Insurer insists broker service will not be hit by 4,000 job losses

Nowich Union insisted this week that broker service levels would not be "materially affected" by its decision to cut 4,000 jobs.

Aviva, NU's parent company, has faced a growing backlash this week after announcing the job cull across Norwich Union and RAC. But the company said service levels for broker customers would remain at their current level, despite 1,000 jobs being offshored to India.

NU blames the move on customers buying more policies over the internet.

Trade unions have lashed out at the insurance giant for failing to keep staff informed of its intentions.

Amicus is considering a series of actions to pressure Aviva into reversing the decision. These include: raising cash to fund a campaign to boycott Aviva products; meetings with the Department of Trade and Industry and the MPs of all the constituencies affected; and possible industrial action.

An Amicus spokesman told Insurance Times: "We are angered on behalf of our staff who heard about the job losses on the radio. We think it's disgraceful for staff to lose their jobs in favour of offshoring."

Russell Martin, HR director at NU, said the insurer was concentrating on consulting the affected staff through open forums, which would include trade union representatives. The first of a series of meetings was held on Tuesday.

"We have a commitment to try to mitigate the impact of redundancies," said Martin. "Redundancies will be made between now and the end of 2007 and the consultation will be ongoing."

Further misery could be heaped on NU workers after an NU spokesman refused to rule out additional job cuts in the future.

The redeployment and redundancies are expected to cost NU up to £250m over the next 15 months. Thereafter, the insurer claims it will save an annual £250m.

Up to 1,000 jobs will be transferred to call centres in India, where the insurer already employs about 5,500 people. A further 500 will go from the IT division, after a decision to outsource the roles.