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Zurich adds US alliance to overseas interests

Zurich has struck a strategic deal in the United States

(swissinfo.ch)

Zurich Financial Services has struck an alliance with Bank of America to offer integrated banking and insurance services. The deal comes just four days after the Swiss firm signed a similar deal with the Bank of Scotland.

Under the new agreement, announced on Tuesday, Zurich's United States-based Farmers Insurance group will link up with Bank of America to offer services in several markets from July.

The companies said the alliance was unmatched by competitors in US banking and insurance.

"The United States is the largest market in the world. We believe this alliance between Farmers and Bank of America will become a model for similar opportunities worldwide," said Zurich Financial's chairman and chief executive officer, Rolf Hüppi.

The statement gave no financial details such as sales targets or cost savings.

The joint distribution network includes 4,400 Bank of America retail centres, 13,000 cash machines and Farmer's network of 17,000 agents.

Zurich teamed up with Bank of Scotland last Friday to provide banking services for Zurich's 4.5 million retail customers in Britain via its Allied Dunbar network, by telephone and over the Internet.

As one of Europe's top 10 insurance groups, Zurich is actively linking insurance activities with banking, having obtained a Swiss banking licence in January 1999.

Zurich is due to publish its results on Thursday. It announced last month that it expected its 2000 earnings to be weaker because of an unexpected reserve strengthening in reinsurance and exceptionally severe weather-related claims.

swissinfo with agencies


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