Subsidized insurance in agriculture, the big business of Coldiretti’s magic circle. #CleanSpades

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Subsidized insurance in agriculture adds to the list of big deals put in place by Coldiretti’s magic circle.

Substantial business-about 9 billion euros a year in risks covered, 500 million in public contributions-is once again being managed by the usual known, in their own way.

Conflicts of interest, distortions of competition and various malfeasance continue under the complicit gaze of those who fail to carry out proper checks. #CleanSpades.

AAA, Facilitated Insurance in Agriculture

Subsidized insurance in agriculture (AAA) fulfills risk management in the primary sector, one of the priorities of the Common Agricultural Policy. (1) In fact, the European Agricultural Fund for Rural Development (EAFRD) and the National Agricultural Insurance Plan (PAAN) cover a significant share of insurance premiums, between 50 and 70 percent depending on the type of policy (2,3).

The policies-to be taken out on a voluntary basis, either collectively or individually-can cover crops and plants (from risks related to adverse weather, plant diseases and pest infestations), farm facilities and animals. Experimental policies, on the other hand, cover revenues, including in an index-based formula, that is, indexed against yield forecasts linked to biological and/or meteorological indices.

AAA, Defense consortia

The real players in subsidized insurance in agriculture are the defense consortia (Condifesa). Associations formed for the purpose of protecting member farmers, under the banner of mutualism, with respect to environmental hazards that may cause them loss of income.

Defense consortia therefore take out group policies and manage mutual funds. In its own name but on behalf of its member farmers. And they receive government grants on AAAs from AGEA. The General Agency for Agricultural Disbursements now headed by Gabriele Papa Pagliardini. (4)

AsnaCodi and the Condifesa

AsnaCodi is the National Association of Defense Consortia, established in 1982. They can be associated with it, by statute, ‘Consortia and other defense organizations, recognized under Leg. March 29, 2004 No.102‘. (5) It ‘performs at the national level tasks of coordination, representation and protection, of the associated Defense Consortia, promotes the implementation of public policies at the national and European Union levels, the development of legislative initiatives.’

The institution’s institutional role is crucial for Italian agriculture, whose incomes are increasingly exposed to the risks caused by ongoing climate change. (6) And the plateau of public funding is in fact growing. But AsnaCodi is losing its pieces. From 81 associates in the early 2000s to 74 five years ago, to losing 30 in a single five-year period and falling to 44. The last to escape were the Condifesa of Alexandria and Ferrara.

AsnaCodi, move to Palazzo Rospigliosi

Two weeks ago AsnaCodi moved from its historic location in Rome, Via Bergamo 3, to Via XXIV Maggio 43. Palazzo Rospigliosi, the historic palace of Federconsorzi as well as home to, among others:

– Consorzi Agrari d’Italia, CAI S.p.A. aka Federconsorzi 2, (7)

– Consorzi Agrari d’Italia (CAI) Real Estate S.r.l.,

– UNAPROL, Consorzio Olivicolo Italiano, (8)

– AIA, Italian Breeders Association, (9)

– FEDANA, Federation of National Breed and Species Associations, (10)

UNAPROA (National Union of Fruit, Vegetable, Citrus and Nuts Producers’ Organizations), a consortium corporation with r. l.,

– Green Insurance Ltd.

Palazzo Rospigliosi is managed by Germina Campus (Ger. Cam.) S.p.A., the ‘dominical hand of Coldiretti’ that bought it in 1995 in a deal that was the subject of complaints at the time. (11) The company is now administered by Vincenzo Gesmundo, secretary general of Coldiretti, and its King Midas Raffaele Grandolini (12,13).

Asnacodi and the magic circle of Coldiretti

AsnaCodi’s move to Palazzo Rospigliosi on closer inspection serves its control by Coldiretti’s magic circle. The president of the national association of Condifesa, Albano Agabiti, well expresses the interests with 17 social offices among which are highlighted:

– Coldiretti Umbria, president,

– Impresa Verde Coldiretti Umbria S.r.l., president,

– Ansacodi, Ansacodi Servizi S.r.l., Ansacodi Fondo S.C.ar.l,

– Società Consortile Consorzi Agrari (S.C.C.A.) joint stock company, sole shareholder of CAI S.r.l. transformed on 2.9.20 into Consorzi Agrari d’Italia (CAI) SpA, aka Federconsorzi 2, director,

– Agricultural Consortium of Umbria, president. NB, the Boards of the Umbrian Consortium, along with those of Treviso and Belluno, Friuli-Venezia Giulia, and Northwest (Piedmont and Liguria), in January 2021 decided to join CAI SpA, (14)

– Green Assicurazioni S.r.l., insurance brokerage firm, president.

