Zurich North America Cuts 400 Jobs

April 11, 2008

  • April 11, 2008 at 11:46 am
    Henry says:
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    Im not surprised. Plus I heard this is just the first shoe to fall. The company really has lost its way. The service stinks and underwriting is first grade.

    The Glendale office is mergering. That means more lost jobs in a recession.

  • April 12, 2008 at 12:02 pm
    Steve says:
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    First off…Zurich just posted a great 2007. Secondly, the painful reality of a soft market like this is to try and trim costs.

    Seems to me with the Farmers takeover of small business, and trimming some jobs, Zurich is just digging in thier heals for the longer than expected soft market.

    Zurich is huge….top 3 in just about every P&C line out there. Just watch…others will follow.

  • April 11, 2008 at 12:45 pm
    INSURANCE HUSTLE N FLOW says:
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    Agreed. I used to work with Zurich with their Builders Risk and Small Business. Other than Builders Risk, their appetite sucks, especially for BOPs in California- they should just give up. I did not enjoy working with Zurich. I found companies like Safeco etc. to do a better job all around- pricing, online systems, etc.

  • April 11, 2008 at 1:11 am
    Ferdinand says:
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    Does Zurich even write in North America?

  • April 11, 2008 at 1:27 am
    MATTBALT says:
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    I wonder how much this has do with transfering small commercial to Farmers?

  • April 11, 2008 at 1:31 am
    John Q says:
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    Out of the 40 carriers our cluster represents, they were recently voted the worst: in service, agent relations/comminication, and compensation. The only area where they shine is underwriting – the people who have struck it out, with the bizare way they do things.

  • April 11, 2008 at 2:39 am
    John G says:
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    I dont have anything to do with Zurich and never have but in reading these messages it sounds like there are a lot of people that like to complain. I was just reading how Zurich is the 3rd largest carrier in the world and the CEO was named in Barrons top 30 list again. Doesnt sound like this is a company that should “give up”

  • April 11, 2008 at 3:05 am
    J78 says:
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    Zurich is a great company. They are extremely customer focused and doing everything possible add value to the customer – part of this means having an efficient operating structure to keep costs down. Unfortunately lay off such as this are the ramification of a soft market and a recession in the economy.

  • April 11, 2008 at 4:15 am
    johnny says:
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    Wow there is someone out there besides me that likes zurich (J78). I work with the construction unit of zurich and they are absolutely fantastic. They are customer and service driven in claims, u/w, safety, etc. Better than Travelers, AIG, Arch, One Beacon, Admiral, etc. I would say on the past 10 years in dealing with zurich, they have only gotten better with each passing year. Not sure where the complaints are coming from unless the complainers are small agent/broker that deal with small mom/pop carriers like Safeco, The Hartford, Golden Eagle (and they are all horrid in service).

  • April 11, 2008 at 4:22 am
    X Z Dude says:
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    Leadership is key to finding the way back, The CEO is a former consultant so the only way to show quick improvement and to allow him to cash out is to cut jobs. Then service slides, then they lose business, and so on and so on. Just get those resumes ready, they’ll be ready to hire those old X Z folks in about 18 months. Farmers Commercial, oh yeah that is the tail wagging the dog. A fraction of the premium and a third of the profits. BUt what do we know, we are just the consumers.

  • April 11, 2008 at 6:40 am
    PHILYAW says:
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    Is Traveler’s still the hot rumor to acquire Zurich?

  • April 12, 2008 at 2:32 am
    mm says:
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    Johnny’s right about the construction unit..which was not sold. ZurichSB only sold to Farmers, and has made it’s own problems when they stopped doing what they were known for, well, and then on top of that, charge $1300-$1500 per service unit & increase renewal rates 15% in this market..and not expect mass exodus of what’s on their books

  • April 13, 2008 at 10:07 am
    Not a Zurich Fan says:
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    Hello All, I resigned from Zurich in 2007. As one commenter stated, “Zurich has a bizarre way of doing things”. Zurich will wait until problems become HUGE and then they attempt to resolve it. I worked in the Glendale,Ca office and have no regrets about leaving. It was the best decision ever!! I am now with a highly well known carrier and they make Zurich look terrible. An associate of mine was one of the unfortunate people to lose her job and mind you she had a very good position within the company. I agree that Zurich’s Underwriting is the best thing they have going, other than that they have no structure. Maybe Traveler’s well put them on the right track.

