The new centres in Ipswich and Bolton are part of AXA’s ongoing transformation programme

AXA has placed 106 branch roles at risk of redundancy through the creation of two new SME trading centres in Bolton and Ipswich.

The centres, created as part of AXA’s ongoing transformation programme, will deal with renewal business and mid-terms adjustments for SME policies, which are currently serviced regionally across 12 branches.

However, while the move does put 106 existing roles at risk, AXA stated that the number of actual redundancies would be less than half this number.

It said this is because the majority of the SME trading centre roles would be fulfilled by existing and experienced staff members.

Underwriting focus

The decision follows a what AXA said was a successful pilot across the company’s National Trading Centre and Scotland and Birmingham branches.

The insurer said the move will enhance its broker offering, as regional branches will now provide a dedicated underwriting service focused on SME (non-digital) new business and growth in mid-market and mid-corporate segments.

Jon Walker, executive managing director of AXA Commercial, said: “The new SME Trading Centres are the latest step towards becoming a simpler, more efficient business, in line with our simplification, growth and enhanced broker service agenda.

“Bringing SME resource together into two centres of excellence will promote underwriting efficiency and service, whilst enabling our branches to do what they do best - providing local access to complex underwriting expertise and strong account management.

“This in turn will enable us to work more closely with brokers to fulfil our shared growth ambitions, with trading relationships continuing to be managed by our branch teams.

“I am confident that this change will improve the consistency of our broker experience. At the same time, we will ensure that we fully support our people that are directly affected by this change.”