Zurich UK Life appoints Helen Pickford as CFO

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Zurich UK Life appoints Helen Pickford as CFO

Zurich UK Life has announced the appointment of Helen Pickford as chief financial officer (CFO).

She will succeed current CFO Neil Evans on 1 April, when he retires from Zurich after 28 years with the business.

Pickford who has more than 20 years' experience in the insurance industry, joins from Ageas, where she was finance director for eight years.

Prior to this, she spent almost 15 years in senior roles at Royal Sun Alliance and its associated companies, including as Finance Director of the UK Retail and Affinity business and Group Head of Investor Relations.

Jim Sykes ad interim CEO of Zurich UK Life, said: "Helen is an outstanding addition to the senior management team, and I am delighted to welcome her on board.

"She brings with her extensive industry knowledge and experience gained over two decades in the highly-competitive insurance market.

"Helen's broad expertise will be crucial as we adapt to the changing needs of customers in the new pensions landscape, and continue to drive the profitable growth of our business."

Zurich UK Life results 

Pickford's appointment follows the announcement of Zurich UK Life's full year results for 2015 last week. 

Last week Zurich announced a business operating profit (BOP) of £113m, is 2% down on 2014 (£115m.) 

The insurer said that increased protection profits contributed to performance as did legacy business management actions including the sale of our annuity back book.

This was a "favourable result" in the context of the large, one-off, policyholder tax benefit in the first half of 2014 and lower bond yields and stock market returns this year.

Meanwhile new business was up 5% and annualised Premium Equivalent (APE) of £812m is 11% down on full year in 2014, reflecting the insurer's corporate savings business.

Zurich said that "protection volumes were challenged by intense price competition in the market."

Meanwhile the insurer's New Business Margin (NBM) of 16.1% is 2.5 points higher compared to last year. This reflected a "more steady volume growth across our higher margin protection business and lower volumes of corporate savings platform business", Zurich said. 

Jim Sykes, interim CEO of Zurich UK Life, said: "Both retail and group protection enjoyed strong double digit growth for Zurich UK Life in 2015. This increase in business volumes has helped to boost new business value and business operating profit.

"Our results reflect our high quality underwriting expertise and having accepted 96% of all claims made last year, show that we are consistently there for our customers when they need us. Payments out across income protection, life and critical illness cover amounted to over £630m."

 

 

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