Belfast Telegraph

Swinton insurance broker to cut 900 jobs

Insurance broker Swinton plans to axe around 900 jobs by the end of the year as more customers shift towards renewing their policies online.

The firm has put 84 branches and its Norwich call centre under review in an overhaul that could slash its footprint from 194 branches to 110.

Swinton said it was reshaping the business after seeing 90% of its customers buy insurance over the phone or online.

Chief executive Gilles Normand said its branch network would remain an important part of the operation, but it needed to adapt to the needs of customers.

He said: "We are reshaping our distribution model to ensure that we continue to meet the changing needs of our customers in an effective and efficient way.

"This change is difficult for all colleagues, especially those who are directly impacted by the proposals, but is vital if we are to remain competitive in a challenging insurance market."

Swinton employs around 3,000 people in the UK and is part of the French mutual insurance group Covea.

The shake-up will see the Norwich call centre, which employs 183 staff, combine with the firm's head office and contact centre in Manchester where it plans to invest £45 million in digital technology.

The firm said it had entered a 45-day consultation with staff affected by the proposals and would aim to relocate them to other parts of the company if possible.

Mr Normand added: "Ever since Swinton started selling insurance door-to-door 60 years ago, this business has always evolved - first via branches, then contact centres and increasingly online.

"Our approach today, which is based on a high contact strategy, no longer meets our customers' needs.

"While branches continue to be an important part of our multi-channel business model, we need to ensure that we can interact with customers whenever, and however, they choose."