Hundreds of jobs go at insurance firm

INSURANCE workers in Ipswich were today waiting anxiously to see if they had a future with the company after it announced hundreds more jobs are to be moved to India.

INSURANCE workers in Ipswich were today waiting anxiously to see if they had a future with the company after it announced hundreds more jobs are to be moved to India.

In a move which will lead to compulsory redundancies across the country, Norwich Union (NU) announced today that around 950 jobs will be created in India and Sri Lanka next year.

Most of the job losses will be at offices in Norwich and York with 20 to be taken from other offices – possibly including Ipswich.

Aviva, which owns NU, said that by the end of 2007 it will have offshored 7,000 jobs servicing its UK businesses.

Amicus attacked the announcement, which it warned underlined the threat to the future of the UK financial services industry.

Aviva said it expected no more than 150 compulsory redundancies next year as a result of today's move.

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"Offshoring is a well-established strategy for Aviva which provides flexibility and efficiency and enables the company to maintain the quality of service which customers demand," the company said in a statement.

Liz Kennett, of NU, said: "There will be 20 additional jobs losses to the ones happening at Norwich and York.

"We do not yet know which of the 40 sites we have in UK they will be from but not all 20 will be from the same location."

The announcement comes just weeks after a survey by Amicus showed that thousands of NU staff go to work each day worried that their jobs will be shifted overseas.

A survey of almost 2,000 NU employees found that 99.9pc of staff fear the company, which has offices in Crown Street, Ipswich, wants to

move more work abroad.

In December last year it was announced there would be job losses in Ipswich as NU moved work elsewhere, with an estimated 50 posts due to be affected.

Around 760 of the new jobs announced today will be based in India servicing the life and pensions and general insurance businesses in mainly back office administrative roles. A further 190 finance support jobs will be created in Sri Lanka.

Gary Withers, Norwich Union Life's chief executive, said: "We operate in very competitive markets where customers continually seek better value for money and quality of service.

"We expect to conclude our offshoring plans by the end of 2007, by which time we anticipate that we will have up to 7,000 roles offshore servicing our existing UK businesses.

"We recognise that this is a period of great uncertainty and will do everything we can to support staff during this time and ensure that they are kept fully informed throughout the process."

NU has already offshored 3,700 jobs to India since last year.

David Fleming, national officer at Amicus, said: "Norwich Union have at last revealed their true intentions. This points to a bleak future for the UK financial services industry as a whole."

Do you work for Norwich Union? Are you concerned about your job? Write in to Your Letters, Evening Star, 30 Lower Brook Street, Ipswich, IP4 1AN or e-mail

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