Green Insurance Ltd.

Green Assicurazioni S.r.l. is an insurance brokerage company in Coldiretti’s service system. Its president Albano Agabiti, it should be noted, is the same as AsnaCodi. Also sitting on the Board are:

– Marco Gallotti, councilor in charge of technical activities,

– Raffaele Grandolini, the ubiquitous King Midas of Coldiretti, here the company’s managing director, (13)

– Vincenzo Gesmundo, secretary general of Coldiretti, advisor. (12)

The lavish public subsidies on AAAs (subsidized insurance in agriculture) are thus being drained by a corporation, governed by the usual well-known who derive personal power and profits from it. In blatant conflict of interest with farmers and their representations.

Asnacodi – Green Insurance S.r.l., conflicts of interest

Albano Agabiti is thus a bicephalic president:

– the head of AsnaCodi collects membership dues from the 44 Condifesa to represent the collective demands of farmers seeking insurance,

– the head of Green Insurance Ltd. on the other hand grinds out profits on the premiums of insurance sold. To defense consortia as well as individual farmers, competing with the Condifesa themselves.

Andrea Berti, general manager, in turn has corporate positions in 6 companies among which Agriduemila S.r.l. stands out. The service company of the Trento-based Consorzio Difesa delle Produzioni Agricole di Trento, which he himself directed and had to change its register after an Antitrust investigation for abuse of dominant position (15,16).

It is added a possible violation of the IVASS (Insurance Supervision Institute) regulation, where it is required that brokerage firms entrust persons registered with the broker professionals legal representation and responsibility for distribution activities, as well as the roles of managing director and general manager, if appointed (17,18).

Affordable insurance?

The Genertel miracle on auto liability policies has shown how-in a free competition regime-a direct relationship with a company can result in significant savings for the insured. Because Europe and Italy have delegated risk coverage in agriculture to the private sector, free competition is crucial to obtaining the most advantageous contract terms.

Condifesa moreover are strong contractors and industry specialists (at least in theory, to the extent that merit prevails over cronyism). They certainly do not need to turn to the magic circle broker Green Insurance Ltd. Instead, they should negotiate their million-dollar contracts directly with insurance companies, saving on brokerage costs. Or at least check the conditions offered by multiple brokers.

Farmers gulled

Farmers, in collective as well as individual contracts, pay between 30 and 50 percent of insurance premiums. As well as paying deductibles on the amounts compensated. And be subject to complex contracts with a wide variety of conditions and limits. The risk of a de facto monopoly – even worse if aggravated by the interests between brokers and Condifesa, including through Ansacodi – is the same one denounced by Coop Di Italia to the Antitrust Authority in the Codipra – Agriduemila S.r.l. case.

They are advantaged i.e. ‘insurance companies, as it would allow them to have a stable presence in the market, reduce expenses as much as possible, and probably collect higher premiums than would emerge from a competitive comparison. In fact, a discussion I had with some insurance company representatives revealed that they have no interest in changing the current system‘. (18)

AsnaCodi, reform of statutes and revolt of the Condifesa

On 6/21/19, eight Defense Consortia registered with Asnacodi opposed the proposed reform of its statute ‘based on the guidelines of managerial and top-down matrix (…) not respecting the principles of democracy and especially the autonomy of Defense Consortia‘. This project goes so far as to demand the radical reform of their statutes, with Asnacodi interfering in the appointments of their top management and supervisory bodies, as well as their operations.

The Coldiretti dome, in subsidized insurance as well as in the livestock system (9,10), thus tries to arrogate control of billion-dollar assets, between public subsidies and the collective treasures that farmers have accumulated over the decades in the name of mutualism. Meeting resistance in both cases from those who care about farmers. On 12/15/19 CoorDefense, an alternative entity to Asnacodi, was formed. (19) Not enough.

