HUNDREDS of jobs are being axed at one of the country’s largest insurers.
Workers in Liberty Insurance were told this morning that 270 of them are to be laid off.
The US-owned group is closing its UK retail arm, which is serviced from Ireland.
The former Quinn Insurance group has 1,000 staff spread between Blanchardstown in Dublin, Cavan, and in Co Fermanagh in the North.
Employees were addressed at briefings in Cavan, Dublin and Enniskillen today about what management said would be “voluntary led” redundancies over the next 18 months. It is expected that there will be 135 redundancies in Dublin, 115 in Cavan and 20 in Enniskillen.
The meeting to brief Dublin based staff took place off-site a short distance from the offices in Blanchardstown.
One worker who did not want to be identified said that they were only told about the meeting early this morning.
“We were told there would be 270 job losses across the three sites but nobody knows yet who will be directly affected,” they said.
Asked if the news was expected, the worker said there was a rumour of “some sort of rationalisation” but nobody knew any details.
“It will be a shock for many, but others will have expected an announcement like this,” the worker told the Herald.
All staff went back to their workstations inside the office and continued their work after the 30-minute meeting.
Liberty denied that the layoffs are due to under-reserving on the motor side of its business in Ireland.
Most motor insurers in the market are losing money and have been hiking premiums.
The latest official figures show motor premiums rose by 16pc in the last year.
Liberty International president Luis Bonell said the company remains fully committed to building a successful business in Ireland.
“In recent years, we have purchased the remaining minority stake in Liberty Insurance, announced the acquisition of Hughes Insurance and have continued to invest and create jobs in our Liberty IT division in both Dublin and Belfast.
In the coming years, we will utilise Liberty’s global expertise and resources to support our businesses in Ireland to enable their development into leading players in their respective markets,” Mr Bonell said.
Liberty bought the old Quinn Insurance business four years ago, and a year later bought the British retail business from the administrators of the Quinn Group.