Zurich aims to keep it simple by bringing life and non-life units together

Hayley Kirton
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The insurance company hopes the move will result in better service for customers (Source: Getty)

Zurich revealed its next step in simplifying its business model today, including bringing its life and non-life units together under the same leadership team.

The insurance company has previously been working to bring the two divisions of its business closer together in markets such as Switzerland, Germany and Italy.

In a statement, the company said that it hoped the shift would bring greater accountability, reduced complexity and more empowered teams, as well as allowing it to focus more on customers.

"This new organisation will be more agile and more accountable, with a clearer line of sight between the top of the company and the people looking after our customers," said group chief executive Mario Greco.

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"I want to renew the sense of an ambitious, entrepreneurial and innovative culture at Zurich, where talented team members put the customer at the centre of everything they do and have all the tools to develop their business within a clearly defined framework towards a shared vision for the company overall."

The company also announced it was creating the new role of operating chief, appointing Kristof Terryn to the position. Meanwhile, Robert Dickie, current operations and technology chief, has revealed he is stepping down from his role.

The company statement said today's shakeup was prompted by changes in the insurance industry at large, but a below par set of results for its most recent financial year have probably also given Zurich something to think about.

Read more: Zurich predicts storm losses of $275m

The company announced in February that its operating profits had dropped 37 per cent while its net income attributable to shareholders was down 53 per cent. At the time, even interim chief executive Tom de Swaan called the result "disappointing".

Today's announcement is also one of the first major moves former Generali chief Greco has made since taking up the helm at Zurich earlier this year.

Greco said today:

Zurich is a sound business with an excellent brand, a strong capital position and adequate reserves. The company has excellent people around the globe and I count on them to shape our successful future. The business has been improving its profitability in recent months, as evidenced by 2016 first quarter results. The changes announced today reinforce this positive momentum

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