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Hundreds of jobs to go at insurance firm
STAFF at financial giant Zurich ’s Swindon headquarters are facing uncertainty after the firm announced it was to shed 200 jobs.
The global insurance company announced last week an overhaul of its priorities for its UK Life business, based in Station Road, leading to a reduction in staff.
Bosses told workers that subject to consultation, around 200 jobs will be removed from management levels across the business, which employs 1,400 people, including departments such as sales and marketing, senior management, finance and operations.
Zurich cited challenging and changing market conditions and unprecedented regulatory change as the reasons behind the move and in a statement on its website said the UK Life business was to be ‘realigned’ to become more efficient.
Gary Shaughnessy, CEO for UK Life, said the continuing transfer of financial responsibility from the state and corporates to the individual, the savings and protection gap in the UK, and forthcoming regulatory change, made it essential for the business to change.
“As our recent results demonstrate, our business is well positioned despite the challenging markets we're operating in,” he said.
“For example, we've recently made significant investments into our corporate and retail platforms to meet the changing needs of our customers and partners.
“We're a strong company with a proven track record, but in order to maintain and build on our success we must ensure that we operate with a sustainable and focussed cost base.
“With the market backdrop and imminent regulatory and market changes, we have a responsibility to take steps so we can continue to deliver and invest for our partners and customers in the future.
“That can mean having to make some difficult decisions about the way we run the business and where we focus.
“These steps are not taken lightly and we will do all we can to help our people at this difficult time.”
A spokesman added they were unable to say how many jobs may be lost from the Swindon offices, but the firm was committed to operating in the town.
Some of the sales roles affected by the proposed changes are within the business's UK Life branches around the country, which are proposed to be streamlined and reduced from nine to five by the end of October.
Zurich has notified the people whose jobs may be affected that their roles are at risk of redundancy. The majority of those affected will now enter into a 90-day consultation process, while branch-based employees will enter into a 30-day consultation.
The insurer is also consulting with its Employee Forum about the proposals. For those employees based in Cheltenham, it is also consulting with union representatives.