Zurich Global Life CEO Seeks Emerging Market Distribution Deals

Insurer is looking at new distribution deals, particularly in Malaysia, Indonesia, Mexico and Brazil.

INN Breaking News, January 22, 2014

Catherine Bosley and Carolyn Bandel

(Bloomberg) -- Zurich Insurance Group AG, the biggest Swiss insurer, is seeking more agreements to sell life insurance via banks to help expand in emerging markets.

“We will keep looking at new distribution deals, particularly in the geographies that we’re excited about” including Malaysia, Indonesia, Mexico and Brazil, Kristof Terryn, CEO of Zurich Insurance’s global life unit, said in an interview in Davos. “If we have the opportunity to expand bank distribution there through distribution or joint venture, we will definitely look at it.”

Terryn, named CEO of global life after Kevin Hogan resigned in August to join American International Group Inc., has a brief to boost cash and operating profit in the coming three years, while saving costs and exiting underperforming businesses. Global life was the only unit within the group that hit its targets last year.

Bank distribution currently “gives us access to 60 million customers,” Terryn said, adding he only wants to “invest where we have truly distinctive positions.”

To help reach the unit’s new targets, Terryn could sell small parts of the business. “It may very well be the case that for smaller parts of the book, smaller products where it is economically unfeasible for us to profitably maintain that, we look at a sale of smaller parts of our book,” he said. 

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