woman holding phone

Zurich Insurance Group
Annual Report 2019

Innovation with you in mind

"For nearly 150 years, we have been ahead of our time, embracing innovation while finding new ways to serve and protect those who rely on us. We are proud of all that we have achieved. Our experience and ability to adapt to a changing business environment allow us to look to the future with confidence."
Mario Greco
Mario Greco, Group Chief Executive Officer

How we're delivering on our strategy

We have many stories to tell about our business. Each of these reflect how we are bringing our strategy to life in different ways for the benefit of our customers.

Read more about our strategy and targets in:

Performance view

We take many routes to find innovative solutions

Strategy stories

Focused on customers

We work with startups specialized in digital technology, and we sometimes make strategic acquisitions to gain expertise, seize business opportunities, increase our scale and expand in attractive markets. We also develop solutions in-house, based on our experience and insights. At Zurich, all new ideas must pass one test: They must ultimately benefit our customers. Here are just a few of the many innovative solutions we’ve introduced to make customers’ lives better.


Rewarding healthy lifestyles

What if you could get encouragement for doing what’s good for you? Zurich introduced such an approach in Australia in 2019. Zurich LiveWell is a health and wellness online platform that rewards customers who choose a healthy lifestyle. Besides offering articles, recipes, medical dictionaries and other features, it allows customers to upload information from a wearable fitness device that tracks steps and physical activity. Customers who use it can get a discount on the cost of their life insurance and receive offers from selected third-party providers. Since launch in May 2019, some 30 percent of new life customers in Australia have opted for the Zurich LiveWell program.

Zurich klinc/Zurich Now

Sharing new ideas across markets

What do you get when you develop a good idea in one market, and transfer it to a second one? Two good solutions. That’s what Zurich did with Zurich klinc, a product we developed and introduced in Spain targeting younger customers who want insurance they can turn on and off to cover items like mobile devices and headphones, computers, cameras, e-bikes, smart watches and scooters. Launched in Spain in 2018, klinc sold over 10,000 policies in that market, mostly to new customers. And, in 2019 Zurich’s business in Argentina introduced a product based on klinc called Zurich Now covering smart phones, tablets and notebooks. Since launch in April 2019 in Argentina, Zurich Now has achieved strong sales with over two-thirds of customers aged 25 to 45. And received more than 20,000 inquiries online from potential customers in the first months after introduction, helping us to promote our brand more widely in Argentina.


Working with a startup on innovative cycle insurance

Zurich works with London-based start-up Laka, a broker which offers a unique approach to insurance. Laka provides cover for higher-value bikes in the UK with a digital insurance model allowing customers to pay a variable monthly premium based on their share of the overall cost of claims. As passionate experts in cycling, it aims to offer competitive and transparent pricing and since launching in 2018, has written over 3,000 policies. Its offerings include cover for bicycles while traveling and for amateur racing. Laka continues to grow, has received excellent customer feedback and won a UK industry start-up award in 2019.

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In the business of protecting against risk

Strategy stories

Serving commercial customers

Our customers include over 400 of the Global Fortune 500 companies. Our 1,250 risk engineers and risk specialists located in 40 countries are deployed where needed to help customers identify and mitigate risks.

Risk Engineering

Spotting risks where others might not see them

Zurich’s customers include large global corporations that work together with our Risk Engineering team to promote understanding of photovoltaic systems. Such research takes into account extensive risk analysis, customer insights and real experience at facilities around the world. Solar energy is an attractive, sustainable technology. But without guidelines, installing such systems on rooftops, for example, may put these beyond the reach of automatic fire detection and protection systems. We are glad to refine and share our insights and make them available, including to all our customers and brokers. Working closely with customers, Zurich published a white paper on this evolving technology. We also collaborate with customers through the global NFPA Fire Protection Research Foundation. White papers, working through the NFPA, and on-site work are just some examples of how we share our insights. At left, Marc Leblanc, Global Account Risk Engineer, is shown assessing solar panels at a commercial site.

To learn more about ways businesses can manage the impacts of risk, see our Zurich Climate Change Whitepaper.

