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Zurich UK Life operating profit up 9% to £186m

Gary Shaughnessy 480

Zurich’s UK Life business has reported a 9 per cent increase in operating profit, from £171m in 2011 to £186m last year, following a significant cost-cutting drive.

The value of new business written buy Zurich in 2012 increased 28 per cent to £123m, compared to £96m in 2011.

However, total sales measured on an annual premium equivalent dropped 2 per cent, from £769m to £754m, as the provider battled “tough” conditions in the retail investment market.

Zurich UK Life chief executive Gary Shaughnessy says the company’s focus on “expense management” helped boost its profit margins during the year. In September, the provider announced 200 job cuts as part of a restructure of its operations ahead of the RDR.

Shaughnessy says: “We have seen the continuing benefits of our strategy of focusing on expense management whilst at the same time adapting our propositions and business model to meet the changing demands of the UK market.

“Both retail and corporate markets are undergoing a substantial change through auto-enrolment and the RDR and we have a business model that recognises that.

“Our business is also strengthened by our exceptionally high quality partnerships and a focus on corporate and retail intermediaries. Building on these strong partnerships remains a key priority for us.”

Zurich does not publish a full breakdown of its UK results, which form part of the overall group accounts.

Syndaxi Chartered Financial Planners managing director Robert Reid says: “Zurich’s numbers for 2012 look positive. Its decision to focus on protection seems sensible as it is an obvious sector of the market for advisers to target and there is room for more competition from providers.”

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