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On August 14, Zurich Insurance chairman Josef Ackermann received financial chief Pierre Wauthier and head of investor relations James Quin at his office overlooking Lake Zurich to finalise the company’s second-quarter results, due for release the next day.

Most of the legwork was done. Chief Executive Martin Senn, promoted to the top job in 2010, had already taped a video presentation for shareholders. Speaker notes and other material prepared to help investors understand the earnings had also been completed, according to sources in the company.

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