Winterthur axes 200 jobs

The troubled Winterthur insurance made a loss of SFr2.1 billion last year Keystone

Winterthur Insurance, the troubled subsidiary of Credit Suisse Group, has announced it is cutting around 200 jobs in Switzerland over the next 12 months.

This content was published on October 28, 2003 minutes

The redundancies are part of a restructuring programme that involves merging the sales structures of the firm’s life and non-life businesses.

“The two individual sales organisations were very successful in recent years when the market was growing and they made a major contribution towards Winterthur’s leadership position in Switzerland,” said Philippe Egger, head of the insurer.

“The combined management of sales is vital in today’s world, in view of both costs and the changing needs of our customers.”

The company said in a statement it was aiming to shed staff by natural attrition, wherever possible.

“Wintherthur is thus trying to achieve a leaner administrative structure; the impact on employees with direct customer contact will be minimal,” the company said.

Foreign operations

The latest restructuring comes just a few months after the insurer sold off two profitable British and Italian units.

In June this year it sold its Italian operations in a surprise deal with the Bologna-based insurer, Unipol, for SFr2.2 billion ($1.7 billion).

Two weeks later Winterthur relinquished its strong British performer, Churchill Insurance, to the Royal Bank of Scotland for SFr2.4 billion.

Since Credit Suisse acquired Winterthur Insurance in 1997, it has been a weak link in the group’s diversified banking and investment activities.

Winterthur made a record net loss of SFr2.1 billion last year, blaming heavy stock market losses.

Switzerland’s second-biggest banking group injected SFr3.7 billion into the insurer in 2002.

swissinfo with agencies

Key facts

Winterthur has announced it is cutting around 200 jobs.
The insurer wants to keep redundancies to a minimum and achieve job cuts by natural attrition.
The cuts are due to the company’s plan to combine its life and non-life operations.
In June this year Winterthur sold off its British non-life operations, Churchill.

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