AsnaCodi, top management incompatibility

‘A director must inform the other directors and the board of auditors of any interest he or she, on his or her own behalf or on behalf of third parties, has in a particular transaction of the company’ (Civil Code, Article 2391).

Ridiculous, is the same Albano Agabiti – president of Green Assicurazioni Srl, Impresa Verde Coldiretti Umbria Srl, Consorzi Agrari Umbria, etc. – To sign the bylaws where Article 2391 of the Civil Code is invoked to provide that:

‘Directors [and so is the director, ed.] are required to promptly report the conduct of any direct or indirect activities in the insurance industry. Art. 2391 c.c.’ (bylaws, art.19, board of directors).

– ‘appointment as general manager is incompatible with direct or indirect activities in the insurance industry’. (Art. 30, director general).

Asnacodes, incompatibilities and family affairs

Andrea Berti is but cannot be a director of Asnacodi, by statute, because he is the managing director of the brokerage firm Agriduemila Srl (a wholly owned subsidiary of the Trento Defense Consortium, of which he himself was a managing director before he was swept up by the Antitrust Authority. See notes 15,16).

‘Our relationships with national agricultural unions, advocacy consortia, and the heads of partner insurance companies allow us to guarantee the insured fairness, reasonable bureaucratic timelines, and the highest level of expertise to avoid property losses‘ (4A Insurance).

Family business. Tiziano Berti, brother of AsnaCodi’s director, is himself chairman of the board and 50 percent shareholder of Assicurazioni 4A S.r.l. Which deals with combination, subsidized policies. ‘We offer subsidized policies and assistance to agricultural entrepreneurs. By taking out an insurance policy and joining mutual funds, coverage can be tailored to the plan and profile of the entrepreneur‘.

Ad memoriam, the Trentino precedent

It is worth mentioning the Antitrust Authority’s notes on Andrea Berti’s management of CoDiPra and Agriduemila Srl. Perhaps therefore appointed to the leadership of Asnacodi?

According to the AGCM’s accusatory framework – based on reports of
Amil Insurance Broker Ltd.
,
Hail Insurance Switzerland
e
Coop Di Italia
(COOP DI) – Co.Di.Pra., a historical monopolist in brokering contributions to subsidized insurance policies against environmental risks for agricultural crops in the province, allegedly engaged in exclusionary abuse, which consisted of:

(i) in deterring the listing of risks conveyed by the competitor COOP DI against insurance companies that, at an early stage, had been willing to insure farmers who were members of that defense organization, thus preventing access to the competitor and thus potentially undermining the existence of effective competition in the market,

(ii) in limiting, including through contractual constraints, its members’ ability to access supplementary policies for the sub-threshold portion of risk [segue]. (15,16)

The Trentino precedent, monopoly

The AGCM (Italian Competition Authority) had therefore found that:

‘(iii) in applying a discount on membership dues to farmers who use, as insurance brokers, the company AGRIDUEMILA, a wholly owned subsidiary of Co.Di.Pra., resulting in a leverage effect capable of transferring the dominant position held by the investigated consortium in the dues brokerage market into the different but adjacent insurance brokerage market.

According to the AGCM, all of the conduct described above would have been part of a context in which CODIPRA set a single price per type of risk, differentiated by municipality and crop, regardless of which insurer actually covered the risk to individual farmers. This would not in fact have encouraged or allowed competition among the premiums offered by different insurance companies.’ (15,16).

The Trentino precedent, caged farmers

‘Collective’ anti-hail policies were the strength of Codipra, as ‘theonly body operating in the territory and capable of overcoming the technical-regulatory difficulties that make it almost impossible for farmers to proceed independently with the collection of contributions on subsidized agricultural insurance.’

In fact, ‘farmers are required to use in Codipra’s mutual fund, while companies are required not to offer supplementary policies’ (15,16). That is, those not assisted by public subsidy, to cover damages amounting to less than 30 percent of average annual production. Caged farmers.

AAA, the precedent in Lazio

Coldiretti’s management of Condifesa is also remembered in Lazio. The Latium Defense Consortium, the Coldiretti Rome website further reads, was ‘a regional body with legal personality created by merging the former provincial consortiums of Viterbo and Latina.’ Its director Luca Bacchi, on the page published on 9/15/14, stated that ‘it will not be difficult, data in hand, to demonstrate how Condifesa Lazio is already able to guarantee the best possible service at the lowest possible cost‘.

