Sales force cut by 200 at embattled Combined Insurance
EMBATTLED Combined Insurance is slashing more than 200 agents from its independent Irish sales force with immediate effect, the Irish Independent has learned.
The cuts come as the niche insurer tries to restructure itself amid ongoing Financial Regulator investigations into its "sales and governance" practices following complaints by customers.
Combined pulled in premiums of close to €40m from door-to-door sales last year, but the accident and illness specialist pulled its sales force off the road at the end of July.
All 450 agents were then paid a flat rate of €100 a day to attend training courses.
The insurer is now interviewing them with a view to re-appointing just 200.
Those who lose their jobs are unlikely to receive any compensation since they are agents rather than employees. It is understood the insurer has already re-invigorated its management team with a new core of between 20 and 30 managers.
Owned by US insurance giant Ace, Combined is a major player in the "accident and illness" market, specialising in hospital benefit, sickness income plans and accidental disability plans.
The business hit the headlines earlier in the year following revelations of complaints to the Financial Ombudsman about its selling practices.
The family of a 77-year-old farmer claimed he had been sold nine unnecessary policies over a 15-year period and had eventually put up barbed wire to keep out Combined's sales agent.