British insurance major to move work to Kerala

Thursday, 18 December 2003, 08:00 Hrs
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LONDON: Cornhill Direct, a Bristol-based insurance major, and leading bank Barclays are the latest British companies to move work to India.

Cornhill Direct's parent company, Allianz Cornhill, is starting its own offshore company at Thiruvananthapuram in Kerala and will initially run five projects there, employing 50 people in total and starting in April.

It is envisaged that Cornhill will employ 400 people through its Indian subsidiary, Allianz Cornhill Information Service, by 2005.

Work from Cornhill Direct, which employs 476 people at offices at Aztec West and in Bristol city centre, will initially be carried out by eight people in India.

Cornhill Direct said the work -- calling customers to check the data held on them and finding out if they need information on other insurance services -- is currently carried out either by temporary staff, who will now carry out other tasks, or dealt with through mailings.

It said the move should generate new business for staff in Britain. Cornhill Direct divisional manager Allan Truman said the company had no plans to cut jobs in Britain as a result of the move.

Bristol North West MP Doug Naysmith told the local media: "I always regret seeing jobs that might be done in Britain going abroad but I don't think that is the case here.

"Speaking to staff, I think they were concerned at first but have been reassured by management that huge numbers of jobs are not going to go."

Meanwhile, Barclays bank has plans to off-load 1,000 computer workers to management consultants Accenture.

Reports say that details of a £450 million, six-year contract are being thrashed out.

Up to 1,000 Barclays staff in Poole, Bexleyheath and Radbroke were told the news last week.

If it goes ahead they will all transfer to Accenture but half the work, around 500 jobs, could go to India.

A spokesman for finance union Unifi said: "We're fighting to prevent compulsory redundancies."

Barclays confirmed the negotiations but a spokeswoman said: "Nothing is set in stone."

Source: IANS
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