Zurich Insurance Group AG, Switzerland’s biggest insurer, fired 53 people across its general insurance operations in the Middle East as part of cost- cutting plans.

“Fifty-three people were made redundant from the general insurance business in the Middle East in October, spread across all six countries where we have licenses in the region,” Sean McAllister, a Dubai-based spokesman for the insurer, said in an e-mailed statement today. The move was partly due to “cost- cutting and partly the introduction of a leaner structure to make the business more agile in the Middle East,” he said.

General insurance’s gross written premiums from the Middle East declined to $148 million in the first nine months of the year from $151 million in the year before period, according to company filings. Gross written premiums in the first nine months of the group’s total general insurance business were $28.2 billion.

The company’s life insurance business in the region was not impacted by the redundancies, according to McAllister. Zurich Insurance is due to hold an investor day tomorrow in Zurich.

–Editors: Zoe Schneeweiss, Steve Bailey