Norwich Union (NU) is failing its customers and staff, according to its own employees. A damning internal survey, leaked to Insurance Times, exposes a company seen from within as dishonest and ignorin ...

Norwich Union (NU) is failing its customers and staff, according to its own employees. A damning internal survey, leaked to Insurance Times, exposes a company seen from within as dishonest and ignoring its customer needs.

Despite NU's advertising slogan, "Together, We're Stronger", the results of the staff questionnaire, produced last week, condemn its attitude towards its customers and workers.

Presented with the statement, "Norwich Union understands the needs of staff and customers", just 11% of claims handlers at one particular branch agreed.

Across all NU's claims departments, the figure rose to just 25%.

The same staff had similar difficulty in describing the company as honest.

Fewer than 20% at the same office could agree with the statement, "Norwich Union is open and honest with staff and customers" while across all claims offices, the figure again failed to rise higher than 25%.

Damning the company with feint praise, a paltry 17% of claims staff at one particular office and just 37% across the country agreed that "customer needs are at the heart of Norwich Union".

The crisis of confidence is worst in offices away from the Norwich headquarters and will not be helped by the closure of the Northampton NU Direct office, where staff will receive redundancy letters at the end of the month.

Some of the 120 workers may be able to find jobs elsewhere in the company but many are likely to be out of work.

The questionnaire's results show that despite plummeting staff morale, managers have been effective in making sure their voices are heard.

One of the highest scores is for the statement "My manager makes it clear what is expected of me at work", which 80% of claims workers agree with.

But the communication appears to be one-way. Just 26% of claims handlers agree that "There is mutual trust between management and staff at Norwich Union Insurance."

Across all NU's claims departments, the lowest score is the 24% agreement with the statement: "Communications within NUI are open and honest."

The results portray a corporate culture based on mistrust in which innovation is not rewarded and staff grudgingly acknowledge their goals - high scores are recorded for statements testing staff knowledge of their objectives.

Senior management will be unable to argue the results come as a surprise. Low scores were returned on the questionnaire last year and in many cases have deteriorated even further.

NU chief executive Patrick Snowball admitted to Insurance Times back in March that customer service standards and staff morale were low.

The company did not respond before Insurance Times went to press.