The “Zurich”overprint, pictured below on SG 573, probably belongs to the Zurich Insurance Company, which for most its history has been more commonly known as simply “Zurich”.
The company was founded in 1872 in Zurich as a marine insurance business. In 1875 it moved into accident insurance, changing its name to Zurich Transport & Accident Insurance.
In 1922 the company entered the UK general insurance market as the first foreign insurance company to write direct accident business. In 1924 Zurich strengthened its position in the UK by acquiring the Lancashire & Cheshie Insurance Co. In 1925 Zurich became the official insurer for all newly-sold Ford cars in the UK. By the end of 1926, premium insurance from the Ford Scheme was around half of Zurich’s total premium income from the UK. It was the first time a contract offering a premium discount had been linked to a specific product and helped Zurich break into a major market dominated by local companies.
By the 1950s Zurich had established itself as a one-stop wholesale insurer and in 1955 changed its name to Zurich Insurance Company.
In 2000, after a number of acquisitions and mergers, the business was unified to form one holding company called Zurich Financial Services. In 2012 the name was changed to Zurich Insurance Group Ltd. which is currently one of the world’s largest insurance groups, with over 60,000 employees worldwide, including 11,000 in the UK.