Insurance claims office set to close

NEARLY 200 staff are set to lose their jobs at an insurance claims office around the end of the month.

Part-nationalised Royal Bank of Scotland (RBS) announced the closure of its Churchill Insurance in Ipswich’s Crown Street, which employs around 194 people, more than a year ago but said the cuts would not happen immediately.

While RBS is axing insurance claims jobs in the town, Ipswich has come out of the UK-wide cuts better than some towns.

RBS is retaining its customer services office in Princes Street, where in August last year 356 staff were employed. Since then, it has been recruiting more staff, with around 220 staff recruited by the end of this year. Meanwhile, it has shed around 30 claims jobs, and another company, Devitt Insurance, which was based in the building and employed about 45 staff, was the subject of a management buyout and moved out of the site. Overall, there are now around 500 staff employed there. Around 17 staff have transferred from claims jobs in Ipswich to customer services.

A spokesman said a number may have moved on to other insurance claims firms.

RBS Insurance is consolidating all of its functions and cutting its offices from 36 to just 13. Instead of having multiple insurance functions in each office, as now, each will be dedicated to one area, such as claims or customer services.

The Princes Street office will be one of just eight sales and services centres of excellence across the country.

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RBS announced last year that it would be cutting around 2,000 jobs out of a total workforce of 16,000 under its rationalisation plans.

RBS Insurance spokesperson Matt Owen said he could not be more specific about the Crown Street office closure at this stage.

“We don’t have a date, I’m afraid. The plan is to consolidate into Princes Street. That’s still going to happen. It’s a very fluid situation. It’s not just Ipswich we are consolidating in,” he said.

“It was originally planned for the end of October so I would expect those plans to still be on track.”

Some roles would go to Princes Street and the rest would cease to exist, he said. The human resources staff would be talking with employees about their future.

“What we have is claims and then customer services - the claims function won’t exist in Ipswich,” he said.

“We have gone from 36 to 13 offices around the country.”

In other towns, such as Cardiff, the RBS Insurance presence is set to disappear completely.