Zurich mulls Irish move for UK life business

INSURANCE giant Zurich has taken another stride towards making Ireland its overreaching business hub, approaching the Financial Services Authority with a view to moving the domicile of its UK life assurance business over to Dublin.

The move comes after Zurich last year brought all its European general insurance businesses under a single Irish “risk-carrying” domicile.

The move is understood to be influenced, at least in part, by the favourable tax regime in Ireland, where corporation tax is 10 per cent rather than the UK’s 28 per cent.

Zurich will continue to pay corporation tax in the UK, but dividends then paid to the Irish sub-holding company will be taxed at the lower rate. Longer-term, the firm could also reap tax benefits if the move attracts more business through Ireland.

Zurich’s decision follows a number of firms moving over to Ireland in protest at the UK’s punishing regime, including Shire Pharmaceuticals, WPP and United Business Media.

“Zurich continues to explore ways to streamline its legal structure and optimise its capital efficiency and we have made no decisions about how this will be achieved within our life businesses,” the insurer said.