March 2020 - Interview with Jean Gazançon, CEO ARTE Generali for the magazine “All About Italy”

1. You bring with yourself an extensive international experience developed in Europe, Japan and LatAm in the fields of art, art insurance and asset management. On the basis of your professional experience, what remarkable sign can Arte Generali leave in its business segment?

In my previous experiences in the field of art insurance I was struck by how heavy the administrative processes were, to the point that sometimes they could even depress the motivation of art specialists and jeopardize the relation with art collectors. Arte Generali allowed me to develop a new operating model, enhanced by a digital platform and fueled by a corporate culture focused on innovation and on the “Life-Time Partnership” concept. The result is something very innovative for this market segment, because it offers art collectors solutions that reduce bureaucracy and enable them to live their passion freely. To the Arte Generali clients, we provide much more than an insurance product: Concierge service and digital tools are essential components of our proposition.

2. Generali invests in this new project also with its technological know-how, betting on innovation and new technologies. Is the future key to safeguard the past?

Of course. Let me explain you how our digital platform works. We will integrate in a single web app remote evaluation service for art pieces, a private virtual gallery where our clients can “store” their collections and share them with friends and family, and 24/7 assistance. Often people ask me how we can prevent frauds by adopting a digital evaluation system. The answer is that our system is better than traditional ones in detecting counterfeits, as today the majority of art insurance policies are issued on the back of self-declarations made by clients. Arte Generali provides remote evaluations performed by a network of selected experts: Clients are requested to submit photos of the art piece as well as additional information such as the certificate of origin, if existing. If any doubt about the authenticity arises or for very pricey items, Arte Generali activates an expert for a physical check. The premium is defined amongst many parameters also by the preservation status and the origin certificates. Last, I’d like to emphasize that our digital platform adopts the most advanced data protection standards in coherence with our approach. 

3. How does the protection offered by an insurer contribute to – in addition to the preservation – the development and the sharing of art?

I’d like to start answering your question by mentioning Arte Generali’s purpose, i.e. its long-term mission. Our purpose is to promote the sharing of art and creativity as values for society by taking care of the protection of any form of art and of its transmission from one generation to the next. We are convinced that owning an art piece requires that the owner pays a particular care so that the piece is safe, well preserved and restored when needed. I believe that the preservation of an art piece’s integrity is the duty of any art lover, who is a humble custodian for next generations to enjoy. With this philosophy in mind, Arte Generali aims not only to guarantee the compensation in case of claim – thus enabling the restoration when needed – but also to accompany the art collector through different phases of her or his life, advising her or him about the best preservation techniques and therefore preventing potential damages. Arte Generali is not only protection, but also and more importantly prevention, assistance and partnership. Moreover, an insured collector is more prone to lend her or his art piece for the community to enjoy it, for instance to a temporary exhibition. Last, I’d like to underline that choosing Arte Generali means joining an art community with other art lovers who share the same passion for an artist, a style or a period. This community is animated by our staff of experts, for instance through high-standing events and private exhibition tours.

4. Which are the keywords that will accompany Arte Generali’s journey?

They are our differentiating factors: passion, engagement, expertise, service, care, concierge, prevention, partnership, innovation, digitization, simplicity.

5. For Arte Generali’s launch campaign, you chose Oliviero Toscani as the ‘director’ and Maurizio Cattelan as the ‘model’. What do these two ambassadors tell?

Oliviero and Maurizio created an ironic, debunking and destabilizing campaign. This is exactly what we were looking for to generate a strong visual impact while communicating a sense of change in the art insurance business, traditionally quite conservative. Such a change is reflected by the disruption that we believe Arte Generali will bring about in the sector thanks to its unique and unprecedented features, which I have described previously. Personally, I recognize the campaign’s ironic side, as Maurizio pretends to be stealing two of his most famous artworks, including “America” which was actually stolen from a museum in England in September 2019. Cattelan himself said: “Arte Generali’s brand campaign juxtaposes the risk run by art collectors of their art pieces being stolen with the metaphorical act of stealing that every artist commits. My whole career has been based on the non-existence of originality – in other words, the ability to invent by adding to something that has been invented already, or the ability to elicit unexpected emotions by triggering emotions that one felt already before.”