UK boss David Martin confirms that broker is in consultation with UK staff

Willis is to axe between 100 and 200 jobs in the UK as part of the global cost-cutting plan it announced with its first-quarter results, Insurance Times understands.

The broking group declined to comment on the exact number of job losses, but Willis UK chief executive David Martin confirmed that the company was in consultation with UK employees about the cuts.

The company did not give details about which UK locations and divisions the cuts would fall in.

Willis has around 4,000 employees in the UK.

In its first-quarter results, Willis said it had embarked on a global cost-cutting programme that will run until the end of 2017.

The company expects to achieve cumulative cost savings of $420m (£250m) while the scheme is running and $300m of annual cost savings thereafter, starting in 2018.

Willis’s UK business is now part of a division called Global Insurance, following its merger with the company’s London-based specialty unit.

Martin said: “As part of a global programme to connect and increase investment in Willis’s sales, analytics and client service capabilities and reduce our operational cost base, we are restructuring our Global Insurance operations into a more efficient and client-centric organisation.

“Our efforts are focused on providing the best possible risk advisory and broking capabilities for all our clients and improving our knowledge of their needs via the development of Global Industry practices as previously announced. Client service remains our number one priority.

“As part of this process, we have entered into a consultation with a number of Willis associates from across the Global Insurance business, including in the UK.”

Willis’s cost-cutting scheme includes net reductions to the workforce in support positions, as well as relocating 3,500 support roles from higher-cost locations such as capital cities.

It is therefore likely that, in addition to the cuts, some London roles will transfer to Willis’s Ipswich office.