Zurich Financial Services


Zurich Financial Services
Zurich Financial Services AG
Type Aktiengesellschaft
Traded as SIX: ZURN
Industry Financial services
Founded 1872
Headquarters Zurich, Switzerland
Key people Martin Senn (CEO), Manfred Gentz (Chairman), Dieter Wemmer (CFO)
Products Life and non-life insurance, pensions, investments
Revenue increase US $67.85 billion (2010)[1]
Profit increase US $3.434 billion (2010)[1]
Total assets increase US $375.7 billion (end 2010)[1]
Total equity increase US $33.32 billion (end 2010)[1]
Employees 54,930 (FTE, 2010)[1]
Website www.zurich.com

Zurich Financial Services AG (SIX: ZURN) is a major financial services group based in Zurich, Switzerland.

Contents

History

The Company was founded in 1872 as subsidiary of the Schweiz Marine Insurance Company under the name Versicherung Verein (Insurance Club).[2] The Company changed its name to Zurich Marine and Accident Insurance in 1875[2] and to Zurich General Accident and Liability Insurance in 1894.[2] In 1982 the Company acquired Altstadt Compagnie d'Assurances SA in Switzerland.[3] In 1998 the Company acquired British American Financial Services, a business owned by BAT Industries comprising Eagle Star (acquired in 1984), Allied Dunbar (acquired in 1985) and the Farmers Group, Inc. (acquired in 1988), for $18.6 billion.[4]

In 2000 the structure of business, which had previously involved dual holding companies (Allied Zurich plc in the UK and Zurich Allied AG in Switzerland), was unified to form one holding company - Zurich Financial Services.[5]

In 2008, Zurich launched its biggest global campaign, and while some of the messaging is about the health of the company's balance sheet (when it recovered, it focused on its core business and avoided risky growth strategies), the effort was developed mainly to assuage consumers' mistrust of the insurance companies in general.

In June 2010 Zurich announced it is creating 240 jobs in Ireland, according to Minister for Enterprise, Trade and Innovation, Batt O'Keeffe TD.[6]

In July 2011 Zurich Financial Services Group (Zurich) announced that it signed definitive agreements with Banco Santander SA (Santander) to enter into a long-term alliance of 25 years in Latin America.[citation needed]

Structure

Zurich offices on East Parade in Leeds.

The Zurich Financial Services Group is a leading supplier of Insurance and Risk Management, specialising in both Life and General Insurance.

The organisation is split into 3 business segments:

  • General Insurance (led by CEO Mario Greco)
  • Global Life (led by CEO Kevin Hogan)
  • Farmers (led by CEO Paul Hopkins)

and 3 operating regions:

  • Europe and Africa (led by Regional Chairman Dieter Wemmer)
  • Americas (led by Regional Chairman Paul Hopkins)
  • Asia Pacific Middle East (led by Regional Chairman Geoff Riddell)
Segment/Region Europe & Africa Asia Pacific Middle East Americas
Group Martin Senn Dieter Wemmer Geoff Riddell Paul Hopkins
General Insurance Mario Greco Markus Hongler n/a Mike Foley
Global Life Kevin Hogan David Sims Dan Bardin David Dietz & Jose Orlando
Farmers Paul Hopkins n/a n/a Paul Hopkins

General Insurance

General Insurance serves individuals, small and medium-sized businesses, commercial enterprises and major multinational corporations.

General Insurance is the largest segment. Within General Insurance, individual business areas focus on specific segments and markets where they see opportunities for sustained and profitable growth.

It is split into a number of divisions:

  • The Europe and Africa(led by Markus Hongler) division offers personal and commercial products through brokers and exclusive agents, independent financial advisers, by phone and through the Internet.
  • North America Commercial (led by Mike Foley) business division serves small and mid-sized businesses and commercial market segments, including specialty lines and the programs sector.
  • The Americas division manages the American business.
  • Global Corporate (led by Mario Vitale) business division, sells domestic and international insurance to national and multinational corporations.
  • The Asia Pacific and Middle East division operates in Asia Pacific, the Middle East and other markets. It serves personal lines and commercial customers directly.

Farmers

The Farmers Insurance Group of Companies is a personal lines property and casualty insurance group providing homeowners insurance, auto insurance, life insurance, and financial services in the United States. It is the third largest insurance group in the US servicing over 10 million households in 41 states. Farmers Group Inc. is headquartered in Los Angeles, California but is 100% owned by Zurich Financial Services based in Zurich, Switzerland.

World Wide Operations and Territories

Zurich manages its business within 3 geographical areas:

  • Europe & Africa (led by Dieter Wemmer)
  • Americas (led by Paul Hopkins)
  • Asia Pacific & Middle East (led by Geoff Riddell)

Europe & Africa

Besides its home market Switzerland, Zurich's key markets in Europe are Austria, Germany, Ireland, Italy, Portugal, Russia, Spain, Turkey and the United Kingdom.

