Zurich Insurance Seeks Growth beyond Car Coverage in Germany

By | December 6, 2013

Zurich Insurance Group AG’s German unit, which sells auto insurance with the country’s ADAC automobile club, plans to offer a wider range of policies after reducing coverage following a surprise write-off last year.

“Our mid-term goal is to reduce dependency on car insurance,” Ralph Brand, head of the Swiss insurer’s German unit, which contributes about 10 percent to premiums, told reporters at a press meeting in Cologne, Germany on Dec. 4. “We need to become more profitable and to switch gear from keeping our market position to growth.”

The German unit, based in Bonn, had premiums of €6.1 billion ($8.3 billion) in 2012 and stopped selling life insurance with guaranteed returns this year, to focus on less capital intensive unit-linked products.

Switzerland’s biggest insurer increased provisions at its German general insurance business by about $550 million in October 2012 and in February said it had set aside a further $130 million to cover potential claims losses at the division.

“The reserving issue is over,” Brand said. “We have learned from that and taken the necessary precautions to make sure this won’t happen again.”

–Editors: Jon Menon, Simone Meier

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