Luca Bacchi, who was also a city councilor in Ferentino (FR), was later arrested by order of the GIP of Rome, at the request of the Public Prosecutor’s Office and the District Anti-Mafia Directorate. On charges of extortion aggravated by the mafia method, for demanding a bribe from a contractor awarded a tender for a contract on the Tivoli cemetery. Bacchi, according to investigators, allegedly endorsed the decision to turn to organized crime figures to intimidate the entrepreneur. (20) Condifesa Lazio then went bankrupt. There are no reports of fraudulent bankruptcy investigations.

Raffaele Grandolini, Coldiretti’s magic circle and subsidized insurance

Raffaele Grandolini meanwhile, from Palazzo Rospigliosi, is managing director of Green Assicurazioni Srl. His notes to the 2019 financial statements of Green Assicurazioni S.r.l. confirm how it also conducts weather risk coverage. It was therefore ‘once again proposed to raise awareness among the membership base, including through the use of various insurance companies in the market, in order to provide for greater outreach within the Coldiretti system.’

Green Assicurazioni Srl’s revenues increased by 25 percent, between 2018 and 2019, to € 2,196,601. Thanks to the agreement with Net Insurance SpA for the distribution of the ‘Hail and Other Bad Weather Policies’. Precisely those subsidized insurance in agriculture financed by AGEA through the single application prepared by the Impresa Verde Coldiretti Srl Service Companies.

Monica Rispoli, the Kālī goddess of vigilance

Asnacodi’s board of auditors is under the chairmanship of Monica Rispoli, the Kālī goddess of supervisory bodies. (13) Among the numerous assignments are:

– president of AgriRevi SpA, in succession to Raffaele Grandolini, (4)

– chairman of the board of statutory auditors of the Consorzio Produttori di Campagna Amica S.C.p.A., whose CEO is Grandolini,

– mayor of Filiera Agricola Italiana SpA, where Coldiretti’s King Midas is CEO,

– mayor of Filiera Italiana Riso SpA, along with Grandolini.

Small detail-with all due respect to current regulations (Civil Code, Article 2399)-Monica Rispoli is an employee of the Consorzio Sistema Servizi Coldiretti S.C.p.A., whose CEO is Raffaele Grandolini himself. The Palazzo Rospigliosi water tower set up to bill its redundant 30-million-euro-a-year IT projects to Coldiretti’s system federations. And his employer, AD

#CleanSpades.

Dario Dongo

Notes

(1) MiPAAF, Ismea, Agea (2018). Facilitated agricultural insurance in Italy. The opportunities provided by the European Agricultural Fund for Rural Development (EAFRD). http://www.psrn-network.it/wp-content/uploads/2018/06/opuscolo_A5_web_final.pdf

(2) Reg. EU 1305/2013, on support for rural development by the European Agricultural Fund for Rural Development (EAFRD), as amended. See Articles 5.3.b, 36-39b. Consolidated text as of 1.1.21 at https://eur-lex.europa.eu/legal-content/IT/TXT/?uri=CELEX%3A32013R1305&qid=1614552911777

(3) DM 29.12.20 DM no. 9402305. Agriculture risk management plan 2021. https://www.politicheagricole.it/flex/cm/pages/ServeAttachment.php/L/IT/D/3%252F5%252Fe%252FD.1aec45d36caa7558c486/P/BLOB%3AID%3D16490/E/pdf

(4) Dario Dongo. Conflict of interest AGEA – Pagliardini – Coldiretti, questions to the European Parliament. GIFT(Great Italian Food Trade). 30.1.21, https://www.greatitalianfoodtrade.it/idee/conflitto-d-interessi-agea-pagliardini-coldiretti-interrogazioni-al-parlamento-europeo

(5) Legislative Decree. 29.3.04 no.102 (financial interventions to support agricultural enterprises), as amended and supplemented by Leg. 18.4.08 n. 82. Consolidated text at %252FD.d378cf9f0f43a2335438/P/BLOB%

(6) Dario Dongo, Sabrina Bergamini. Climate change, risk analysis in Italy. Égalité. 4.10.20, https://www.egalite.org/cambiamenti-climatici-analisi-dei-rischi-in-italia/

