We talked about who we are in the September 2022 issue of Ticino Welcome. You can find below an extract from the interview with Francesco Soldati, in which he talks about our company and its empathetic approach to clients.
In your presentation, you define yourselves as “the largest SME broker operating in this sector”, which can “keep the pace even with the largest operators in this sector”. What does this mean?
“The spectrum of insurance brokers operating in Ticino is made up of around seventy companies. However, in terms of premiums collected, no more than around ten of them have a significant market share. We can say that we feature within this select band of operators. However, in contrast to the other major players with which we compete, we do not have highly complex organisational structures, and also do not have a large number of employees and/or staff on the payroll. This means that we have been able to achieve positive results mainly thanks to the relationship that we have built up with our clients, coupled with the quality of the services provided by us. I like to repeat that our work comes 51% from passion and the heart, and 49% from the head, that is the ability to understand clients’ needs and to satisfy them in the best way possible. I would even say that it’s the empathetic touch within human relations and the passion guiding all of our actions that make the difference”.
What have been the main stages along your journey that resulted in you assuming this significant role within the panorama of insurance brokers operating in Ticino?
“I have been working in insurance since 1985 when, almost by chance, I started to work for a large insurance group. The choice to set up 1291 Insurance Brokers SA was driven by my desire to branch out on my own, drawing on the depth of experience accumulated over the years, rooted in an approach to business – and more fundamentally a philosophy of life in general – centred on assistance and mutual support. These values act as our lodestone within a delicate profession, which calls for tact, the ability to listen and understanding. Since we deal with the private and professional lives of men and women, we have to learn how to recognise and understand, day after day”.
You offer a full-spectrum service. In what ways do you assist your clients in the various phases of an insurance relationship?
“It’s absolutely essential to get the little things right. This is a principle that both I and my colleagues constantly apply within our everyday work. We are always willing to pick up the phone or respond to emails at any time of day, catering to any type of need with professionalism, passion and dynamism: standing at the client’s side rather than preaching from on high across the desk. Our way of working focuses on the solutions that we seek out openly and transparently in the interest of the client. Thanks to our experience built up over the years, we have learned above all how to listen, to ask the right questions and to understand clients’ needs. We analyse our clients’ operations, wealth and assets, identifying points of strength as well as sources of fragility. We examine in detail any existing insurance contracts and policies. We engage with our clients across the board, looking at what works, any aspects that in our view are not currently aligned with needs and expectations, as well as anything that is superfluous. Step by step we assess the client’s overall insurance position and present our offers drawn up from an overall systemic perspective, although obviously illustrating them in detail. Finally, we define relations with the different insurance companies. We also work – often following referrals by lawyers or fiduciaries – with foreign citizens who intend to transfer their residence to Switzerland and require specific assistance in various areas, including beyond the narrow field of insurance”.
Undoubtedly a fundamental aspect of your advisory activity is the quality of your staff…
“We invest a lot in our staff, building up their training and expertise and improving their advisory style. I am absolutely convinced of the need to impart to everyone the importance of emotional intelligence, which must be applied not only within business relations but also first and foremost within human relations. This is because it is ultimately human relationships that make the difference. Since the outset I have striven to make 1291 Insurance Brokers a genuine “glass house”, so to speak, whilst also guaranteeing absolute respect for the client’s privacy. A place where transparent action and behaviour is a value shared by all, from senior management right down to the apprentice who, from the first day on the job, is welcomed into what is primarily a family rooted in values, respect, solidarity and mutual assistance. Both amongst ourselves and in our dealings with clients”.
You recently overhauled your website. More generally, what are your communication and marketing strategies?
“When I set up 1291 Insurance Brokers I wanted to include that date as it recalls the year in which representatives from the Cantons of Uri, Schwyz and Unterwalden founded the alliance that would later give rise to modern Switzerland: a country of free people living according to the motto of ‘All for one and one for all’. I wanted our logo to recall the form of a shield, symbolising the defence of those constitutive values. The world has changed a lot since then. Our ‘shield’ has also come to mean an attention to and adaptation in line with all the transformations, including primarily technological and digital change, that have changed our work over the years, without however renouncing that aspect of Swissness that for us stands for ethics, professionalism, reliability and efficacy. It is this sense of belonging to Switzerland that has also led us to celebrate our country’s natural beauty as well as its social and cultural successes in our annual calendars”. And in the logo I wanted to recall the shape of a shield symbolizing the defense of those constituent values. Since then the world has changed profoundly, and our “shield” has also opened to signify our attention to and adaptation to all the transformations, primarily technological and digital, that have altered our work over time, without, however, renouncing a Swiss way of being that means ethics, professionalism, reliability and effectiveness for us. And this Swiss sense of belonging also relates to the publication of a calendar each have that pays tribute to the environmental, social and cultural excellences that distinguish our country.”