The FINANCIAL — At today’s Annual General Meeting of Zurich Insurance Group Ltd (Zurich), shareholders approved all agenda items.
Shareholders elected Michel Liès as a new member and Chairman of the Board of Directors for a term of office of one year. His appointment follows the previously announced retirement of Tom de Swaan who served for five years as Chairman and for 12 years on the Board. All members of the Board of Directors standing for re-election were re-elected for another one-year term of office.
Shareholders also approved an increased dividend of CHF 18 per share up from CHF 17 per share, Zurich’s Management Report, the Annual Financial Statements and all other agenda items, according to Zurich.
In 2017, Zurich made considerable progress in refocusing its core business, diversifying its portfolio and exiting underperforming lines of business while acquiring new capabilities and growing its distribution footprint. Zurich improved underwriting, reduced costs and expanded its service offerings, while growing premiums and improving its customer retention levels.
In remarks to shareholders at the Annual General Meeting, Chairman of the Board of Directors Tom de Swaan said, “Zurich’s ability to embrace this changing environment is not by chance. It is through the vigilant oversight of a management team that understands the realities of these markets today, has a vision for where these markets are going in the future, and has a proven capability to drive necessary change. This is why I and my fellow Board members feel such confidence in the future earnings potential of the Zurich Group. And it is why we stand before you today proposing to increase the dividend to CHF 18 per share.”
Michel Liès, the newly-elected Chairman of the Board of Directors, said: “I am proud to join Zurich’s Board, and I want to congratulate Tom de Swaan for assembling a Board with such a wide range of experience, skills and knowledge. I look forward to working with my new colleagues.”
Group Chief Executive Officer Mario Greco said, “In society, in our industry and at Zurich, you’re witnessing fundamental change. But we are not mourning the end of an era, we are welcoming a new one. We are not being disrupted and reacting to technology, we are anticipating what customers expect of us and leading the change. We are systematically adding service capabilities and distribution platforms that build on our core strengths. And we are future proofing this organization with a renewed culture and revamped leadership team.”
Shareholders approved the dividend of CHF 18 per share for the 2017 financial year, which will be paid partially out of the available earnings for 2017 and partially out of the capital contribution reserve. The portion paid from the capital contribution reserve will be exempt from Swiss withholding tax. The dividend will be paid starting April 10, 2018.
In an advisory vote, 88.8% of shareholders represented approved the remuneration report 2017. They also approved a maximum total remuneration for the entire Board of Directors in the amount of CHF 4.65 million for the period until the next Annual General Meeting with 97.2% voting in favor. They also voted in favor of a maximum total remuneration of the Executive Committee of CHF 72.20 million for the financial year 2019 with 91.2% in favor. The remuneration reports will continue to be presented to shareholders in an advisory vote in the years to come.
PricewaterhouseCoopers AG, Zurich, was re-elected as auditor for the 2018 financial year.
There were 1,650 shareholders (incl. proxies), representing 73,935,846 registered shares or 68.7% of the shares entitled to vote, at the meeting in Zurich.