Bill Skapof/Photo: Generali

Generali is expanding its U.S. global corporate and commercial operations with the opening of offices in Chicago and San Francisco in a bid to grab more business from U.S. multinational companies.

The Italian insurer’s growth comes through its Generali Global Corporate & Commercial Arm, which launched in early 2015 in order to handle direct business in the U.S. for U.S. multinational clients that have both domestic and international exposures.

Generali has had operations in New York for some time, but the office has traditionally focused on supporting its overseas network and its foreign clients with U.S. exposures. Its U.S. expansion for global corporate and commercial is meant to address U.S. multinational clients with U.S. and international exposures.

Bill Skapof, head of GC&C U.S.A., said plans to expand westward in the United States are a significant milestone.

“It’s very exciting,” Skapof told Carrier Management in a telephone interview. He said that Generali’s decision to begin a U.S. expansion in 2015 for its Global Corporate & Commercial business reflects recognition “that you can’t really be a global provider of multinational insurance and not be present in the U.S. market.”

Skapof acknowledged Generali’s expansion in Global Corporate & Commercial comes at tough time for the sector in the U.S. with a soft market. But the insurer has a long-range strategy in mind.

“The issue is you have to be able to operate across the cycle, so essentially, we’ve hired very experienced people [who have] been through cycles, understand the mechanisms and how they work,” Skapof said. “We built a plan around the current market conditions, and we’re doing very, very well. As long as we maintain our focus and discipline, it is an important capability [to have] to be able to operate in both the hard and soft market.”

Acknowledging there are many other players in this market segment, Skapof said that “we’re never going to be the biggest, but we want to be relevant, and I think we can do that by being a little bit more flexible, and being a little bit more responsive” than Generali’s competitors.

He added that the insurer is looking to differentiate itself in the expansion by focusing on “value beyond the policy,” in areas including client/broker relationships.

To help support the expansion, Generali Global Corporate & Commercial hired two new U.S. executives: Jennifer Winters, VP Foreign Casualty in New York, and Ana Raducan, VP Foreign Casualty to be based in San Francisco. Winters is a veteran executives from companies including XL Catlin and AIG. Raducan has held previous positions at Chubb and ABD Insurance & Financial Services.

Generali Global Corporate & Commercial U.S. A. currently employs 50 employees, and its initial expansion began in late 2016. The company said additional employees and resources will be added as needed. Generali employs 700 people in the U.S. in all subsidiaries, and 70,000 globally, according to a company spokesperson.