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Last Updated: Monday, 25 September 2006, 06:28 GMT 07:28 UK
Swiss Re set to shed 2,000 jobs
Jacques Aigrain, Swiss Re chief executive
Swiss Re's boss Jacques Aigrain in keen to improve efficiency
Swiss Re, Europe's leading reinsurer, is to cut 2,000 jobs by the end of next year, the majority of them in Europe.

The cuts are taking place at Insurance Solutions, the insurance business Swiss Re bought from US industrial giant GE for $6.8bn (3.5bn) in 2005.

About 1,000 jobs have already been cut. More than half of these have been in Europe, the remainder in the Americas, Asia, the Middle East and Africa.

The company said the restructuring would save it $300m.

'Efficiency gains'

A series of natural disasters last year, including Hurricane Katrina in the US, have proved costly for leading insurance firms forcing many of them to streamline their businesses.

Swiss Re said it had carried out a comprehensive review of Insurance Solutions after buying it last November.

It said the "efficiency gains" were necessary to ensure the smooth integration of the business, based in Kansas City.

Swiss Re said it was hopeful that most of the remaining job cuts would be achieved through natural attrition but warned that there would be further compulsory redundancies.

Swiss Re operates in 30 countries.

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