12 September 2012

Global Insurer Zurich to cut 200 jobs in the UK

12 September 2012 - Global insurer Zurich today announces its strategic priorities for its UK Life business, together with proposals for subsequent organisational changes. The insurer has reviewed its areas of strategic focus in light of challenging and changing market conditions and unprecedented regulatory change as it builds on its success in delivering a competitive and sustainable business. 

As the UK Life business is realigned to become more efficient and agile, a reduction in role numbers is proposed. Subject to consultation, around 200 jobs will be removed from functions and management layers across the business – which currently employs 1400 people - including sales and marketing, senior management, finance, risk, compliance and operations. 

Gary Shaughnessy, CEO for UK Life, said that the continuing transfer of financial responsibility from the state and corporates onto the individual, the savings and protection gap in the UK, and all the forthcoming fundamental regulatory change, made it essential that the business evolved to meet the changing demands of intermediaries and customers. 

"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 now so that 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," he said. 

Some of the sales roles affected by the proposed changes are within the business's branch offices, 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, whilst 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. 

Zurich’s current UK Life branch network includes: Glasgow, Leeds, Birmingham, London, Bristol, Manchester, Nottingham, Watford and Botley

Zurich’s UK Life business employs approximately 1400 people and offers a range of personal protection, pensions and investment policies available through financial intermediaries. Zurich UK life also provides protection and pensions policies for the corporate market available through employee benefit consultants. Zurich’s UK Life business is operated primarily through two entities: Zurich Assurance Ltd and Sterling ISA Managers Ltd. 

Zurich Insurance Group (Zurich) is a leading multi-line insurance provider with a global network of subsidiaries and offices. Zurich employs about 60,000 people serving customers in more than 170 countries. The Group, formerly known as Zurich Financial Services Group, is headquartered in Zurich, Switzerland, where it was founded in 1872. 

Source: Zurich UK