January 8, 2018 / 3:14 PM / in 9 months

Zurich Insurance sells Singapore life assurance business

ZURICH (Reuters) - Zurich Insurance (ZURN.S) is selling its Singapore life assurance business, with policies providing $4.5 billion (3.32 billion pounds) of coverage, to Singapore Life as part of the Swiss group’s overhaul under Chief Executive Mario Greco.

Singapore Life said it will become responsible for all the life, critical illness and disability policies of Zurich Life Singapore customers in the Asian country, with the transfer expected to be completed in the first half of 2018.

Terms of the deal were not disclosed.

The agreement follows Zurich Life Singapore’s closure to new business in December 2015 and does not affect any of Zurich’s other business in Singapore.

David Kneale, chief executive of Zurich Life Singapore, said the decision followed Zurich’s strategy.

Greco has promised to make the group leaner and more efficient, with a $1.5 billion cost-cutting programme centred on a plan to simplify its structure and improve accountability and performance.

Zurich viewed its business in Singapore as too small to justify further investment, with the company favouring other growth opportunities.

The Swiss company last month increased its presence in Australia by buying Australia and New Zealand Banking Group’s [ANZ.AX] life insurance arm. It also bought telematics technology company Bright Box HK to raise its exposure to connected cars.

“We remain fully committed to growing our commercial insurance business in Singapore and maintaining excellent customer service for our international life customers who are not impacted by the transfer,” Kneale said.

Reporting by John Revill; Editing by David Goodman

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