Co-op to cut 2500 jobs at insurance arm and shift business to direct channels

Co-op to cut 2500 jobs at insurance arm and shift business to direct channels

Co-operative Financial Services (CFS) is cutting 2500 jobs at its insurance services unit under plans to modernise the business and move work to direct channels such as the telephone and Internet.

The job losses at the Co-operative Insurance Society (CIS) follow a strategic review of the business and will take effect over the next 18 months to two years. But under the plans, CIS says up to 500 new customer-facing positions are being created.

Unions say the job cuts are "deeply disappointing" but added it was clear from discussions with the CIS that the company was working in a very tough, competitive and uncompromising market. Dave McCall, regional secretary, Transport and General Workers Union, says: "The job losses are a hard blow. They appear to be the price to pay for bringing CIS up to date to meet the challenges of tomorrow."

CIS says it plans to increase sales capabilities across other channels - in particular telephone, Internet and affinity programmes - and will invest in improving customer access to its products.

Commenting on the modernisation plans, Mervyn Pedelty, chief executive of CFS, says: "CIS is not immune...from the intensifying economic and competitive pressures occurring within its core markets and we need to take action now to ensure a vibrant, successful and sustainable future for our business."

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