  • April 14, 2008 at 8:55 am
    glad2Bgone says:
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    As a former employee in their North America home office, this company has no REAL leadership. Only corporate speak that sounds like they have a direction. They are going through a realignment that is going to lead to Zurich being even more screwed up. They keep the bad employees and lose the good ones. Good luck customers!

  • April 14, 2008 at 10:28 am
    Just another agent says:
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    It was inevitable that Farmers and Zurich would truly merge. Farmers has a better structure and brand name than Zurich does. It has an agency force in place and appointing selected independents to add to that force creates an ideal situation for Zurich.

    Our cluster has been told that we would be getting a Farmers appointment, probably to Truck Insurance Exchange in the next 12-18 months as they roll things over.

    Bottom line this is no different than any other company in that they merge competing business lines and look for multiple points of sale. They’d be stupid not to merge this and open it up to larger independants.

    The typical Farmers guy writes primarily personal lines. This will affect few of them, while Zurich has a much better guarantee of profits when the managment company takes it’s cut off the top of the many more millions that independants will pump into TIE.

    They already open personal lines to Countrywide, why not commercial to those that do it well on a bigger scale than their agency force. Allied has both independants and captive, Allstate did that too. I’m sure Zurich took note.

    Bad corporate behavior aside.. good business move in the long run…

  • April 14, 2008 at 11:08 am
    PHILYAW says:
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    Ok, so where does Farmer’s get their agents? From AmFAM ??? What else is new? Let’s hire a bunch of idiots who are not committed to P&C, but who can sell P&C with a little bit of Life Insurance. And, of course, the P&C is written as a loss leader. And so it goes. Please, do not pretend to tell us that Farmer’s agents, AmFAM, or State Farm agents know what in the HECK they are doing?

  • April 14, 2008 at 11:13 am
    PHILYAW says:
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    And the agents keep feeding these Pimps. Liberty competes AGAINST the Independent Agent directly, and the the Independent Agent blindly feeds Indiana, Peerless, etc. Nationwide competes AGAINST the Independent Agent, and the Independent Agent makes ALLIED one of the fastest growing companies. Why? Because they are CHEAP, CHEAP, CHEAP ! And we all sit and wonder why the insured’s think we are all whores. (because we are)

    Stand up and be proud Mr. and Mrs. Independent Agent !

  • April 14, 2008 at 11:15 am
    SP says:
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    I just could not understand the rate increases. I had to move most of my Zurich book because the rate increases were enormous. The sad part was, the carriers that I moved my clients to had lower rates than the expiring Zurich policies.

    In a soft market where carriers are decreasing or keeping static their rates, Zurich increases the rate astronomically. Still can’t figure that one out.

  • April 14, 2008 at 11:20 am
    John Q. says:
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    Unless you write insurance for the construction division, the consensus is there is nobody steering the ship, apparently. And don’t look down your nose at the smaller agents; we contribute collectively the best results for most carriers. They just compensate less because they can (no clout).

  • April 14, 2008 at 11:34 am
    Suzi says:
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    I worked there as an u/w for 15 years, their answer was always the same. We aren’t the cheapest, but we are consistant, no matter what the market is doing. That is why most agents do not look to them as movers & shakers.

    Schaumburg is full of people who just make busy work for everyone else, so that they can say no to any kind of innovation.

  • April 14, 2008 at 12:02 pm
    Rick61 says:
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    Zurich owns Farmers, they just don’t publicize it to hurt that other Company due to Zurich’s erratick write-it, profit, and non-cancel strategy.

    I worked at Zurich’s Schaumburg home office and their whole focus is how do we profit further, increase or retain our high prices while cutting the possiblity of assuming any real risk for the high price we charge. Their big focus these days is “predictive modeling” whereby we cozy up to big brokers and screw the little independent agents.

    2007 was their best year ever, and what do they do? cut staff. Zurich writes the book on profiteering and greed. In their language you will never hear about loyalty to their clients or the agents that made them. I heard John Amore speak once and the big thing for him is structural reformation of the insurance industry to be like the banking industry: low cost of operating with big profits. Now, let me ask you, aside from the big wigs in banking making millions, do you think the middle or lower rings in banking make a decent wage and standard of living to be something to admire of look at?

