And pulls out of Baden-Baden after investor failure

Gerling is to cut its head count before Christmas as part of a slimming down plan.

About eight jobs have gone from across the group's UK general insurance operation with another four to go.

UK general insurance operation managing director Reiner Gleiss said 12 jobs would go in total.

Gleiss said that all the job losses would be from Gerling's London offices and would affect staff in roles such as back office support, underwriting and claims.

Gleiss said the cuts were being made through a combination of "natural wastage and redundancies".

He could not say how many would be compulsory redundancies.

The cuts were a result of the company refocusing on mid to large-sized risk managed industrial accounts.

Gleiss said: "We want to get out of those lines of business that are more process driven.

"We aren't interested in hotels or supermarket chains.

"We are looking for highly complex risks and that's where we are going to get growth."

He said that the company's property and casualty customer base was growing.

The decision to refocus the business explained Gerling's sale to Lloyd's group Brit of motor renewal rights worth £17m.

Brit Insurance Holdings claimed that its purchase of the fleet account rights from the Gerling group made it one of the leading motor businesses in the London Market.

The job losses were part of a strategy launched earlier this year to lose about 11% of staff worldwide.

Gerling pulled out of this week's reinsurance industry get-together in Baden-Baden following its failure to find an investor to help support its reinsurance business.

Talks over a possible sale to SCOR fell through last month after US subsidiary Gerling Global Reinsurance stopped writing new business.

Heavy reinsurance losses were causing trouble as early as March this year when Gerling shareholder Deutsche Bank was reported to be trying to get rid of its 34.5% stake.

Wilson Laidlaw, a partner at reinsurance brokers First City, said: "People are running around like headless chickens, trying to pick up Gerling's business."

Several analysts have said that Gerling's search for a partner had dragged on "too long", making it increasingly doubtful that the firm could be saved.

Gerling's absence will make it more difficult for the firm to secure new underwriting business in its main markets.