the Italian startup of the year is an insurtech. Here’s what it does

“Italy is a wonderful market to sell insurance products”. Alberto Genovese, founder of Prima Assicurazioni, points out one of the reasons behind the highest venture capital investments ever seen in Italy: a huge, profitable market, where competitors are rich and weary

Published on 28 Jan 2019

In Italy in 2018 the most important deal of the year has been achieved by Prima Assicurazioni (, an insurtech startup awarded 100 million euros by Goldman Sachs Private Capital Investing and Blackstone Group Tactical Opportunities. One of the most important startup investments ever achieved in Italy. 

This transaction is part of a very positive situation in 2018, as far as the Italian startup environment is concerned, where, according to the most recent reports of the Osservatori of Politecnico di Milano, investments have doubled in total to about 630 million (compared to about 330 million in 2017), and there has also been a breakthrough in the fintech/insurtech segment, where Prima Assicurazioni is part of. 

What does this new company do and why is it so worthwhile to “deserve” such a huge investment? 

Three words: technology, market, team. 

Established in 2015, the company, legally an agency and not an enterprise (relying on Munich Re), is defined as a tech company: the technical staff represents 60% of the company and has developed its own application in-house using the best technologies available and exploiting big data, artificial intelligence, online distribution through aggregators, UX design. A digital-native online agency that has so far invested mainly to date in technology. 

Such an approach has “bothered” the Italian automotive insurance market. 

“Insurance is an incredibly large and extremely profitable industry, where competitors are rich and weary. Easy then to make profits. – said the founder Alberto Genovese in this interview for EconomyUp – Italy is a stunning market for selling insurance, perhaps the first in Europe. The best country worldwide for this business”. 

In addition, automotive insurance sales are a substantial part of this market and, above all, online sales through aggregators are booming, so those who are able to rank high in the marketplaces are gaining market share very quickly. This is what managed to do: in a couple of years, from 6 policies sold in 2015, it has become one of the top ten best-selling insurances in Italy, and the others are longstanding big brands. Currently, the company’s website reports more than 250,000 customers of 

A “great execution”, the result of the efforts of the founders Alberto Genovese (serial innovator, former founder of and recently of brumbrum), George Ottathycal (BCG) and Francesco Banfi (formerly in McKinsey) who managed to involve big professionals in their work: currently the company employs 85 people, 60% are computer technicians (engineers, developers, data scientists, User Experience specialists) who, according to Genovese in the interview “are likely to grow by 2019. The people I speak to most often are from Egon Zendher (an executive search company at the top level, ed.). I need strong people to grow up well.” 

What good intentions for 2019 is going to implement (which is to say, how is it going to manage the 100 million collected)? 

“The hundred million will be used to create a brand, then will be invested in marketing and, according to our second purpose, we want to go offline: set up physical sales points, implementing multi-channel approach, as early as 2019.” 

Yes, because the market is huge and digital goes on, but still many Italians choose personal relationships and feel confident with traditional brands, especially SMEs. 

According to Ania (the Italian insurance comapnies association), in 2017 only about 3% has been sold via the internet.

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