The week's winners
Royal & SunAlliance up 3.6%
Marsh up 3.6%
Beazley up 3.4%
The week's losers
Benfield down 1.9%
Amlin down 1.5%

Zurich Financial Services sank by more than 6% in London early on Tuesday morning after Royal & SunAlliance announced its poaching of George Culmer as its new financial officer.

Culmer, 41, who replaces Julian Hance, currently heads capital management for Zurich in the UK and will join R&SA on a salary of £380,000 and will receive options equivalent to the year's salary when he starts work.

Hance earned a total of £538,000 last year.

R&SA's stock was at 89p on Tuesday, still beneath the level of just less than 105p where it was a year ago before fears over the group's capital position saw it crash to just 45p in March.

Zurich's stock regained its position on Tuesday to trade at £75 in London. One year ago it was at about £60.

Elsewhere, Chaucer added 1.4 million shares to its listing following terms of the deal with Numis Securities for a placing and open offer in April last year.

Advisers started the year on a mildly bullish note, with Threadneedle suggesting that insurers get into riskier asset classes than they did in 2003. Madeline Forrester, head of insurance asset management, said: "Taking investment risk will be rewarded in 2004, and diversification away from government bonds is potentially attractive.

"Given that returns of all asset classes will be lower than those seen in the 1990s it may well be that investment returns will be overshadowed by the potential returns from good underwriting in the current market. In this environment conservatism may continue to rule the day, despite the low historic returns we are forecasting for short government and good quality bonds."