NFU Mutual put 110 jobs at risk in Norfolk

NFU Mutual. Picture

NFU Mutual. Picture

More than 100 jobs have been put at risk in Norfolk after a company specialising in agricultural insurance announced a major shake-up.

NFU Mutual will cut back its operations in Norwich and relocate its claims and underwriting business to York.

The restructure will impact 110 staff at its operation on Prince of Wales Road, with 26 roles remaining to lead its commercial underwriting business.

About 500 jobs are under threat nationally, as the firm looks to make 85 positions redundant and transfer some staff from its nine regional service centres to offices in York and Bristol. It is understood the insurer's centres in Cardiff and Wellingborough will close permanently.

The company said it was in consultation with staff and would minimise job losses by redeploying people to roles in other parts of country. Workers were told about the firm's plans during briefings held yesterday.

NFU Mutual – which employs more than 3,700 people across the country – said the restructure would not impact its five branches on St Andrews Business Park, Norwich; Hethersett; North Walsham; Diss and Holt.

Steve Bower, customer services director at NFU Mutual, said: 'Our proposal is in no way a reflection of staff performance and we would hope to support as many people as possible to consider redeployment in relocated roles.

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'We have entered a minimum, forty five day period of consultation with all affected employees and our immediate priority is to support and advise these employees throughout this period of uncertainty.

'The decision to make the proposed changes has not been an easy one but, ultimately by consolidating our service centres, we can continue to provide a first class and efficient service to our members.'

It comes after insurance giant Aviva announced earlier this year that it would create 400 jobs in Norwich following its takeover of Friends Life.

Chris Starkie, managing director of the New Anglia Local Enterprise Partnership, said that while the NFU Mutual announcement was disappointing, some workers maybe able to capitalise on Aviva's recruitment drive.

'The reality is that one of the inevitable developments within the sector is consolidation of operations in order to make their business more competitive and productive,' Mr Starkie said. 'Because of the connection of the financial services and Norwich we are often the beneficiary of this, which is why Aviva is recruiting. But some of the businesses with smaller offices will be contracting.

'It is disappointing, but one of the good things is that it is in the middle of Aviva's recruitment drive.'

NFU Mutual was founded by seven farmers in 1910. It has more than 300 branches across the country.

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