Zurich Insurance Group

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Zurich Insurance Group Ltd.
Type Aktiengesellschaft
Traded as SIXZURN
OTCQXZURVY
Industry Financial services
Founded 1872
Headquarters Zürich, Switzerland
Key people
Tom de Swaan (Chairman)
Martin Senn (CEO)
Products Life and non-life insurance, pensions, investments
Revenue Increase US$ 70.414 billion (2012)[1]
Total assets Increase US$ 409.267 billion (2012)[1]
Total equity Increase US$ 34.494 billion (2012)[1]
Employees 60,000 (2012)[1]
Website www.zurich.com

Zurich Insurance Group Ltd. (SIXZURN) is a Swiss insurance company, commonly known as Zurich, headquartered in Zürich, Switzerland. The company is Switzerland's largest insurer.[2] As of 2013, the group was the world's 75th largest public company according to Forbes' Global 2000s list,[3] and in 2011 it ranked 94th in Interbrand's top100 brands.[4]

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 across the globe.[5] The company is listed on the SIX Swiss Exchange. As of 2012 its capital position was strong, with shareholders equity of $34.494 billon.[6]

History[edit]

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. 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.[citation needed]

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 "In recognition of this strategic focus, the reference to financial services in the company name has been replaced by indicating the insurance activity of the Group instead and to specify the purpose accordingly."[7]

Core business segments[edit]

General Insurance[edit]

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[edit]

Zurich's Global Life business offers life insurance,[8] 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.[9]

Farmers[edit]

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.[10]

Corporate Social Responsibility[edit]

In 2009, Zurich was awarded Charity Times "Best Insurance Services"[11] 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.[12]

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.[13] Zurich was one of the first recipients of the Community Mark from Business in the Community which it has successfully retained for three years.[14]

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.[15]

As of March 2012, Zurich reinforced its commitment to the Z Zurich foundation by making a substantial investment of $100 million.[16]

In 2011, Zurich launched a free online resource –My Community Starter – designed to make getting involved in community activities more simple.[17]

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).[18]

Financial performance/information[edit]

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[6] and 124,847 shareholders.[19] 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).[19]

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.[6] 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 and Poor's, ‘Aa3/stable’ by Moody's, and A+/stable’ by A.M. Best.[6] All figures below are for the year ended 31 December and are in USD millions unless stated otherwise.[6]

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

Criticism[edit]

In 2006, Zurich Financial Services settled a $171 million case relating to bid rigging and price fixing.[20] "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[21] in refunds to commercial policyholders in a New Jersey class action lawsuit[22] settlement.

Zurich Financial Services settled a bid-rigging and improper "finite reinsurance" transactions probe.[23] 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.[24] 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"[25]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c d "Annual Report 2012". 
  2. ^ "Zurich Says Board Will Propose Ackermann as Chairman", Bloomberg,com, 13 March 2012; accessed 27 April 2014.
  3. ^ "The World's Biggest Public Companies" Forbes.com; retrieved 12 September 2013.
  4. ^ "Best Global Brands 2011", Interbrand; retrieved 25 April 2012.
  5. ^ "About us", Zurich.com; retrieved 25 April 2012.
  6. ^ a b c d e ZIG profile, zurich.com; accessed 27 April 2014.
  7. ^ "Zurich name change completed", InsuranceDaily.co.uk, 4 April 2012; accessed 27 April 2014.
  8. ^ [1]:"Investors' Day – Focus on Execution p34." Zurich.com. Retrieved 25 April 2012
  9. ^ Zurich in North America – History. Zurichna.com (7 May 2013). Retrieved on 4 September 2013.
  10. ^ [2]: "About Farmers." Farmers.com. Retrieved 25 April 2012
  11. ^ "2009: The Winners", Charity Times.com; accessed 27 April 2014.
  12. ^ Charity Times Hall of Fame; accessed 27 April 2014.
  13. ^ "Zurich Community Trust"; accessed 27 April 2014.
  14. ^ "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.
  15. ^ "Z Zurich Foundation, Annual Report 2010, p. 1; accessed 27 April 2014.
  16. ^ "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.
  17. ^ "Fear factor holding back community volunteering", TheGuardian.co.uk; retrieved 25 April 2012.
  18. ^ IFRC; zurich.com; accessed 27 April 2014.
  19. ^ a b "Shareholders information", Zurich.com; accessed 27 April 2014.
  20. ^ 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."
  21. ^ Zurich American Implements Reforms, Pays Consumers Millions
  22. ^ Insurance Brokerage Antitrust Litigation Zurich Settlement: "This website provides general information on the Zurich class action settlement ."
  23. ^ 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."
  24. ^ 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.
  25. ^ 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."

External links[edit]