Wednesday 18 October 2017

Axa to lay off over 100 staff and close 18 branches as work moves North

The company will seek voluntary redundancies, but the job losses will be compulsory if it does not get the numbers it wants. Stock picture
The company will seek voluntary redundancies, but the job losses will be compulsory if it does not get the numbers it wants. Stock picture
Charlie Weston

Charlie Weston

The largest motor insurer in the country is to lay off a large number of staff, close branch offices and move operations across the Border.

Axa is reducing staff numbers by more than 100 and closing down 18 of its branches, in what is one of the most severe reductions by the insurer in its operations in this country in years.

Staff are due to be informed about the cutbacks at meetings today being held in various venues across the country at the same time, the Irish Independent learned.

The company will seek voluntary redundancies, but the job losses will be compulsory if it does not get the numbers it wants.

The cutbacks come after three years of heavy hikes in motor premiums, with insurers insisting they are losing money on motor cover.

Axa, whose parent company is French, is one of the largest and oldest insurers in this market. It specialises in motor and home insurance and employs 1,200 people in the State and has 42 branches.

It is unusual as it operates an extensive branch network, both North and south.

Branch networks have been cut back by other insurers as more consumer business moves online.

The plan to cull branches in the Republic will leave Axa with 24 branches.

Downsized

Some of the remaining branches will be downsized.

Phone services operated from branches are being moved to its existing operations in Derry.

Four branches are being closed in the North and 20 people are being let go.

The company is investing €50m in IT systems over the next three to five years.

Unions Unite and Siptu were understood to have been told last week about the job cuts and branch closures.

Axa has a long presence in this market. It took over PMPA when it was placed in administration in 1983.

In a statement provided to this newspaper when asked about lay-offs, Axa said: "These changes are about providing the best possible service to our customers in the way that best suits them.

"We will still have the largest branch network in the industry and will strengthen telephone and online channels to provide the best service."

Irish Independent

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