  • April 14, 2008 at 12:56 pm
    gifford says:
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    Our SB rep comes in March for our 2008 planning and disappears into oblivion until next year. Same thing every year… No focus, no direction, and no answers.

  • April 14, 2008 at 1:04 am
    N. Judge says:
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    Zurich was HUGE on corporate speak when I worked there. Form over substance. I’ve worked at AIG and still feel Zurich was the least employee friendly environment I’ve experienced in nearly 50 years of employment. That said, they have a committment to their European owners to “beat the market.” I think they work hard to keep that particular target in mind. Jobs at the top depend upon it. They don’t mind if their people are a little locked stepped while achieving that goal. And it’s their company. Rather than stay and complain, while there I did what I was asked and I left as soon as practical.

  • April 14, 2008 at 2:25 am
    Mike Rooker says:
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    The recent announcement that Farmers would be taking over ZSB was shocking to say the least. In my opinion as well as a number of other independent agents, they are just making their facilities available to their captive agents and this change will not improve anything for us in the long run. The good news is that the typical Farmers agent knows little if anything about Commercial and they will make messes.

  • April 14, 2008 at 3:31 am
    Insman says:
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    I love my marketing rep, but I agree, Zurich is so far out of the hunt that they forgot what they are here for. Underwriting is rough, they only want BR, IM, auto & WC – for no-tell-motels no less! They cut the guts out of daycare and institutional, their trade contractors is more than double E&S pricing, and there auto is noncompetitive. How can an agent make his numbers?

  • April 14, 2008 at 3:32 am
    Buzzcut says:
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    It is your rumor. The rumor was that Zurich was buying Travelers, not the other way around.

  • April 14, 2008 at 3:40 am
    Mike is right! says:
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    Mike is right, the average Farmers agent barely knows enough to pass the licensing exam, and then quickly has forgotten it. Zurich got in trouble before appointing know-nothings for the Homebuilder’s and Small Business. That is when Prudential LIFE INSURANCE agents were packaging BOPs with Commercial Auto for individual realtors because it was cheaper than a Prudential P&C personal auto policy! Hack on!

  • April 14, 2008 at 4:01 am
    danny says:
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    zurich destroyed the company I worked for, Farmer Insurance. I was a fifteen year employee and I was told there wasn’t room for me. well that is what they told a lot of people. being loyal to a company doesn’t really mean much anymore. So F*** Zurich and any company that does business with them. thanks for nothing.
    not bitter

  • April 14, 2008 at 6:16 am
    Not a Zurich Fan #2 says:
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    I was one of the people laid off at Zurich last week after doing an exceptional job of cleaning up broker/client service messes. I was shocked at the lack of loyalty as I was summoned to an unexpected meeting and told that that was my last day. To add to the disgrace, my manager and the regional VP followed me into the elavator and rode to the bottom. Nothing was said during the ride. The doors opened and I walked away. Wonder where “not a zurich fan” went to work.

  • April 15, 2008 at 7:26 am
    Hmmmm says:
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    Just an FYI for those lovely “NON” fans of Zurich.

    Zurich was currently served with a class action law suit in reference to “Employee Labor Issues” in California and we all know that California is “Employee Friendly” when it comes to employer labor abuse.

    I can’t begin to start commenting on this……to be continued…..

  • April 15, 2008 at 8:15 am
    Ughhh says:
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    Elite service my a**! Its one big management book gone wrong. The company is run by the monkeys from the career builder commercial. Leadership comes in the form of slogans and corporate speak while remaining totally void of actual thought.

  • April 15, 2008 at 10:27 am
    former employee says:
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    Employee labor abuse at Zurich? There’s not enough time to discuss all of the known issues let alone those swept under the rug. I would expect Zurich to go the way of Enron with their management team.

  • April 15, 2008 at 2:37 am
    I give Zurich a Z says:
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    Left my former agency and took the business with me. Zurich said they would support me, I had $250,000 in biz with them. Once I got in all the paperwork and followed up, the Mgr. said, “You never sent in the paperwork; we cannot appoint you.” I sent the paperwork again. This time, “No! We cannot appoint you. You are too small. We had money problems recently with a small agent.” UGH.

  • April 15, 2008 at 6:46 am
    Not a Zurich Fan says:
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    Regardless if it’s the other way around or not they need some stucture.

