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More changes at Zurich as insurer revamps leadership at general insurance unit

Posted On: Oct. 2, 2015 12:00 AM CST

(Reuters) — Zurich Insurance Group Ltd. is shaking up the leadership of its unprofitable general insurance unit, after losses from a Chinese explosion and car policies in the United States prompted the company to abandon a takeover bid for a British rival.

Kristof Terryn, who formally replaced Michael Kerner as head of Zurich's main general insurance business on Thursday, named Nick Burnet as the unit's chief financial officer, a spokeswoman said on Friday.

Mr. Terryn also picked Alan Fairhead as the business's chief underwriting officer and Paul Horgan as head of the global corporate business in North America to replace Daniel Riordan, whose departure was announced earlier on Thursday.

All are company veterans.

Zurich said on Sept. 21 that it was ditching its proposed £5.6 billion ($8.5 billion) bid for Britain's RSA Insurance Group P.L.C. to focus on lifting its sagging performance.

"With these management changes, Kristof Terryn has made an important first step in bringing the general insurance business back on course," a Zurich spokeswoman said.

Zurich in September announced aggregate losses of around $275 million from the massive explosions at a container storage station in Tianjin in August. It also announced a likely negative impact of around $300 million in the third quarter for businesses including U.S. auto liability.

Zurich, which expects a $200 million third-quarter operating loss in its general insurance business, plans to announce more details on its recovery plan when it releases its third-quarter results on Nov. 5.