Zurich looks to lift reinsurance cover

Zurich is planning to reduce its catastrophe exposures by expanding reinsurance cover for its US commercial property portfolio.

The company’s chief financial officer, George Quinn, outlined the plans to stakeholders and analysts on Wednesday.

He stressed that Zurich’s current focus is on the catastrophe market.

“Even though the exposures are relatively modest, we can bring them down in a few of the areas that maybe haven't been tested so much,” Quinn told analysts.

“About two years ago we did a, not strategic [but] more of a tactical cover on property, especially on the large corporate or commercial property in the US.

“We are looking at extending that concept. We get good support from reinsurance partners around the topic,” he added.

However, Quinn also said Zurich is looking to reduce the amount of reinsurance cover it buys for man-made accumulations, noting that its existing programme for that exposure “doesn't work so well for us currently”.

He pointed out that Zurich was working with its reinsurance providers “to make [that reinsurance] sweat a bit harder for our shareholders”.

The planned shift in its property reinsurance purchasing comes on the back of Zurich’s new US casualty programme.

Quinn called the US casualty programme a strategic purchase, saying: “We would expect to keep that [US casualty quota share] in place in the long term.”

Earlier in the analysts’ discussion, Quinn said he did not expect Zurich’s exposure to the California wildfires to be “particularly significant”.