New jobs threat at insurance group

INSURANCE giant Axa today warned of a further 350 job losses in a cost cutting drive aimed at boosting annual savings to �150 million.

INSURANCE giant Axa today warned of a further 350 job losses in a cost cutting drive aimed at boosting annual savings to �150 million.

The cuts are planned with Axa UK's life business, the main offices of which are based in Bristol, Basingstoke and Coventry.

However, an Axa spokesman was not immediately able to rule out the possibility of further redundancies at the group's offices in Suffolk.

In June, Axa announced the loss of 120 jobs across its three offices in the county, mostly as its Civic Drive site in Ipswich, as part of a group-wide reduction of 560 jobs.

An spokesman for Axa's life business said yesterday that the consultation on the latest job losses was at a very early stage and it was not possible to confirm which locations would be affected.

However, any further reduction in the headcount at Ipswich, which currently totals around 1,500, is likely to be much smaller, with most staff at the life business being based elsewhere in the UK or at an offshore base in the Isle of Man.

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News of the latest job cuts came as Axa announced half year results showing earnings of �186million, an increase of 2% compared with last year's first half.

However, Axa said that trading conditions remained “testing”, with the results benefiting from a significant one-off gain from a restructuring of annuity liabilities, which raised underlying earnings for the life and savings business from �72 million in last year's first half to �126million.