Insurers are hit by surprise events such as the recent flash floods
Up to 900 jobs could be lost at Zurich's general insurance unit in the UK after the firm said it would cut its workforce in an efficiency drive.
Zurich is consulting with unions on plans to cut staff numbers by about 10% by the end of the year.
The business employs 5,400 staff in 20 locations across the country but it is unclear which offices will be affected.
The news comes on the same day as rival Aviva, owner of Norwich Insurance, said it would cut 1,800 jobs by 2010.
Zurich said the "decisive" restructuring would improve customer focus and help to achieve more "sustainable" growth in profits.
It said that between 700 and 900 posts were likely to be lost.
The business, which provides general cover for companies and individuals, operates from 20 sites, the largest being in Birmingham and Whiteley, Hampshire.
"We recognize that there are difficult times ahead for our people," said Guy Munnoch, chief executive of the firm's general insurance arm.
"However, it is clear that if we want to remain competitive, we must act swiftly to increase efficiencies so that we can achieve our growth plans and safeguard the future of our business in the UK."