiana SpA, tied with SCCA p.a. (Società Consortile dei Consorzi Agrari per azioni)

(4) Dario Dongo. Federconsorzi 2, CAI SpA, AgriRevi, Coldiretti. The jerk dinner. GIFT (Great Italian Food Trade). 31.1.01, https://www.greatitalianfoodtrade.it/idee/federconsorzi-2-cai-spa-agrirevi-coldiretti-la-cena-dei-cretini

(5) The term fronting, in insurance parlance, means that the individual risks assumed by a (reinsurance) company are reinsured as a whole (except in cases where current legislation prescribes a ‘minimum conservatorship’ in the hands of the reinsurer). This activity is particularly prevalent when a reinsurer cannot underwrite certain risks in a direct form or otherwise, due to various interests, has the convenience of underwriting them globally to the maximum extent permitted

(6) Net Insurance S.p.A., deliberated share capital € 19.087 million (subscribed and paid in for € 17.485 million), has a diffuse shareholder base in which Giuseppe Romano and Francesca Romana Amato, Renato Giulio Amato, Swiss Re Direct Investment Ltd, Prealpina Investimenti Srl, Arturo Amato, Alfredo Rocchi, Veneto Banca SpA, Argiletum Merchants SpA, UBI Banca SpA, Marex Spectrum Securities LLP vs. third party Futura Funds Sicav, Axa France Iard, Banca Popolare dell’Etruria e del Lazio SpA, Banca Popolare di Bari SpA, Veneto Ireland Financial Services Ltd, Giuseppe Caruso, Banca Finnat Euramerica SpA, Monte dei Paschi di Siena SpA, Bancassurance SpA, Francesco Rocchi, UniCredit SpA, Net Insurance Servizi Assicurativi Srl, Banca Popolare di Vicenza SpA, Anthilia SGR SpA, etc.

(7) Emanuela Rossi. H-Farm case for Cattolica Assicurazioni, all the details. Start magazine. 18.1.21, https://www.startmag.it/economia/caso-h-farm-per-cattolica/

(8) Antitrust, case AS1590, communication 12.6.19 to the Ministry of Health. In Bulletin no. 25/19, https://www.agcm.it/dotcmsdoc/bollettini/2019/25-19.pdf

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Dario Dongo, lawyer and journalist, PhD in international food law, founder of WIISE (FARE - GIFT - Food Times) and Égalité.