Zurich will offshore jobs as part of an operations review that puts more than 700 jobs under threat, the insurer announced this week.

More than 500 people face redundancy at Zurich's Newcastle call centre which is due to close in March 2007. In Portsmouth, 140 personal lines consumer services jobs are under threat, with a further 86 motor claims handling staff in Cardiff set to go.

A Zurich spokeswoman said: "There is still no decision on where these jobs will be transferred to, but it will be a mix between Indian call centres and the UK. It is likely that these will all be back office staff."

Zurich is working with unions to process a 90-day consultation on the redundancies. It said there were currently no plans for further job cuts, but could not rule out the possibility as the business moved forward.

In a statement the company said: "Zurich is proposing these changes following an operational review, which has led the business to conclude that it can improve effectiveness and efficiency by operating across a smaller number of locations.

"Zurich will offer full outplacement support to all those affected by today's announcements. In addition to this, help and support will be available to individuals who wish to pursue other opportunities within Zurich, as well as access to our established internal training programme."

The move is the latest in a serious of cost cutting drives to be announced across the industry this year. Norwich Union announced a cull of 1,700 staff, Royal & SunAlliance said 1,000 jobs would go in a bid to save £70m, while AXA is to cut 200 staff.