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Political risk high in 2014: Zurich CEO

Martin Senn, chief executive of Zurich Insurance told CNBC at the World Economic Forum that although the general mood was "much more upbeat" towards the global economy, risks still remained.

Speaking to CNBC in Davos, Switzerland, Senn cited "complacency in the public sector" and political events, such as the 40 national elections taking place around the world in 2014, as particular risks facing the global economy.

"There is definitely a much more constructive mood, the mood is much more upbeat overall with the outlook for global economic growth but there are still downside risks and one needs to keep those risks in mind."

In November, Zurich posted a third-quarter net profit of $1.103 billion, a figure which came in above market expectation.It was good news for the Swiss insurer after a dismal second quarter. Then, it had reported a 27 percent drop in net profits to $789 million as revenues were weighed down by flooding in Europe, tornados in the United States and meager investment returns.

"To write profitable business is always a challenge because we have competition and it's competition which is putting us in a position to be disciplined," Senn said.

"We're not seeing an increase in investment income yet because interest rates are still very low...but there's definitely a flattening out of the situation so that is a good starting point for 2014."

Zurich was dogged by controversy last year too after the suspected suicide of the company's former chief financial officer, Pierre Wauthier.

In a note left at the scene, Wauthier had insinuated that the company's then-chairman, Josef Ackermann, had put him under pressure. But two independent investigations conducted by the Swiss financial market watchdog FINMA cleared the company of any wrongdoing in November.

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