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2,000 jobs to go as Zurich shifts to general insurance

Zurich Financial Services is set to axe up to 2,000 jobs from its UK business, about 10 per cent of the total, after its parent group made a loss of £1.3bn for the first half of this year.

Chief executive James Schiro said the company had conducted a review of its operations since his controversial predecessor Rolf Huppi stepped down.

Schiro said 4,500 jobs would be lost globally and the company will be focusing on its key life and general insurance business. The company, best known in the UK for the Eagle Star and Allied Dunbar brands, wants to cut costs by 20 per cent within two years.

Zurich says it hopes the job cuts in the UK will be through natural wastage rather than redundancies.

Trade union Amicus general secretary Roger Lyons says: “Zurich has decided to slash and burn instead of standing back and looking at the longer-term picture. This will put the reputation of many household-name companies in jeopardy.”

Zurich media relations manager Sandra Paul says: “We are refocusing on the core businesses, including the life business. We are well positioned to capitalise on the opportunities offered by depolarisation with Zur-ich Advice Network, Zurich IFA and our strategic alliances. We will be announcing new alliances soon.”


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