Property & Casualty

Protecting employees

Zurich is the fourth-largest worker’s compensation insurance provider in the U.S. Through our innovative predictive model, Vital Signs, we can help reduce the risk that employees may get addicted to opioid painkillers. Beyond potentially saving lives and contributing to people’s well-being, the program has enabled employers to lower costs associated with prescription drugs. After Zurich North America introduced its Opioid Case Management program for companies in 2011, its data analytics team helped to develop the Vital Signs model, making it easier to spot potentially at-risk employees. Since its introduction, Zurich’s opioid program has delivered an average reduction of opioid utilization by 50 percent. The program also helped Zurich to win the Managed Care Provider Team of the Year award at the 2019 Business Insurance U.S. Insurance Awards.

Corporate Life & Pensions

Giving Germans more choices to save for retirement

An occupational pension reform introduced in Germany in 2018 has opened the door to new approaches to pension savings in that country. For Zurich, the changes in the law led it to agree to a new joint initiative with German insurer Talanx. The new collaboration, called ‘Die Deutsche Betriebsrente,’ or ‘The German Occupational Pension,’ aims to provide supplementary pensions to groups of employees who are members of trade unions or similar associations. In 2019, ‘Die Deutsche Betriebsrente’ reached a milestone agreement with the German union, Verdi, which has about two million members, to provide a second-pillar pension plan for Talanx’s own 12,000 employees. A first but very important step for ‘Die Deutsche Betriebsrente,’ which could be a blueprint for similar success stories in the future.


Farmers1 Insurance® continues to grow innovative offerings

The Farmers Insurance usage-based automobile insurance offering, which aims to be more closely aligned with actual driving behaviors, is now available in 34 states and recently surpassed one billion miles of driver data, while ToggleSM, its next-generation customer digital renters insurance offering, has generated more than 20,000 sales across 23 states. In late fourth quarter 2019, Farmers also began preparations to add to its successful eastern U.S. expansion efforts with a new automobile insurance offering in South Carolina.

1 Zurich Insurance Group has no ownership interest in the Farmers Exchanges. Farmers Group, Inc., a wholly owned subsidiary of the Group, provides certain non-claims services and ancillary services to the Farmers Exchanges as attorney-in-fact and receives fees for its services.

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Growing in attractive markets

Strategy stories

Expanding our reach

We seek to grow through select, targeted acquisitions where we see potential. And we expand our reach through agreements with other companies, including banks and retail providers, giving us access to millions of potential customers.

Australia, Latin America, Indonesia

Growing through targeted acquisitions

In Australia, in 2019 Zurich completed the acquisition of OnePath Life in Australia from ANZ to become one of the leading life insurers for retail customers in that country. We also enhanced our access through an agreement with ANZ to allow Zurich to distribute life insurance products through bank channels, giving Zurich potential to attract six million new customers in Australia.

In 2018, we acquired the operations of Australian insurer QBE in Latin America, positioning Zurich as the leading insurer in Argentina and increasing its business in Brazil, Colombia, Mexico and Ecuador. We also acquired the individual and group life businesses and long-term savings operations of EuroAmerica in Chile. All businesses are expected to contribute new customers to support our organic growth in Latin America.

In 2019 we completed acquisition of a majority of Adira Insurance, a leading insurer in Indonesia, to make Zurich the largest foreign property and casualty insurer in a key market in Asia Pacific. The agreement includes long-term cooperation agreements with PT Bank Danamon Indonesia, and Adira Finance, one of Indonesia’s largest providers of motorcycle and auto financing.

Distribution agreements

Gaining access to millions of potential new customers

In 2019 alone, we gained access to over 40 million potential customers through new distribution agreements (and have gained access to over 80 million since 2016). These agreements include distribution agreements with Brazilian retailer Havan and Tokyo Gas in Japan, as well as an exclusive agreement with Eni gas e luce to make it easier for its customers in Italy to get insurance. We also agreed with MediaMarkt Saturn to make purchase protection available to its customers in Germany. And we entered an agreement to provide insurance and takaful products through Alliance Bank in Malaysia.


