Zurich Insurance Group

Zurich Insurance Group Ltd.
Traded as SIX: ZURN
Industry Financial services
Founded 1872 (1872)
Headquarters Zürich, Switzerland
Key people
Tom de Swaan(Chairman)
Mario Greco, CEO
Products Life and non-life insurance, pensions, investments
Revenue Decrease US$ 67.988 billion (2015)[1]
Total assets Decrease US$ 381.972 billion (2015)[2]
Total equity Decrease US$ 32.904 billion (2015)[2]
Number of employees
55,000 (2015)[3]
Website www.zurich.com

Zurich Insurance Group Ltd. (SIX: ZURN) is a Swiss insurance company, commonly known as Zurich, headquartered in Zürich, Switzerland. The company is Switzerland's largest insurer.[4] As of 2015, the group was the world's 78th largest public company according to Forbes' Global 2000s list,[5] and in 2011 it ranked 94th in Interbrand's top100 brands.[6]

Zurich is a global insurance company which is organized into three core business segments: General Insurance, Global Life and Farmers. Zurich employs around 60,000 people serving customers in more than 170 countries and territories around the globe.[7] The company is listed on the SIX Swiss Exchange. As of 2012 its capital position was strong, with shareholders' equity of $34.494 billion.[8]


The company was founded in 1872 as a marine reinsurance under the name "Versicherungs-Verein" (Insurance Association), a subsidiary of the Schweiz Marine Company. In 2000, after a number of acquisitions, it was unified to form one holding company – Zurich Financial Services.

In April 2012, Zurich Financial Services Ltd changed its name to Zurich Insurance Group Ltd. In a statement the Group explained the rationale behind the name change. "In recognition of this strategic focus, the reference to financial services in the company name has been replaced by indicating the insurance activity of the Group instead and to specify the purpose accordingly."[9]

In December 2015, the group's CEO Martin Senn (who committed suicide on May 27, 2016) announced his resignation. Despite years of highly profitable business operations the focus was put on recent events which forced Mr. Senn to step down. Ad-Interim Chairman Tom de Swaan took over as acting CEO.[10]

On 26 January 2016, it was announced that Zurich had poached Mario Greco, CEO of Generali as its next chief executive, and that he would start on 1 May.[11]

Core business segments

General Insurance

Zurich's General Insurance business serves individuals, small and medium-sized businesses and major multinational corporations with motor, home, and commercial products and services.

Global Life

Zurich's Global Life business offers life insurance,[12] savings, investment and pension products. In the United States life insurance is issued by Zurich American Life Insurance Company with offices in Schaumburg, Illinois and New York City.[13]


Zurich's Farmers segment includes Farmers Management Services, which provides non-claims related management services to the Farmers Exchanges (not owned by Zurich), as well as the Farmers RE business which includes reinsurance assumed from the Farmers Exchange by the Group. Zurich’s Farmers Insurance Group is the third largest insurance group in the United States.[14]

Corporate social responsibility

In 2009, Zurich was awarded Charity Times "Best Insurance Services"[15] and was shortlisted again in 2010. In 2012 the Zurich Community Trust (UK) won the Cross Sector Partnership of the Year Award for its partnership with the treatment charity Addaction.[16]

According to its website, Zurich Community Trust has donated over £60 million since 1972, with the goal of addressing key social issues. It has supported over 600 charities a year, making a measurable impact on the lives of over 80,000 people.[17] Zurich was one of the first recipients of the Community Mark from Business in the Community which it has successfully retained for three years.[18]

At a group level, the Z Zurich Foundation's mission is to help individuals and communities understand and manage risk, leveraging Zurich's core strengths as an insurer. Zurich is achieving this aim by working with long-term partnership with select non-profit organizations such as Practical Action, the Rainforest Alliance, and the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies.[19]

In March 2012, Zurich reinforced its commitment to the Z Zurich foundation by making a substantial investment of $100 million.[20]

In 2011, Zurich launched a free online resource – My Community Starter – designed to make getting involved in community activities more simple.[21]

On 24 October 2002, Zurich North America hosted a ceremony at the 9/11 Tribute Center honoring the winners of its 2012 K.A.M.P. awards, a program created as a living legacy to the four employees killed on 9/11: John Keohane, Peggy Alario, Kathy Moran and Ludwig Picarro.[22]

In March 2013, Zurich announced its global flood resilience program, which aims to enhance community flood resilience by finding innovative ways to increase the impact of disaster risk reduction efforts at community, national and global levels. The first country program is taking place in Mexico and Indonesia. To maximize the community impact of the program, Zurich has formed a strategic alliance with the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC).[23]

Financial performance/information

Zurich offices in Madrid, Spain.

