Zurich cost-cutting sees global review of advisers

Insurer Zurich has launched a global review of its external legal services in a move to rationalise its legal spend and will form its first official panel of preferred advisers as part of the process.

The review, which relates to the company’s corporate legal advisers and not its claims panel, which was reviewed in 2003, is being managed from the insurer’s headquarters in Zurich, Switzerland. It forms part of a wider review of all external consultants.

Zurich group legal adviser Hans-Ulrich Schoch is overseeing the legal services component of the review, with input from the general counsels in its US and UK divisions.

It is understood that the insurer does not have an existing corporate legal panel, although a spokesperson for Zurich said a key aim was to identify which areas of law and which jurisdictions a formal panel of legal advisers would need to cover.

“The goal of the review is to have the best legal services from our external lawyers at the best price. We want to develop a list of preferred suppliers, although there are no targets for actual numbers, covering all areas except claims,” said the spokesperson.

The process entails competitively reviewing legal advisers previously used by the company.

The global review comes a year after Zurich UK conducted its own panel review to cut its English and Welsh claims legal panel in half, the results of which were implemented in January 2004.

The insurer went from using 28 firms across five legal panels for separate areas of its claims business to creating one central panel of 14 firms.