Finding new solutions for travelers

Zurich acquired travel assistance provider Cover-More in 2017, and in 2018 expanded the business through targeted acquisitions in Latin America, the UK and Ireland to make it one of the largest travel assistance providers worldwide. We are now developing a mobile platform for Cover-More customers that will provide simple, personalized access to our global team of travel experts and providers. Along with individual travel offers, it will augment our role in helping customers travel confidently and stress-free by providing timely and proactive travel and medical assistance. Using geolocation data and advanced analytics, we have extensive insights into our travelers’ individual needs, and provide proactive security alerts in the event of risks.

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Building a business for the future

Strategy stories

Working for a better tomorrow

To succeed requires looking to the future. We are proud that the next generation of employees is already making their voices heard, including those who will occupy our historic, newly renovated Mythenquai headquarters in Zurich. When finished, the building will contribute to our efforts worldwide to promote resource-efficient and innovative workplaces.

Future success

Introducing the NEXT generation at Zurich

At Zurich over 40 percent of our employees were born after 1981. Growing up in an age of increasing digitalization and concerns about climate change has shaped these employees’ beliefs, needs and expectations. In 2019, a group of 12 Zurich employees representing our four regions and a variety of businesses founded NEXT, giving them a unified voice, and allowing them to actively address pressing issues society is facing. NEXT has already taken an active part in shaping the future. For example, its members attended the One Young World summit in London in 2019 along with 12 young entrepreneurs whose attendance the Z Zurich Foundation sponsored. These entrepreneurs included Damola Morenikeji, Chief Operating Officer at Joy, Inc., which runs walk-in centers in Nigeria for young people dealing with depression and anxiety.

Zurich Innovation Championship

Actively seeking startups with a business mindset

Through a global contest, the Zurich Innovation Championship, we invite startups to compete for a chance to develop with us the best commercially viable ideas. Launched in 2018, the first Championship produced four winners, including gold winner Chisel AI, whose artificial intelligence product can read commercial insurance documents 400 times faster than a human − and with greater accuracy. The second Championship launched in 2019 will conclude in 2020.

Cultural transition

Employees ‘Make the Difference’

In 2018 Zurich launched ‘Make the Difference,’ which actively seeks to engage employees in promoting a more entrepreneurial culture. So far over 1,250 employees from 28 countries have participated in this in-house program, initiating 60 of the over 700 ideas for improvement submitted by our employees thus far. Thanks to their efforts, we have, for example, vastly reduced the number of meetings, launched the Zurich Innovation Championship, and significantly shortened the time needed to respond to commercial customers’ queries. Make the Difference also encouraged us all to become a more sustainable business, introducing paperless meetings and equipping agents with tablets, while encouraging entrepreneurs with a social purpose to work with Zurich.


Bright solutions for tomorrow

‘Hackathons’ bring together programmers, software developers and others to work intensely on tight deadlines, often over a single weekend, to compete in solving specific problems. One such event is HackZurich, among Europe’s largest hackathons. In September 2019, 589 contestants with an average age of 24.7 years gathered in the city of Zurich to compete by finding innovative technology solutions in just 40 hours. Zurich, together with Zurich city, sponsored a challenge to find solutions to enable climate-neutral mobility. These events give us an opportunity to support innovation and entrepreneurship. Another such event took place in Chile, where Chilena Consolidada – Zurich Chile sponsored the NASA International Space Apps Challenge 2019 in that country.

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Our successful strategy continues to deliver strong results

Financial highlights:

We continue to deliver strong sustainable performance, with many of our key financial and non-financial measures exceeding the prior year.

Business operating profit (BOP)1
Net income attributable to shareholders (NIAS)
Proposed gross dividend per share2
Total amount of impact investments3

Read more about our financial performance:

Performance view

Our strong performance enables us to deliver long-term benefits to all our stakeholders

Through making the best use of resources, we work to benefit all our stakeholders: we protect customers against risk and provide financial security, we strive to give all employees opportunities to develop talent, deliver returns to investors, and make communities and society better able to address risks and adapt to change.

How our stakeholders benefit:

  • We create value for our customers by helping them understand and protect themselves from risk.

    Innovation that puts customers first

    Our customers are the heart of our business. They are the focus of our strategy. In 2019 we further enhanced the way we serve and engage millions of customers.

