82 staff to change jobs or relocate

Allianz Cornhill is set to concentrate its claims operations in seven offices, a reduction from the current 12. The 82 staff affected will be offered the chance to relocate or change job, said Allianz Cornhill.

The changes will be phased in between November this year and July 2004. Allianz Cornhill's new claims executive, Jon Dye, who joined the insurer on 30 June, will oversee the changes.

Under the plan, Allianz Cornhill's Chelmsford, Luton, Maidstone, Nottingham and Southampton offices will no longer handle claims.

The seven remaining offices - Birmingham, Bristol, Glasgow, Leeds, Manchester, Milton Keynes and

Woking - will each have motor, casualty, motor personal injury and technical claims teams. Three locations will also have commercial property teams, and an industrial disease claims team is to be based in Milton Keynes. Underwriting will continue in all existing locations.

Allianz Cornhill chief executive Andrew Torrance said that if suitable alternatives cannot be found for staff unable to relocate, redundancies will be offered and any departures will be replaced. "This isn't an exercise which is designed to cut costs or reduce the number of staff we have in the claims organisation," Torrance said.

An "excellence in claims" initiative will also be launched to improve technical claims skills. A claims handling academy, similar to Allianz Cornhill's underwriting academy, will be rolled out after the changes are complete. A team of 17 motor and casualty claims investigators, based in the offices that are losing their claims function, will also be established, and office-based motor investigation teams comprising 25 people in total will be established in Manchester and Bristol.

Torrance said brokers will benefit from the new structure. "It allows [claims staff] to build expertise and be focused and we think that that will be to the benefit of our policyholders and to our brokers," he said.