Zurich is developing a new employee education scheme set for launch in 2006.

The Global Associate Programme is a one-year course that will result in the exchange of qualified professionals within Zurich's global network.

The insurer intends to recruit four graduates to its claims function to take part in the programme,where they will spend six months in the UK before spending 14 weeks on rotation in either America or Europe.

Bill Paton,Zurich chief claims officer and CII Faculty
of Claims member, said: "The purpose of the programme is to develop a pool of talented individuals that can work across the group."

He added that he believed it would not be long before the insurance industry adopted a system similar to the legal profession,where certain grades would have to be achieved to prove appropriate credentials.