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Zurich ups job cuts, relocations in financial reorganization

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Zurich Insurance Group Ltd. has increased the number of jobs it plans to eliminate or move to 1,800 as part of a major restructuring effort.

Financial challenges facing the Swiss insurer have included a major drop in third-quarter net income due to losses in the August explosions at the port in Tianjin, China, as well as its U.S. auto book of business.

Those factors plus Zurich's last-minute withdrawal of its bid to buy London-based RSA Insurance Group P.L.C. led CEO Martin Senn to resign earlier this week.

While Zurich announced in November that it planned to cut 440 jobs in its nonlife insurance division as part of its effort to achieve $300 million in cost savings by the end of 2016 and more than $1 billion by the end of 2018, the insurer on Thursday increased that number to 1,800.

According to a spokesman, the planned job cuts or relocations include:

• Eliminating 500 jobs at Zurich Germany by the end of 2018

• Eliminating about 440 jobs at Zurich U.K. by the end of 2017

• Eliminating or relocating about 360 jobs at Zurich Global Corporate by the end of 2017

• Moving about 300 group operations and technology jobs from Switzerland to other existing locations by the end of 2017

• Eliminating about 200 general insurance jobs in Switzerland, Ireland, the United Kingdom and the United States by the end of 2015

“As a reaction to the weak performance of the general insurance business, we have accelerated certain initiatives,” the Zurich spokesman said in an email of the additional changes announced Thursday.