Major player to close 21 branches next month

by IBO 17 Oct 2014

Major player to close 21 branches next month

IAG has confirmed the closure of all but one of its State Insurance branches around the country by the end of next month.

The move, which was circulated in September in a bid to improve efficiency, follows a period of consultation with 91 State employees.

The company says it has identified around 70 job opportunities for the affected employees who were informed during sessions yesterday.

State’s EGM Craig Olsen said it was a tough decision to make but he believed that it was the right move for the brand.

The changing patterns of customer interactions, with fewer of the insurer’s customers visiting branches, instead choosing to call or connect via the internet, were given as the reasons behind the decision.

“Our customers’ needs and their expectations of us are changing, and we need to change with them,” he said.

State’s Riccarton branch in Christchurch will remain open as it’s been identified that specific customer needs revolving around earthquake-related insurance claims justify a different approach.

Olsen said State customers who still had a strong desire to transact through a branch or store could have that experience provided by AMI, which has 65 stores nationwide.

“We are investing in new-look AMI stores that reflect that brand’s close connections into local communities,” he said.

“State’s branch network is less extensive, and it makes sense to consolidate our overall High St presence and differentiate the brands by the approach they take.”

State will now focus on communicating with customers about potential impacts and options.

The company also plans to invest further in people and technology to improve the online and over the phone servicing.