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1,800 jobs to go at Norwich Union

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by Kay Mitchell

Aviva is to cut up to 1,800 jobs at its Norwich Union business, as it looks to streamline its insurance operations.

Britain’s biggest insurer is to slash the administration jobs by 2010 as it reduces its customer service and back office centres for general insurance from 22 to 7. The company has pledged to try to find people other jobs locally.

The 7 ’centres of excellence‘ are based in Norwich, Perth, Bishopbriggs, Stretford, Manchester, Leicester and Southend.

The Unite union described the job cuts as brutal and said the news for staff that their jobs are now in jeopardy is truly devastating.

Back in October, Aviva said that it planned to make savings at its UK business but did not indicate how many jobs would go. Unions were said to be furious by the announcement to move backroom jobs to India.

Chief executive of Norwich Union Insurance, Igal Mayer said we want to deliver excellent, consistent and reliable customer service with market leading efficiency.

To achieve this we will need to fundamentally simplify our business, consolidating our expertise into seven insurance centres of the future in the UK, concluded Mr Mayer.

At the end of April, Aviva stunned the insurance sector by announcing it is to scrap the Norwich Union brand name.

Norwich Union is the biggest life-insurer in the UK with a strong position in car insurance and has been one of the country’s best-known financial services brands for over 200 years.

Aviva was formed by a merger of Norwich Union and CGU plc in 2000. The group was renamed Aviva in 2002. Norwich Union is currently the biggest sponsor of UK athletics.

Last week, Swiss insurance giant, Zurich Financial Services, announced a cost-cutting exercise which could result in a reduction of headcount of up to 900.

In a bid to cut costs by 10% by the end of the year, Zurich staff have been informed that between 700 and 900 jobs, in its general insurance arm, are going to be lost.

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News posted: June 9, 2008

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