    Key achievements

    • We hired a Chief Customer Officer and defined a new strategy to drive Zurich’s 'customer transformation'.
    • We continued to listen to our customers through the Net Promoter System (NPS), extending the program to new markets while preparing to step up our efforts to ensure we remain relevant to all customers, including younger ones.
    • To measure progress, we are introducing two new customer metrics.
    • We gained expertise by collaborating with insurtech start-ups, developed innovative solutions in-house, and gained wider access to customers through new distribution agreements.
    • We developed and implemented a commitment to protect customers’ data.
    • Our Commercial Insurance business is continually looking for new ways to use technology to support our customers with innovative solutions that go well beyond traditional insurance coverage.
    Conny Kalcher
    "Customers are recognizing our efforts to be more responsive and take their needs into account, as reflected in the NPS score improvement. We have a solid, global customer feedback platform in place and an established process to improve how customers experience us. We are now planning to step up our efforts, so as to play a broader role in customers’ lives and truly innovate our service and product experiences."

    Conny Kalcher
    Chief Customer Officer

    A closer look on how we've delivered for these stakeholders

    chart customers net promoter score
    Increase in customer interviews


  • We create value for our employees by aiming to give each the opportunity to work to their full potential.

    Developing talent for tomorrow

    As a leading global employer, Zurich is an attractive place to work. We demonstrate our care for employees through our long-term vision and strong sense of purpose. We are making work sustainability our top priority by empowering our people to become fit for the future and take ownership of a life-long approach to learning.

    Key achievements

    • New initiatives are helping us to make sure our leaders and employees have the right skills for the future.
    • We remain proud of our innovative work-based learning to prepare young people across our business for a career in insurance.
    • In 2019, our measure of employee loyalty, the employee net promoter score (ENPS) rose, indicating higher levels of employee satisfaction.
    • We aim to make sure that our employees’ contributions are recognized and rewarded equitably, while making good progress in promoting a truly diverse and inclusive work environment.
    Noelia Salgado
    A new way of working and learning in the U.S.
    In 2016, Zurich introduced its apprentice program in the U.S. That same year Noelia Salgado began the program. It allowed her to finish her education while working. She completed the program in November 2017 and today works for Zurich as an underwriting support specialist. As she says, “I don’t know of any other place where you can learn so much, meet so many different people and work in so many different departments.”

    A closer look on how we've delivered for these stakeholders

    chart employees kpis

    1 Turnover figures only consider regular and inpatriate employees.
    2 Technical functions include claims, underwriting and risk engineering.
    3 Group-wide feedback channels include organization health surveys, employee net promoter scores (ENPS) and any other Group-wide feedback channels. This KPI refers to the average participation rate in the two occurrences of the employee net promoter score survey.

    Group voluntary turnover


    Average employee tenure

    10 years

  • We create value for our investors by paying an attractive and sustainable dividend and maintaining a strong balance sheet.

    Creating sustainable value for shareholders

    Zurich has a highly cash-generative business model supporting an attractive and growing dividend.

    Our proposition to investors

    • A balanced and diverse global business
    • Industry-leading capital levels
    • Stable, consistent and conservatively managed balance sheet
    • Consistent growth with scope to enhance returns through capital re-deployment
    people talking
    Investor relations team
    Our investor relations team comprises nine individuals, who are responsible for communicating with investors.

    A closer look on how we've delivered for these stakeholders

    chart investors share performance
    Proposed gross dividend per share for 20191

    CHF per share


    (CHF 19.00 in 2018)

    1 2019 is proposed total dividend per share, subject to approval by shareholders at the Annual General Meeting. Gross dividend, subject to 35 percent Swiss withholding tax.

    Financial strength rating


    Standard & Poor’s financial strength rating of Zurich Insurance Company Ltd as of December 31, 2019

  • We create value for our communities and society including by mitigating risk and sharing knowledge and expertise.

    Taking a long-term view by acting now

    Zurich is proud to make a difference in the lives and futures of our customers, employees, investors, communities and society at large. In 2019 we made some significant commitments to align our business to a low-carbon future by addressing climate risk.

