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The geography of insurance services: Zurich as a global financial centre

Grant number: 18/24458-0
Support type:Scholarships abroad - Research Internship - Scientific Initiation
Effective date (Start): January 01, 2019
Effective date (End): March 31, 2019
Field of knowledge:Humanities - Geography - Human Geography
Principal researcher:María Mónica Arroyo
Grantee:Rita de Cássia Barros
Supervisor abroad: Christian Berndt
Home Institution: Faculdade de Filosofia, Letras e Ciências Humanas (FFLCH). Universidade de São Paulo (USP). São Paulo , SP, Brazil
Research place: University of Zurich (UZH), Switzerland  
Associated to the scholarship:17/24352-4 - Geography of services and territory regulation: the maritime insurance activity in Brazil and its insertion in the international flows of goods, BP.IC


Today there is a wide range of insurance and reinsurance products in the world, following the complex transformations of society and space, which this specific financial service has historically supported under Capitalist development. Nonetheless, regulation, business practices and Capital availability for the insurance and reinsurance activity may dramatically vary, depending on the territory those services are supplied and/or demanded for. Recent indicators for the geographical presence of the insurance market in the different continents reveal that Brazil is, for this sector, the most prominent country in Latin America and the Caribbean region, but there is a trend towards economic concentration and predominance of foreign companies. São Paulo, in this sense, holds the national primacy of the activity, but its place in the international urban network and in the territorial division of labor for the insurance services is yet to be researched. This foreign research internship project proposes to analyze Zurich as the host city for the global headquarters of a few reinsurance corporations which local or regional headquarters are hosted in São Paulo. A relevant research about the geography of financial jobs suggests Zurich is, among the leading global financial centers, one of the cities that concentrates relatively more credit and insurance professionals compared to other financial sectors. Thus, in this journey we seek to understand the possible correlations between the role of Zurich as a financial centre and the performance of these companies, characterizing them, on one hand, and identifying the normative agents that regulate this activity in Switzerland, on the other. Ultimately, we expect this research may help understanding the place of Brazil in the business management and urban network of this financial service on a regional and global scale. (AU)

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