(7) Dario Dongo. CAI SpA, Federconsorzi 2. Federico Vecchioni’s Great Binge and Coldiretti’s magic circle. GIFT (Great Italian Food Trade). 16.2.21, https://www.greatitalianfoodtrade.it/idee/cai-spa-federconsorzi-2-la-grande-abbuffata-di-federico-vecchioni-e-il-cerchio-magico-di-coldiretti

(8) Dario Dongo. Coldiretti and Unaprol. The uncertain fate of public funds intended for Italian olive growers. GIFT (Great Italian Food Trade). 6.2.21, https://www.greatitalianfoodtrade.it/idee/coldiretti-e-unaprol-il-destino-incerto-di-fondi-pubblici-destinati-agli-olivicoltori-italiani

(9) Dario Dongo. Coldiretti, AIA and the golden calf. #CleanSpades are urgently needed. GIFT (Great Italian Food Trade). 9.2.21, https://www.greatitalianfoodtrade.it/idee/coldiretti-aia-e-il-vitello-d-oro-vanghepulite-urgono

(10) Dario Dongo. Coldiretti, AIA and the golden calf. Operation AIA 2, aka FEDANA. GIFT (Great Italian Food Trade). 25.2.21, https://www.greatitalianfoodtrade.it/idee/coldiretti-aia-e-il-vitello-d-oro-l-operazione-aia-2-alias-fedana

(11) Parliamentary Commission of Inquiry into the Disruption of the Italian Federation of Agricultural Consortia. Antonio Rossetto hearing, former Federconsorzi d.g., 8.7.99. See pages 23-28. https://www.parlamento.it/service/PDF/PDFServer/DF/16527.pdf

(12) Dario Dongo. Nextalia sgr, Coldiretti’s new tentacle into high finance. GIFT(Great Italian Food Trade). 20.2.21, https://www.greatitalianfoodtrade.it/idee/nextalia-sgr-il-nuovo-tentacolo-di-coldiretti-nell-alta-finanza

(13) Dario Dongo. Federconsorzi 2, CAI SpA, AgriRevi, Coldiretti. The jerk dinner. GIFT (Great Italian Food Trade). 31.1.21, https://www.greatitalianfoodtrade.it/idee/federconsorzi-2-cai-spa-agrirevi-coldiretti-la-cena-dei-cretini

(14) Consorzi Agrari d’Italia. CAI project grows with new and important memberships. Agriculture. 26.1.21, https://www.agricultura.it/2021/01/26/consorzi-agrari-ditalia-cresce-il-progetto-cai-con-nuove-e-importanti-adesioni/

(15) Charles E. Cazzato. Agricultural insurance. AGCM publishes commitments submitted by Codipra. Antitrust Observatory. 3/27/17, https://www.osservatorioantitrust.eu/it/assicurazioni-agricole-lagcm-pubblica-gli-impegni-presentati-da-codipra/

(16) AGCM, Procedure A499. Agricultural insurance/exclusionary behavior Codipra. Provision 22.3.17 no. 26470. V. Bulletin 27.3.17 no. 11, pages 21-22 and attachment, at https://www.agcm.it/pubblicazioni/bollettino-settimanale/2017/11/alias-8674

(17) IVASS Regulation no. 40/2018. Entry requirements (Articles 10, 13, 14)

(18) The public register of insurance intermediaries is available on the IVASS website at https://servizi.ivass.it/RuirPubblica/. Brokers must be registered in Section B of the registry

(19) Participating in CoorDifesa are: the Interregional Consortium for the Defense of Agricultural Adversity, of Casale Monferrato (Al), the Consortium for the Defense of Intensive Production of the Province of Cremona, Condifesa Alessandria, Co.Di.Pa. Verona, Consorzio Interprovinciale per la difesa delle colture agraria dalle avversità atmosferiche ‘Novara Uno’, Consorzio Interprovinciale per la difesa delle colture agraria dalle avversità atmosferiche Vercelli, Consorzio Agridifesa Italia and Co.Di.Pa. Agrigento

(20) Coldiretti chief accountant Raffaele Grandolini is a champion of conflicts of interest (see article in footnote 13). Among the 19 positions of legal representative, out of 24 corporate positions, is that of sole director of Agrifides S.r.l. Agency. To which, among other things, the costs of an employee of Green Assicurazioni Srl would appear to have been transferred

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