Zurich’s Swiss-based insurance company announced that it would temporarily remove the Z from its current social media accounts. This news comes after it was discovered that the letter Z has become synonymous with support of the Russian war.
Zurich has spoken out against the violence in Ukraine since it began. The company has stated on its website that it vehemently condemns the aggression against Ukraine and praises the actions of the EU and the Swiss government for imposing sanctions against Russia. Alongside its support, the company also pledged to raise money for humanitarian efforts for those affected most by the violence.
Zurich’s trademark large white Z within a blue circle has served as the company’s logo since 1997. Previous to 1997, the original logo was a standalone black Z within a white circle. Zurich stated that in its 150 years of business, it has learned to adapt and change as necessary and will do what is needed to represent its values more closely, hence the present change. There is a possibility the removal of the Z could become permanent.
The letter Z has been utilized to mark Russian military vehicles. While it is unknown why the Russians began using the Z symbol, it has been speculated that the symbol allows for quick identification of which military vehicles belong to Russia. As a result, Z has also become the leading symbol of supporters of the war and pro-Kremlin groups, and it has been emblazoned on flags, shirts, and outwear.
As Zurich is one of Europe’s largest insurance providers, the company wanted to be sure that its brand was not misinterpreted as supporting what Moscow refers to as a “special military operation.”
In 2014 Zurich sold its Russian policies for retail businesses to OLMA. However, it maintained its large corporate accounts. Zurich has been a significant component of Russian business since 1996. To further show its abhorrence towards the invasion, Zurich has decided to no longer accept Russian customers and will not be renewing its current Russian business accounts.
How the loss of Russian clientele will affect the Swiss insurance company is unknown. However, as long as the conflict continues, it seems that Zurich is firm in its decision to withdraw further business and phase out current customers. Zurich stated that it is monitoring the situation and remains willing to take further action if necessary.