John Kitson's division hit with 100 redundancies

Job losses are expected across the insurance industry after Aviva announced plans to cut 100 positions, while AXA said it would close a Surrey-based underwriting office.

Aviva said it would make the cuts in its sales and marketing division. Staff were told the round of redundancies would take place in the new year.

The division is led by sales and marketing director John Kitson, but he has told the company he intends to leave in March next year to take time out from the industry.

An Aviva spokesman said the reason behind the cuts was “to focus on key sectors that develop broker partnerships”.

“It is a difficult market so it’s about maintaining focus at the moment,” the spokesman added.

Aviva employs a total of 2,300 staff in sales and marketing roles.

Meanwhile, AXA said that there would be job losses, although minimal, after announcing it would close its 23-strong Redhill operation and roll it into the larger Reading office.

All staff will be offered the chance to relocate to the Reading premises. The Redhill office would still remain occupied by AXA Assistance, which occupies a separate part of the building.

Head of customer service delivery David Gill said the closure was not driven by cutting costs. Rather, the move would enable the company to draw on its greater resources in Reading, to the benefit of the customer.

He said: “It was not about cost cutting but about how we can more consistently serve our customers, and one of the ways we could do that was with an operation with scale.”

The decision follows AXA’s announcement in June to cut around 560 staff, of which half will come from the UK.

AXA said it aimed to streamline its operating model and make operational efficiencies.

At the time, chief executive Philippe Maso said: “We have reviewed our operating model to ensure we are in the best shape possible.

“This will mean a reduction in roles in our business, and although we have taken as much action as possible to reduce costs without impacting roles, some reduction was inevitable.

“Although I am sad that we had to take such extreme measures, I am utterly convinced they are right to build a stronger and more efficient business for the future.”