    Key achievements

    • We want to do all we can to reduce climate risks, including becoming the first insurer to sign a global pledge to help reduce global warming.
    • Our impact investments in 2019 rose to USD 4.6 billion, and demonstrating our commitment to addressing climate risk, we improved our Carbon Disclosure Project (CDP) score.
    • We continued to disengage and divest our exposure to harmful fossil fuels including thermal coal.
    • We increased our commitment to help society understand and protect against climate risks, including through our Flood Resilience Alliance.
    women talking
    Practical benefits of impact investing
    In 2019, Zurich introduced an innovative framework for measuring the impact of social and environmental investments. Zurich believes the approach is the first of its kind to measure CO2-equivalent emissions avoided and the number of people who benefited from its investments, across asset classes and investment instruments.
    See our sustainability highlights for more information about how we support communities.
    Learn more about our responsible investment approach.

    A closer look on how we've delivered for these stakeholders

    chart communities and society impact investment

    1 Impact investments in 2019 consisted of: green bonds (USD 3.1 billion), social and sustainability bonds (USD 539 million), and investments committed to private equity funds (USD 163 million, thereof 36 percent drawn down) and impact infrastructure private debt (USD 747 million).

    People benefiting from our impact investments2

    in 2019


    (2018: 2.4m)
    Goal: 5m people

    2 Number of people who have benefited from services in education, health, housing or financial inclusion and other measures aimed at improving lives, improvements that are directly related to Zurich’s investments.

Our business model works to deliver benefits for our stakeholders

BS model - entire Created with Sketch.

Our employees are helping our retail and commercial customers to understand and protect themselves from risk.

Serve customers and distribute through multiple channels

Our products and solutions are available to customers with a focus on great customer service, through many channels: directly, or indirectly via brokers, through employee benefits consultants, and in cooperation with third parties including banks, travel providers, retailers, rental agreements and car dealerships.

Underwrite and manage risk

Insuring and managing risk is central to what we do. Understanding, measuring and modeling risks helps us to price risk fairly and offer competitive premiums to customers, who also look to us to provide expertise aimed at mitigating risks.

Manage reserves

Our Group-wide policy, the ‘Zurich Way of Reserving,’ with well-defined and prudent standards, is the basis for how we calculate insurance liabilities. Our reserving process is supported by strong governance, including extensive internal and external reviews.

Invest and deliver returns

Our income includes returns from invested premiums, policy fees and deposits. Our success as a business is important to those who depend on us to reliably pay claims, as well as investors who look to us to deliver savings returns and operate our business responsibly.

Manage claims

In 2019, we paid out more than USD 24 billion in claims. To ensure that we provide a positive experience to customers who do business with us, we are systematically listening to customers through our Net Promoter System (NPS), not only as part of our claims process but throughout all customer touchpoints.

The key resources we rely upon to deliver these benefits to our stakeholders:

financial icon


Our investors provide the financial capital that sustains our business.

intellectual icon


Our expertise, including in risk management and investment, contributes to our success.

human icon


Our approximately 55,000 employees include some of the most talented people in the insurance industry.

social relationship icon

Social and relationship

We maintain strong social ties and relationships with customers, intermediaries, regulators, policymakers and others.

natural icon


In our daily business we use natural resources as part of doing business. We conserve them and use them wisely.

Read more about our performance:

Performance view


Full Annual Report (8.8 MB/PDF)
Group overview (3.8 MB/PDF)
Consolidated non-financial statements (incl. GRI index) (171 KB/PDF)
Governance (2.6 MB/PDF)
Risk review (709 KB/PDF)
Financial review (1.7 MB/PDF)

1 Business operating profit (BOP) indicates the underlying performance of the Group’s business units by eliminating the impact of financial market volatility and other nonoperational variables.

2 2019 is proposed dividend per share, subject to approval by shareholders at the Annual General Meeting. Gross dividend, subject to 35 percent Swiss withholding tax.

3 Impact investments in 2019 consisted of: green bonds (USD 3.1 billion), social and sustainability bonds (USD 539 million), and investments committed to private equity funds (USD 163 million, thereof 36 percent drawn down) and impact infrastructure private debt (USD 747 million).


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