Insurance giant looks to cut costs in three-month outsourcing pilot

At least 15% of Chubb Europe's workforce face the threat of redundancy, following the US insurance giant's decision to trial the outsourcing of jobs offshore.

The company confirmed on Tuesday that it would run a pilot outsourcing project for three months from June involving its finance and operations departments in a bid to cut costs.

It said as many as 180 jobs, mainly in the UK, could be "affected", although internal sources suggested the figure could be more than double that.

Chubb Europe staff were informed of the plans on Wednesday morning.

The project will use a business process outsourcing company to offshore operations to Asia and Eastern Europe. The outsourced functions will initially run in tandem with the in-house functions to assess the program's efficiency.

The company estimated the project could save it $7m to $10m a year.

Chubb said once the pilot had been undertaken and evaluated, it would decide "how to proceed with offshoring in the longer term".

But it added the expectation was that it would be rolled out.

The insurer confirmed that if the project was fully implemented then "in all likelihood" there would be some redundancies.

It would not say how many jobs could be lost.

A statement from Chubb said: "There is a distinction between how many jobs may be affected by offshoring and how many redundancies there might be as a result of us moving to offshoring.

"If we move ahead as anticipated, then we envisage in the region of 12-15% of Chubb Europe staff may be affected.There are approximately 1200 staff at Chubb Europe."

The statement added: "We would, of course, manage the impact on affected staff by offering internal moves or promotions where available and also through natural attrition."

But a senior manager at Chubb Europe, who wished to remain anonymous, said that the true figure could be as much as 500.