Aviva recruitment drive to create 400 Norwich jobs

Aviva will create 400 jobs in Norwich as it moves to restructure the business following its takeover of Friends Life.

The recruitment drive will underpin its plans to close offices in the north of England and bring its motor claims departments under one roof at Willow House on the Broadland Business Park.

The insurer – which already employs 5,000 people in Norfolk – said it will transform Willow House into a 'centre of excellence' and create one of the biggest motor claims handlings sites in the country,

But the move will trigger the closure of motor claims offices in Manchester Albert Square and Stretford, where Aviva employs 440 people.

While some of its staff in the north may transfer to Norwich, the majority of the jobs will be filled by people from Norfolk, the company said.

Aviva held a meeting with regional business leaders yesterday to devise a strategy for bolstering its workforce as quickly as possible.

Andrew Morrish, Aviva's claims operations director, said the claims handling roles would be filled by a broad range of people with customer service experience, from working parents to recent graduates, apprentices, older workers and the disabled.

Most Read

He said there was no direct competitor to recruit from in the area, so each new member of staff would be put through a training programme.

'Aviva is synonymous with Norwich – we like the heritage and we like the fact that people are proud of working for Aviva,' he said.

'We want to create varied careers for people. We need to recruit motor claims staff, but they might move into the life division, or the tech business. There is a great career with Aviva in Norwich. It is unusual to have a company like Aviva that has a range of different divisions in one place.'

Mr Morrish said that Aviva wanted to reinforce its commitment to Norwich by engaging more with the local business community.

'Getting support from business leaders and being more tuned into what's happening around Norfolk is good for us,' he said.

'We have grown to understand that we are linked to this area and it is important for us to have a voice.'

The recruitment drive comes after Aviva announced a UK-wide restructuring in June.

The company needs to cut 1,500 jobs and find £225m worth of annual savings by the end of 2017 following its takeover of rival insurer Friends Life.

It plans to close offices in Salisbury, Stretford and Salford and reduce its operations in Dorking, Exeter and Manchester City Centre.

Aviva sealed a £5.6bn deal for Friends Life in April, heralding one of the biggest takeovers in the insurance industry for decades.

• Do you have a business story for the Eastern Daily Press? Contact business editor Ben Woods on 01603772426 or email ben.woods@archant.co.uk