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Norfolk insurance company Aviva to cut 1,800 jobs

PUBLISHED: 07:45 06 June 2019 | UPDATED: 11:14 06 June 2019

Aviva's Norwich headquarters. Pic: Archant.

Aviva's Norwich headquarters. Pic: Archant.

Archant

Norwich insurance giant Aviva today said it 'could not rule out redundancies in Norwich' after announcing it will cut around 1,800 jobs over the next three years to save £300m.

Norfolk insurance company Aviva to cut 1,800 jobs. Picture: ArchantNorfolk insurance company Aviva to cut 1,800 jobs. Picture: Archant

Aviva, which employs 16,400 people across the UK and 30,000 globally, is looking to reduce expenses by £300m per year by 2022, from £4bn to £3.7bn.

Today an Aviva spokesperson said the 1800 job losses were 'global' across all of its offices and not only in the UK. "I can't rule out that there won't be redundancies in Norwich but we will always look at reducing roles through natural turnover, we have a 10% turnover so we won't be filling those vacancies to keep compulsory redundancies to a minimum."

She said staff were told today of the announcement but that the redundancy process would not be immediate but would take place "over the next few months" meaning a wait for some on whether they'll lose their jobs. Staff were being given sessions with their managers to discuss the job losses, she added.

It comes as part of CEO Maurice Tulloch's overhaul of the business aiming to make it more efficient and also separating arms of the business which had been brought together under one massive operation.

The spokesperson today said the announcement was not connected with the decision of chief financial officer and director Tom Stoddard to step down yesterday, although a new 'leadership team' was being put together.

The arms of the business being divided include savings, retirement, pensions and life insurance, all part of the 'Life' brand but customers will notice no difference in service, the spokesperson assured.

"This is not about Aviva losing money, it's the fact our costs have increased because we have invested in other projects and we are looking to reduce those costs and become leaner but we are not cutting back services, or wholesale departments. We are looking to reduce duplication of roles."

When asked by this newspaper for an interview with senior managers, Aviva declined.

The company, which has offices in Surrey Street, said it had engaged with Unite and employee representative bodies and would continue to consult on proposals.

Maurice Tulloch, chief executive officer, said in an announcement: "Today is the first step in our plan to make Aviva simpler, more competitive and more commercial. But there are also clear opportunities to improve.

"Reducing Aviva's costs is essential to remain competitive and this means tough decisions and job losses which I do not take lightly. We will do all we can to minimise redundancies and support our people through this.

"I am also determined to crack Aviva's complexity, an issue which has held back our performance for too long. Today's changes will begin to reduce complexity, cost and duplication, enabling Aviva to be better at serving our customers and delivering stronger results for our shareholders."

The group said savings will also be made across central costs, contractor and consultant spend, reduction in project spend and in other areas.

It has not given a split of which teams or offices will be affected, but said the cuts will be made across its UK and international operations.

Customers will not see any changes as a result of the UK split, it said.

It comes as part of a revamp of the group by new chief executive Mr Tulloch, who took on the top job in March.

Aviva also announced plans to split its UK life and general insurance businesses to "enable stronger accountability and greater management focus".

The combined business was previously led by Andy Briggs, who stepped down in April just weeks after he missed out on the top job.

He remains with the insurer until October 23 to support an orderly transition.

Aviva has offices in France, Italy, Lithuania, Poland, Singapore and Hong Kong as well as the UK.

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