AXA and Marsh become latest insurance companies to announce swingeing cuts.

Another 1,400 insurance jobs fell foul of the credit crunch this week as AXA and Marsh announced plans to slash their workforces.

The combined figure sees the total number of industry job losses reach 6,000 so far this year. It follows large-scale cut-backs at Norwich Union, which earlier in 2008 announced it would slash its workforce by 1,800 by 2010. Zurich has also said it could cull up to 900 jobs by the end of the year.

On announcing its half year results last week, AXA said it expected to make up to 500 redundancies in the UK as part of its continued transformation of the business, involving the creation of 11 strategic business units.

The insurer, which has been criticised for its broker service, pledged that the cuts would not impact on broker support staff. It recently drafted in Paul Meehan, formerly of Smart & Cook, to improve its broker service. A spokesman refused to confirm which positions within the business would be axed. Further details are expected in the fourth quarter of the year.

In a statement, AXA said that up to 500 redundancies were expected within the support services and related functions, subject to consultation.

It said: “The company will manage the process with sensitivity to limit the number of compulsory redundancies where possible by focusing on reducing headcount through natural attrition, redeployment and more efficient use of contractors.”

The company said it expected to make a combined annual saving of £80m over three years. AXA Ireland has already announced plans to cut 120 jobs to reduce its cost base.

Meanwhile, global broker Marsh said it expected to cut a further 900 jobs, on announcing its second quarter results. The firm has already made over 500 job cuts this year, as well as outsourcing 600 staff to Capita in a move to restructure its UK operation.

Dan Glaser, chairman and chief executive of Marsh, said total restructuring costs so far this year has been $36m (£18.9m), which would result in annualised saving of more than $45m.

He said: “The cuts largely will come from corporate, back office operations and non client facing areas. We will also see reductions as a result of the operating model changes we are making in our US business.

“We are being surgical with these reductions, which will be largely executed this year and will result in an additional 900 position eliminations. A portion of which will come from attrition and further outsourcing.”

Other high profile job cuts this year have included IAG and Endsleigh announcing plans to slash 300 jobs each.

‘ See results round-up page eight and online analysis, ‘Paying the price’.