Zurich poaches giant insurer’s President for new commercial insurance unit

Zurich poaches giant insurer’s President for new commercial insurance unit

Zurich poaches giant insurer’s President for new commercial insurance unit Jeffrey Vögeli

Zurich Insurance Group AG named James Shea head of a new unit that will combine its corporate and commercial businesses as part of its efforts to streamline the organization. 

Shea, 50, joins from American International Group Inc. where he headed global financial lines, the company said in a statement. He previously was President of  Global Specialty Lines and CEO of Commercial Lines in Asia. He had been with AIG for over 20 years.

 AIG also appointed  Claudia Dill and Jack Howell, heads of Latin America and of Asia Pacific respectively, to its executive committee. 

It makes sense to combine the units and “also clears up the split of responsibilities on the board level,” said Sami Taipalus, an analyst at Berenberg with a hold rating on Zurich.

Sylvia Gaeumann, a spokeswoman for the insurer, said the corporate and commercial businesses overlapped, sometimes causing them to compete for the same client. “We don’t have a target for job cuts, but we assume that there will be synergies through simplification and eliminating redundancies,” she said by telephone.

The company has been overhauling general insurance, its biggest unit, since discovering insufficient reserves last year, mainly for North American auto and construction liabilities. That contributed to a third-quarter loss that forced Zurich to abandon a high-profile takeover bid for RSA Insurance Group Plc and led to the resignation of then CEO Martin Senn. He committed suicide in May.


Copyright Bloomberg 2016