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Zurich needs clear strategy to rebuild trust, Greco tells staff

Mario Greco, previously CEO at Assicurazioni Generali SpA, took over in March, earlier than previously expected after Martin Senn stepped down in December. (Photo: Zurich)
Mario Greco, previously CEO at Assicurazioni Generali SpA, took over in March, earlier than previously expected after Martin Senn stepped down in December. (Photo: Zurich)

(Bloomberg) -- Zurich Insurance Group AG needs a clear and simple strategy to rebuild investor confidence as the company tries to turn around its struggling general insurance unit, the firm’s new Chief Executive Officer Mario Greco said.

“We need to rebuild the trust of the markets in our ability to reach our goals as soon as possible,” the Naples native told staff in a memo seen by Bloomberg. “To achieve that we need to carry out our plans in a disciplined manner and set the right priorities.”

Zurich is reshaping general insurance and revamping its top management after a year that saw the company abandon a high-profile takeover bid for RSA Insurance Group Plc following unexpectedly high claims. Greco, previously CEO at Assicurazioni Generali SpA, took over in March, earlier than previously expected after Martin Senn stepped down in December. The stock is down about 14% this year.

Related: Zurich Insurance quarterly loss misses estimates on claims

Zurich’s combined ratio in general insurance, when including disaster losses was 103.6% last year, according to the statement. A measure of more than 100 means the unit is paying out more in claims and costs than it’s collecting in premiums.

“We all want to bring Zurich back to the top,” Greco said. “There is no scope for going it alone — what matters is the result of the group.”

Zurich Insurance confirmed that Greco sent a memo to staff on March 7, his first day as CEO.

--With assistance from Jeffrey Vögeli.

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