Zurich Insurance Group Ltd ("Zurich") is listed on the SIX Swiss Exchange under the ticker ZURN. As of 1 December 2012 there were 148,300,123 fully paid registered shares[8] and 124,847 shareholders.[24] 24.7% of the holding of the registered shares were private individuals (15.3% of all outstanding shares), 7.2% were foundations and pension funds (4.5% of all outstanding shares) and 68.1% were other legal entities (42.3% of all outstanding shares).[24]

In its full year results for 2012 Zurich reported a net income after tax (attributable to shareholders) of $3.878 billion, an increase of 3% on the previous year, and a business operating profit of $4.075 billion. A full year dividend of CHF 17.00 per share was approved at the Annual General Meeting.[8] The company has a Solvency 1 ratio of 278% as of 31 December 2012 and a Swiss Solvency Test ratio of 178% as of 1 July 2012, far above the minimum capital requirements. The strength of Zurich’s balance sheet is reflected in the reports of the ratings agencies. As of 31 December 2012, Zurich was rated as ‘AA-/stable’ by Standard & Poor's, ‘Aa3/stable’ by Moody's, and A+/stable’ by A.M. Best.[8] All figures below are for the year ended 31 December and are in USD millions unless stated otherwise.[8]

Year ended 31 December Revenue ($m) Business Operating Profit (BOP) ($m) Income attributable to shareholders ($m) Basic earnings per share (CHF)
2012 70,414 4,075 3,878 24.79
2011 52,983 4,243 3,750 22.69


In 2006, Zurich Financial Services settled a $171 million case relating to bid rigging and price fixing in the United States.[25] "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[26] in refunds to commercial policyholders in a New Jersey class action lawsuit[27] settlement.

Zurich Financial Services settled a bid-rigging and improper "finite reinsurance" transactions probe.[28] 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.[29] 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"[30]

In 2015, small business owners and property developers in Britain complained that Zurich’s British subsidiary, Dunbar Bank, had treated them unfairly by calling in loans quickly in order to wind down its loan book after the parent company pulled out of the specialist UK property market in 2010. They claimed that 71 Dunbar borrowers had been made bankrupt in the following five-year period, many more than by any of Britain’s very much larger high street banks.[31] One Dunbar customer wrote: "Dunbar’s latest set of accounts show that over 95% of its loan book is now classified as impaired or overdue […] the equivalent figure for UK Asset Resolution, the country’s bad bank, is just 37%".[32]


  1. "Annual Report 2015". Zurich. Retrieved 2016-05-30.
  2. 1 2 "Annual Report 2015". Zurich. Retrieved 2016-05-30.
  3. "Annual Report 2015". Zurich. Retrieved 2016-05-30.
  4. "Zurich Says Board Will Propose Ackermann as Chairman", Bloomberg,com, 13 March 2012; accessed 27 April 2014.
  5. "The World's Biggest Public Companies" Forbes.com; retrieved 12 September 2013.
  6. "Best Global Brands 2011" Archived 26 April 2012 at the Wayback Machine., Interbrand; retrieved 25 April 2012.
  7. "About us" Archived 21 April 2012 at the Wayback Machine., Zurich.com; retrieved 25 April 2012.
  8. 1 2 3 4 5 ZIG profile, zurich.com; accessed 27 April 2014.
  9. "Zurich name change completed", InsuranceDaily.co.uk, 4 April 2012; accessed 27 April 2014.
  10. JeffVogeli, Jan-Henrik Foerster JanFoe Jeffrey Voegeli. "Zurich Insurance CEO Senn Steps Down After Recent `Setbacks'". Bloomberg.com. Retrieved 2016-04-28.
  11. Arosio, Paola (2013-01-24). "Zurich Insurance poaches Generali chief Mario Greco". Reuters. Retrieved 2016-01-26.
  12. ""Investors' Day – Focus on Execution" (PDF). Zurich.com. p. 34. Retrieved 25 April 2012.
  13. Zurich in North America – History. Zurichna.com (7 May 2013). Retrieved on 4 September 2013.
  14. "About Farmers." Farmers.com. Retrieved 25 April 2012
  15. "2009: The Winners", Charity Times.com; accessed 27 April 2014.
  16. Charity Times Hall of Fame Archived 20 August 2013 at the Wayback Machine.; accessed 27 April 2014.
  17. "Zurich Community Trust" Archived 11 April 2011 at the Wayback Machine.; accessed 27 April 2014.
  18. "Business in the Community, Zurich Financial Services Ltd, the insurance-based financial services provider, has successfully retained the CommunityMark for a further three years", bitc.org.uk; retrieved 25 April 2012.
  19. ""Z Zurich Foundation, Annual Report 2010"" (PDF). Zurich.com. p. 1. Retrieved 27 April 2014.
  20. "Zurich invests USD 100 million into the Z Zurich Foundation and provides further evidence for the increasing social and economic role of insurance", 4-traders.com, 22 March 2012; accessed 27 April 2014.
  21. "Fear factor holding back community volunteering", TheGuardian.co.uk; retrieved 25 April 2012.
  22. "Zurich North America Honors 2012 K.A.M.P. Award Winners". 3BL Media. 2012-11-09. Retrieved 2016-01-26.
  23. IFRC Archived 18 October 2013 at the Wayback Machine.; zurich.com; accessed 27 April 2014.
  24. 1 2 "Shareholders information", Zurich.com; accessed 27 April 2014.
  25. 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."
  26. Zurich American Implements Reforms, Pays Consumers Millions Archived 23 June 2007 at the Wayback Machine.
  27. Insurance Brokerage Antitrust Litigation Zurich Settlement: "This website provides general information on the Zurich class action settlement ."
  28. 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."
  29. 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.
  30. 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."
  31. Hurley, James (30 March 2015). "Dunbar faces challenge over 'bankruptcy' policy". The Times. London. Retrieved 13 May 2015.
  32. "Done over by Dunbar". Private Eye. London. 15 May 2015. p. 31.
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