When Zurich Insurance, Switzerland’s largest insurer, sought to establish an EU office in 2009, Ireland came as a natural choice. Today, the company serves clients in over 170 countries and its Irish subsidiary, General Insurance, now covers the EMEA region. Patrick Manley, CEO of General Insurance, explains.
Why did Zurich Insurance choose Ireland?
Operating a hub-and-spoke model makes sense for operational and capital efficiency reasons. As a Swiss firm, we needed an EU hub, and Ireland fits our needs well, particularly the country’s euro membership, its skilled workforce and excellent IT infrastructure. Half of our colleagues work in the US, and English is our group language. Not only do we have the know-how and market access here, but we are also fortunate in having a supervisor who understands how regulations work cross-border and in multiple territories.
What new risks does technology present insurers?
Developing strategies to manage new risks posed by the advent of new technology for some of the world’s largest companies remains a fascinating and on-going challenge. New technology such as self-driving cars, vehicle telematics and drones are asking new questions of insurers, and Zurich Insurance believes Ireland can help provide these answers. Ireland has particular interest in working on the technical and regulatory environment around drones, and this is something we are watching carefully.
What are your ambitions for the Dublin office?
This is where our pan-European business is written, both in life insurance and general insurance. Moreover, we are strengthening our position, with, for example, our group’s cyber-defence capabilities, which have been relocated here. We see a long-term future in Dublin, and any other companies thinking of establishing an EU operation should definitely consider Ireland.