Two insurers’ offshoring plans trigger NZ fallout

by Maryvonne Gray 13 Aug 2014

Two insurers’ offshoring plans trigger NZ fallout

The knock-on effects of global restructuring plans for QBE and AIG are beginning to take place in the New Zealand operations.

Staff members are being made redundant at AIG New Zealand as they implement a new global claims framework with some finishing in the coming weeks.

An industry source told Insurance Business: “AIG have made staff redundant and those staff have told us the reason is because they’re offshoring their claims.

“As recently as yesterday some of their staff told us ‘I won’t be here in two months’ so November they’ll finish.”

AIG spokesperson Nicola Vallance acknowledged that the new structure ‘will result in some changes to roles in New Zealand’ although she wouldn’t reveal how many people would be affected.

She said: “AIG is implementing a new claims framework globally to strengthen customer service and drive efficiencies.

“The new structure will ultimately provide New Zealand customers with a larger and more specialised claims team to call on when required.  

“The new structure will result in some changes to roles in New Zealand.”

The first hint of a fallout for New Zealand came back in February when Insurance Business reported that a 3% cut in the global workforce would filter through to New Zealand.

Meanwhile, at QBE, no redundancies had been confirmed at this stage although it hadn’t been ruled out.

A company spokesperson said they were doing everything they could to redeploy those affected by the changes.

A QBE New Zealand spokesperson said the changes were part of their global operational transformation program which was intended ‘to assist us to further improve our business practices and to position the organisation for future profitable growth.’

She said: “Our Global Shared Service Centre (GSSC) in Manila will support our back-office high volume process activities, enabling our employees in New Zealand to concentrate on the more complex work.

QBE has a number of growth initiatives in progress in New Zealand and the GSSC will provide a high level of much needed support for those activities, ensuring we can provide affordable and sustainable insurance to New Zealand people and businesses, as well as faster service and improved consistency in service for our customers.

“We are focused on minimising the impact on our employees and every attempt will be made to redeploy any of our people who are affected.”

Feedback from the industry so far was a mixture of powerlessness to stop the inevitable happening with some feeling that there could be benefits achieved through different time zones and labour laws.