Zurich Insurance Group Ltd. is a Swiss insurance company, commonly known as Zurich, headquartered in Zürich, Switzerland. The company is Switzerland's largest insurer. As of 2017, the group is the world's 91st largest public company according to Forbes' Global 2000s list, and in 2011 it ranked 94th in Interbrand's top 100 brands.
Zurich is a global insurance company which is organized into three core business segments: General Insurance, Global Life and Farmers. Zurich employs almost 54,000 people serving customers in more than 170 countries and territories around the globe. The company is listed on the SIX Swiss Exchange. As of 2012 it had shareholders' equity of $34.494 billion.
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 "In recognition of this strategic focus, the reference to financial services in the company name has been replaced by indicating the insurance activity of the Group instead and to specify the purpose accordingly."
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.
Core business segments
Zurich's General Insurance business serves individuals, small and medium-sized businesses and major multinational corporations with motor, home, and commercial products and services.
Zurich's Global Life business offers life insurance, savings, investment and pension products. In the United States life insurance is issued by Zurich American Life Insurance Company with offices in Schaumburg, Illinois, Kansas and New York City.
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.
Corporate social responsibility
In 2009, Zurich was awarded Charity Times "Best Insurance Services" 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.
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. Zurich was one of the first recipients of the Community Mark from Business in the Community which it has successfully retained for three years.
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.
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.
Zurich began a relationship with SBP, a disaster relief organization based in New Orleans, at its Zurich Classic golf tournament in New Orleans. Over the next five years, more than 1,000 Zurich employees, customers, brokers, and distributors volunteered with SBP to rebuild homes in New Orleans, Staten Island and Joplin, until in April 2014, the company announced that its Z Zurich Foundation would give SBP a $3 million grant over three years. The grant would go towards creating a Disaster Resilience and Recovery Lab—a disaster relief model that propagates best practices learned in New Orleans after Katrina to communities affected by future disasters.
In 2011, Zurich launched a free online resource – My Community Starter – designed to make getting involved in community activities more simple.
In March 2012, Zurich reinforced its commitment to the Z Zurich foundation by making a substantial investment of $100 million.
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).
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 and 124,847 shareholders. 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).
In 2019, the local branch of Zurich Insurance Group was one of four insurance companies fined by Portugal’s competition authority AdC for “cartel practices” regarding workplace accident, health and auto insurance.
In 2006, Zurich Financial Services settled a $171 million case relating to bid rigging and price fixing in the United States. "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 in refunds to commercial policyholders in a New Jersey class action lawsuit settlement.
Zurich Financial Services settled a bid-rigging and improper "finite reinsurance" transactions probe. 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. 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"
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. 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%".