Schaumburg, IL – Zurich, one of the world’s largest property-casualty insurance companies, announced today that in lieu of sending holiday greeting cards to customers, Zurich Direct Underwriters, its business unit with a highly specialized focus on the North American automotive industry, is donating another $10,000 to fund scholarships awarded through the Global Automotive Aftermarket Symposium (GAAS).  Those scholarships are awarded to young adults who want to become qualified technicians in the automotive aftermarket industry.

"Zurich prides itself on the relationships we have established with our customers, and we believe that they support our decision to donate money to this worthy cause instead of sending them a holiday card this year," said Tom Bradley, CEO of Zurich Direct Underwriters.  "This decision is another example of Zurich's commitment to doing what we can to help ensure the next generation of qualified technicians for the automotive aftermarket industry is properly trained and educated."

This is the second donation from Zurich to fund GAAS scholarships in 2007.  In late October, the company donated $10,000 to the scholarship fund.  Since GAAS began the program in 1996, more than 1,300 scholarships have been awarded, 140 this year.

The typical scholarship award amount is $1,000, but qualified applicants may be eligible for additional funding.  Applicants must either be a graduating high school senior or have graduated from high school within the past two years.  An exception to the two-year requirement will be made for military or religious service. 

About Zurich Financial Services
Zurich Financial Services Group (Zurich) is an insurance-based financial services provider with a global network of subsidiaries and offices in North America and Europe as well as in Asia Pacific, Latin America and other markets.  Founded in 1872, the Group is headquartered in Zurich, Switzerland.  It employs approximately 58,000 people serving customers in more than 170 countries.  In North America, Zurich (www.zurichna.com) is a leading commercial property-casualty insurance provider serving the global corporate, large corporate, middle market, small business, specialties and programs sectors.

Zurich’s Direct Underwriters business unit (formerly Universal Underwriters Group) was founded in 1922 and specializes in insurance coverage for the auto, truck, equipment and motorcycle dealer industry, and automotive aftermarket industry.  It also offers a full line of finance and insurance products to automobile dealers.