Zurich to focus on full commercial and global corporate range in three-year strategy

11
Apr
2014
An increased focus on the global corporate sector; further expansion into the small to medium enterprise (SME) market; and better tailored products for larger Australian companies, are at the heart of a three-year local strategy confirming Zurich’s long-term commitment to Australia.

The strategy was announced today by Zurich Australia’s CEO of General Insurance Business for Australia and New Zealand, Daniel Fogarty, and CEO of Zurich’s General Insurance Business for the Asia Pacific region, Stuart Spencer.

Mr Fogarty said the strategy was in-line with Zurich’s global strategy and Zurich’s General Insurance Business in Asia Pacific. It aims to deliver profitable growth by prioritising its resources on the markets and customer segments where the company has a distinct leadership position.

The strategy includes additional focus on the Global Corporate business segment; further penetration into the small and medium enterprise (SME) market by leveraging competitive advantage in technology; and tailoring solutions for mid size and large Australian companies to provide flexibility and solutions reflecting the environment in the middle market.

“Our global CEO, Martin Senn, outlined our commitment earlier this year to Prime Minister Tony Abbott in Switzerland prior to the World Economic Forum,” Mr Fogarty said.

“The free trade agreements with our Asian trading partners (Japan and South Korea) signed earlier this week, further encourages the international expansion plans of our customers in this region.

“This liberalisation of trade is expected to continue and will further encourage the international expansion of Australian businesses

“Our focus in Global Corporate will be led by the appointments of a dedicated Executive General Manager for the Global Corporate business segment and the appointment of Kai Dwyer, a highly experienced leader as Head of International Sales and Distribution,” Mr Fogarty said.

Bobby Lehane will take up responsibility for a new Commercial segment – combining Small Medium Enterprise and Middle Market as Executive General Manager.

Mr Fogarty also announced the appointment of Shaun Feely to a newly created and wide ranging role of Chief Operating Officer. Mr Feely will have a mandate to bring even greater customer focus to both underwriting servicing and internal operations. He returns to Australia from his position as Head of Strategic Planning & Business Execution for GI Asia Pacific in Hong Kong.

“Zurich Australia’s strategy will see the company’s plan to grow its investment in information technology (IT) this year and broaden its range of technology products to further strengthen its position in the SME market.

“Our investment in technology will bring benefits to both our brokers and customers. “Innovation leads to new, previously unthought-of risk scenarios – like cyber security.

“This week an encryption tool used by major internet players was found to be flawed – news reports say it could have affected two-thirds of active websites and it has been a risk for two years.

“Business must insure itself against these risks,” Mr Fogarty said.

Mr Spencer, who has been in Australia to outline Zurich’s Group strategy and what it means for the region,  detailed Zurich’s regional plans and how Australia’s strategy aligned with Zurich globally.

“Zurich has a strong General Insurance business in Asia Pacific and is committed to the region. We believe there are significant growth opportunities in Asia Pacific and in Australia and we are ready to invest further in this market.

“Zurich has identified SME and customer segments as priority targets, and this is strongly reflected in Zurich Australia’s strategy,” Mr Spencer said.

“The strength of Zurich’s strategy is agility. We plan to take the best of Zurich’s global capabilities and merge with local expertise and knowledge,” Mr Spencer said.

The rise of Asia has been carefully incorporated into the regional strategy.

“Zurich is positioned to take advantage of the underlying macroeconomic trend of rising income in emerging Asia,” Mr Spencer said.

“Greater asset ownership (vehicles, property) and higher incomes increases demand for insurance.

“As society’s expectations rise, there is a disparity between these expectations and the ability of the state to provide coverage. “We have found there is a general lack of awareness of risk and the need for insurance in some Asian markets.

“Cultural differences have certainly contributed towards this comparative lack of awareness.

“Positively however, we are seeing an increasing recognition of the need to protect against risks in Asia,” Mr Spencer said.

The announcement follows Mr Fogarty’s recent national briefings with brokers and clients around the country where they discussed Zurich’s strategy for Australia.

ENDS

For further information contact:

Helen Black
Head of Marketing, Communications & Customer
Zurich Financial Services Australia
Business ph: +61 (02) 9995 1368

Zurich Insurance Group (Zurich) is a leading multi-line insurer that serves its customers in global and local markets. With about 55,000 employees, it provides a wide range of general insurance and life insurance products and services. Zurich’s customers include individuals, small businesses, and mid-sized and large companies, including multinational corporations, in more than 170 countries. The Group is headquartered in Zurich, Switzerland, where it was founded in 1872. The holding company, Zurich Insurance Group Ltd (ZURN), is listed on the SIX Swiss Exchange and has a level I American Depositary Receipt (ZURVY) program, which is traded over-the-counter on OTCQX. Further information about Zurich is available at www.zurich.com.