Zurich looking to Dublin for £35bn life unit

ZURICH insurance is considering moving its £35bn UK life business to Dublin under a plan that would mirror the move of its general insurance business across the Irish Sea last year.

The insurer has set up its European headquarters in Dublin and is looking at ways to streamline its legal and capital structure. It moved its Portuguese, German and Spanish general insurance operations to Ireland at the start of this year.

Moving the business to Ireland could save the insurer a significant amount of tax as corporation tax is only 12.5 per cent. However, Zurich claimed this was not the main reason.

Discussions have already taken place with the Financial Services Authority (FSA) over the move, although the insurer insists that its 2m existing policyholders and any new UK customers would still enjoy the same regulatory protections they do currently.

In a statement Zurich said it was exploring ways of streamlining its legal structure and optimising its capital efficiency.