  • April 15, 2008 at 6:54 am
    Not a Zurich Fan says:
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    I’m in total agreement with you. I can guarantee you that not one employee saw this coming. Yes, it’s the typical Zurich way! I can’t believe they let go of so many loyal people, shame on Zurich!

    I’m so glad I left when I did and I can’t stress that enough!

    Zurich wants you to be loyal to them but they have NO LOYALTY to you. They have these employee coporate meetings once a year and lie to your face making you think that everything is PEACHY! Yeah Right!

    There up to no good! As my mother would say when I was growing up” somethin in the milk ain’t clean” ;-)

  • April 16, 2008 at 7:19 am
    fan of not a zurich fan #2 says:
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    it’s horrible the way they let you go, and then escorted you out the door like you might lift a plant or something on the way out. Zuriich bites.

  • April 18, 2008 at 6:05 am
    Jonathan says:
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    if a stupid and worthless class action is started in CA or any other state, it better by thrown out for being the meritless piece of crap it is or I hope the pltfs receive $500 personal auto or h/o policy vouchers. Ha ha, that would be too classic.

  • April 19, 2008 at 6:40 am
    An ex friend of Jonathan says:
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    Ok, Jonathan. Are you not aware of Labor Laws in California? Just an FYI! Settlement is already being discussed and I can guarantee you it’s not a voucher!

  • May 1, 2008 at 12:00 pm
    bunnyrock says:
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    Yep, I was one of the unfortunate 400 that got canned on 4/10/08. I was sitting at my desk working when tapped on the shoulder for a brief meeting in the conference room. I was lucky, the H.R. rep that gave me my walking papers was upset to say the least. He said to me he thought the whole thing sucked and I got a raw deal since I had only been there a short time and had just the week before got a glowing performance review.I was allowed to gather my things and say goodbye to my fellow lucky co-workers that still had a job. He was actually pretty nice about the whole thing. Needless to say I bounced back. Guys, do you all remember the conference call about a month ago when they spoke of Farmers taking on some of the business. That was my red flag and lucky for me I dusted off my resume. I got a job offer the day after my lay off so it all worked out. I agree it sucked to get canned, but maybe they did me a favor.
    I was allowed to gather my things and say goodbye to my fellow lucky co-workers that still had a job.

  • July 19, 2008 at 9:27 am
    AlanB says:
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    I was working for Zurich on the Isle of man and had an heart attack and within weeks I was told my contract would not be renewed and they would not let me complete my current contract with or without a doctors certificate and they did not even stick with the one months notice in my current contract.

    Being so big they think they can walk over the small guy and the joke is that much of the reason I had a heart attack in the first place was because I was working 230 hours a month trying to meet unrealistic deadline for them and this is how you get treated for such loyalty and your own stupidity for giving a $hit.

    Thanks for the box of chocolates I didn’t get whilst being in hospital and at deaths door Zurich.

  • September 8, 2008 at 6:09 am
    AlanB says:
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    My dispute with Zurich has been resolved to my satisfaction and it seems like Zurich themselves were not at fault and this was more down to a miscommunication between my agent and myself.

    Please ignore my previous post.

  • October 26, 2009 at 10:20 am
    betteroffgone says:
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    I worked at Zurich, in it various incarnations and names, for 17 years. I can tell you that life is better not having to deal with the a**holes that fill the two 23 story towers in schaumburg – I’ve never seen so much incompetence in one place. The worst and weakest managers I ever worked with were in Schaumburg – what a worthless bunch!

  • October 19, 2011 at 1:29 pm
    Above Zurich says:
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    I worked for Zurich and was appalled at what I walked into. In my opinion, the biggest thing was the underreserving, overpaying on settlmeents, requiring unethical practices, files paid under the wrong jurisdiction and the enormous amounts of busy work that stoked a bunch of egos, but had nothing to do with the handling and further the claim. Best practices and macros basically assure that the file will not be handle properly. Most people handle the claims just to make the audit which means there was horrible claims service. This is a huge disservice to the client. The clients really need to hire someone to go in and review thier files thoroughly and demand return of thier premiums. The supervisors and the most claims VP had absolutely no clue about claims and thought they could just make up thier own laws and procedures. If you bucked them then you were on the list. Evaluation procedures horrible and not fair. There could only be so many in in each catagory. In my opinion the absolute worse company I ever worked for in over 30 years.



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