Saturday, 29 September 2012

Zurich Insurance Group, the world's largest insurance group

Zurich Insurance Group Ltd. (SIX: ZURN), commonly known as Zurich, is a Swiss Insurance company, headquartered in Zurich, Switzerland. Zurich Insurance Group is Switzerland’s biggest insurer. As of 2011, Zurich was the world’s 79th largest public company according to Forbes’ Global 2000s list and ranked 94th in Interbrands top100 brands.

Zurich Insurance Group Ltd is a global insurance company which is organized into three core business segments: General Insurance, Global Life and Farmers. The company employs around 60,000 people serving customers in more than 170 countries and territories across the globe.

Zurich Insurance Group Ltd is listed on the SIX Swiss Exchange and as of 2011 the Group’s Capital position was strong with shareholders equity of $31.6 billon.


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. The name change reflects that in recent years Zurich has streamlined its business portfolio to concentrate on insurance. 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 “In recognition of this strategic focus, the reference to financial services in the company name has been replaced by indicating the insurance activity of the Group instead and to specify the purpose accordingly.

Financial performance / information
Zurich Insurance Group Ltd (“Zurich”) is listed on the SIX Swiss Exchange under the ticker ZURN. As of the 1st December 2010 there were 147,385,822 fully paid registered shares and 121,715 shareholders. Twenty three percent of the holding of the registered shares were private individuals (14 percent of all issued shares), seven percent were foundations and pension funds (five percent of all issued shares) and 70 percent were other legal entities (44 percent of all issued shares).

In its full year results for 2011 Zurich reported a net income after tax (attributable to shareholders) of $3.8bn[19], an increase of 10% on the previous year, and a business operating profit of $4.3bn. It declared a full year dividend of CHF 17.00, to be paid in April 2012.

The company has a robust capital position with a Solvency 1 ratio of 242% and a Swiss Solvency Test ratio of 190% as of 31 December 2011, far above the minimum capital requirements. The strength of Zurich’s balance sheet is reflected in the reports of the ratings agencies. As of 21 March 2011 Zurich Insurance Company Ltd was rated as ‘AA-/stable’ by Standard and Poor’s, ‘Aa3/stable’ by Moody’s, and A+/stable’ by A.M. Best.