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Swiss Re gives more details on plan to eliminate 2,000 jobs


ZURICH, Switzerland--Swiss Reinsurance Co. said last week it would begin informing employees of layoffs designed to save about $300 million in costs in the wake of its merger with GE Insurance Solutions, the reinsurance arm of General Electric Co.

Swiss Re, which announced the plans to cut jobs in July, said in a statement last week that by the end of 2007, it would have eliminated about 2,000 positions worldwide--through natural attrition, early retirements and layoffs.

Of the job cuts, Swiss Re said that 55% were in Europe, 35% in the Americas, and 10% in Asia, Middle East and Africa. And 21% of those cuts will be in Switzerland, it said.

Swiss Re was the world's second-largest reinsurer, based on 2005 net premiums of $22.4 billion, before its $8.8 billion acquisition of the property/casualty business of GEIS, the insurance and reinsurance subsidiary of General Electric Co.

The acquisition, which was completed in June, included GEIS' fifth-ranked Employers Reinsurance Corp., which wrote net premiums of $6.7 billion last year.

The size of the combined entity moved Swiss Re ahead of Munich Re Group, which wrote $23.8 billion in premiums in 2005, according to Business Insurance's reinsurer ranking.