Jobs to go at insurance group

ROYAL & Sun Alliance, the UK's second largest commercial insurer, yesterday announced plans to axe 1,000 jobs in the UK by June 2008.The company currently has 10,000 staff in its 24 offices in the UK, including in Chelmsford and Ipswich where it employs 340 and 20 people respectively.

ROYAL & Sun Alliance, the UK's second largest commercial insurer, yesterday announced plans to axe 1,000 jobs in the UK by June 2008.

The company currently has 10,000 staff in its 24 offices in the UK, including in Chelmsford and Ipswich where it employs 340 and 20 people respectively.

It said the job cuts would help deliver savings of £70 million in the next two years in the UK. The move is part of a wider plan to cut 1,500 jobs to make savings of £130 million across the group.

R&SA external communications manager Jon Sellors said: “We are laying out some growth plans for our global business and our UK business.


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“We have set out some pretty ambitious growth targets and key to that is going to be reducing our expenses to make us easier for people to do business with.

“We will reduce our UK workforce by 1,000 roles by the end of June 2008. That is part of a wider group reduction programme of 1,550.

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“It is too early to say where the jobs will be going and we will be working with our union partners to develop that, but we expect over half to go through natural turnover and redeployment to minimise compulsory redundancies.”

He added that the group was looking to making the job cuts evenly across its brokerage business, retail business and back-office functions.

“They will be throughout the UK and across the whole business, so there is a potential impact in Chelmsford and Ipswich,” he said.

It is expected that the majority of the jobs will go between now and the end of 2007.

A spokesman for Amicus said the union was disappointed at the numbers involved in the redundancy programme and it would be trying to get them reduced.

R&SA, which also operates More Than and is the third largest personal motor and household insurer, set out a major restructuring of the group in 2003 with a focus on the UK, Scandinavia and an International arm.

Yesterday, the company outlined the next stage of its growth, including plans to grow the UK affinity business by more than 50%.

It said it was confident of improving customer service alongside delivering efficiency savings by using process re-engineering skills, utilising new technology and reviewing the ration of support staff for every frontline role.

Bridget McIntyre, R&SA's UK chief executive, said: “Decisions like these that affect our people are difficult but it is the right thing for our customers and our business.

“Every support will be given to our colleagues to assist them in finding new roles either within the business or with other companies.”

R&SA provides general insurance products to more than 20 million customers in 130 countries.

Its largest offices in the UK are located in Liverpool, where it employs 1,500 staff, Halifax

where it has just over 900, and at its headquarters in Horsham, West Sussex, where 1,000 employees are based. A further 1,000 of its staff work from home.

Last month, R&SA posted better-than-expected first-quarter figures after a strong performance in the UK. The group said operating profits rose to £207 million, a gain of 29% on a year earlier and higher than the £200 million forecast by City analysts.

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