Zurich has major offices in many of the major financial cities in these countries including, London, Birmingham, Leeds, Glasgow, Dublin, Frankfurt, Rome, Milan and the headquarters in Zurich.

Americas

In 1912, Zurich became the first foreign insurer to enter the US market.

The US consumer market is served primarily by Farmers Insurance Group the third largest personal lines property & casualty insurance group in America. Founded in 1928, the Farmers Exchanges and their subsidiaries, which are Zurich managed but not Zurich owned, operate in 41 states through a network of 17,000 exclusive agents and 1,100 independent agents.

The Chicago area-based Zurich American Insurance Company is the third largest provider of commercial property-casualty insurance in North America, serving small business, mid-size markets and large corporate customers. In 2005, Zurich Commercial produced gross written premiums of USD 12.5 billion.[citation needed]

Other Zurich companies in North America include:

Asia Pacific & Middle East

Criticism

In 2006, Zurich Financial Services settled a $171 million case relating to bid rigging and price fixing.[7] "Businesses shopping for commercial insurance were deceived into believing they were getting the best deals available," said Abbott. "The whole anti-competitive scheme was an intentional smoke screen by several insurance players to artificially inflate premiums and pay improper commissions to those who brokered the deals." The states included in the settlement were Texas, California, Florida, Hawaii, Maryland, Massachusetts, Oregon, Pennsylvania and West Virginia. Zurich is also required to pay about $122 million[8] in refunds to commercial policyholders in a New Jersey class action lawsuit[9] settlement.

Zurich Financial Services settled a bid-rigging and improper "finite reinsurance" transactions probe.[10] Zurich Financial agreed to pay $153 million in restitution and penalties and agreed to a series of reforms. Zurich apologized and acknowledged that "certain of its employees violated both acceptable business practices and Zurich's own standards of conduct by engaging in improper bidding practices and the ‘finite reinsurance’ transactions described in the Assurance of Discontinuance." The states included in the settlement were New York, Connecticut and Illinois.

In May 2007, Zurich Capital Markets, a subsidiary of Zurich Financial Services, paid $16.8 million to settle with the United States Securities and Exchange Commission for helping four hedge funds disguise their identities to avoid detection when making frequent trades in mutual fund shares.[11] An SEC director stated, “By knowingly financing their hedge funds clients' deceptive market timing, ZCM reaped substantial fees at the expense of long-term mutual-fund shareholders"[12]

On May 5, 2008 Zurich announced a further 900 job losses in the general insurance sector of their UK operation.[13]

See also

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References

  1. ^ a b c d e "Annual Results 2010" (PDF). Zurich Financial. http://zdownload.zurich.com/main/download/pressrelease/consolidated_financial_statements_yyqh9.pdf. Retrieved 10 February 2011. 
  2. ^ a b c Zurich Financial Services: Timeline (Note: Could not review this reference on May 10, 2011 due to the linked page requiring a login id and password.)
  3. ^ [1]
  4. ^ Zurich to pay BAT $18.6bn for finance units
  5. ^ Unification of companies
  6. ^ Zurich creates 240 jobs in Ireland
  7. ^ Zurich, 9 States Settle Bid-Rigging Case for $171 Million: "Texas and eight other states have reached a $171 million settlement with Zurich American Insurance Co. relating to bid-rigging and price-fixing in the commercial insurance market."
  8. ^ Zurich American Implements Reforms, Pays Consumers Millions
  9. ^ Insurance Brokerage Antitrust Litigation Zurich Settlement: "This website provides general information on the Zurich class action settlement ."
  10. ^ Zurich Settles Bid-Rigging Probe: "Attorney General Eliot Spitzer and State Insurance Department Superintendent Howard Mills today announced an agreement with one of the world’s largest insurance companies to resolve allegations of bid-rigging and improper "finite reinsurance" transactions."
  11. ^ Zurich Financial Settles US Market Timing Case: "In order to buy, exchange and redeem shares in these mutual funds, these hedge funds employed deceptive techniques designed to avoid detection by these mutual funds. ZCM came to learn that the hedge funds were utilizing deceptive practices to market-time mutual funds, and nonetheless ZCM provided financing to them and took administrative steps that substantially assisted them," the SEC said.
  12. ^ Zurich Financial Pays $16.8 Million in SEC Fund Probe : "Zurich Capital Markets, a U.S. subsidiary, helped four hedge funds disguise their identities to avoid detection when making frequent trades in mutual-fund shares, a practice called market timing, the SEC said in statement today.”
  13. ^ InsuranceTimes.co.uk: "Zurich to lay off hundreds of UK jobs.”

External links


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