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(Clarifies information in the fifth and sixth paragraphs). Switzerland’s Zurich Financial Services Inc. has changed its management structure to reflect how it manages its insurance businesses globally.
Mario Greco was named chief executive officer of general insurance. John Amore, the current CEO, will step down but will continue as a member of the group executive committee, Zurich said.
Kevin Hogan was named CEO of global life. He is replacing Greco who held the post, said Sean Kevelighan, a spokesman for Zurich Americas.
Since coming to Zurich, Greco successfully implemented a strategy for global life and so “is an ideal candidate” to move to general insurance, Kevelighan said.
Annette Court, CEO of Europe general insurance and a member of the group executive committee, will be leaving “by mutual agreement to pursue other opportunities,” Zurich said. Markus Hongler has been asked by Greco to step in and act as the head of Europe general insurance on an interim basis, while a review of the segment structure is being carried out, Kevelighan said.
Kristof Terryn was named as group head of operations, a new position. He will oversee the group’s shared services, such as information technology.
The appointments take effect July 1.
“These appointments streamline our management structure and reaffirm our successful segment strategy,” said Martin Senn, CEO of Zurich, in a statement. “The segment heads will be responsible for their businesses globally, which will accelerate decision-making and speed to market.”
Zurich also changed its regional structure by creating chairmen for its three geographic regions. They will focus on business development.
Paul Hopkins, who continues as chairman of the board of Zurich’s U.S.-based Farmers Group Inc., was named regional chairman of the Americas.
Geoff Riddell was named regional chairman of Asia-Pacific and the Middle East.
Dieter Wemmer, chief financial officer, was named regional chairman of Europe and Africa.
In 2009, Zurich Financial’s net profit rose 6% in 2009 on gains in its insurance operations and from its investment portfolio. Net profit rose to $3.2 billion from $3 billion a year earlier (BestWire, Feb. 5, 2010). But operating profit for the general insurance segment fell 2% to $3.46 billion. General insurance volume contracted under competitive pressure, as the group sought to maintain underwriting discipline. Lower volumes were particularly pronounced in North America, while Europe experienced “difficult market conditions.”
Zurich Insurance Co. Ltd. currently has a Best’s Financial Strength Rating of A (Excellent). Farmers Insurance Group also currently has a Best’s Financial Strength Rating of A (Excellent).
(By Fran Matso Lysiak, senior associate editor, BestWeek: firstname.lastname@example.org)