Swinton Insurance cuts 900 jobs with nearly half of its high street branches under threat

Oliver Gill
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People are less likely to buy insurance in person, Swinton said (Source: Getty)

Insurance broker Swinton has announced plans to cull 900 jobs in the UK as increasing numbers of customers prefer to buy insurance online or over the phone.

The firm currently employs 3,000 staff in Britain and is putting 84 of its 194 high street branches under review. The broker has previously signalled its intention to shut 130 branches by the middle of 2017.

Some 90 per cent of customers are buying insurance either online or over the phone, the firm said.

“We are reshaping our distribution model to ensure that we continue to meet the changing needs of our customers in an effective and efficient way," said chief executive Gilles Normand.

Read more: Insurance giant Swinton fined £7.4m in mis-selling scandal

Alongside the job cuts Swinton said it will invest £45m into enhancing its IT offering at its new head office and call centre in Manchester. The firm also said the future of its Norwich call centre is being considered.

Normand added: "This change is difficult for all colleagues, especially those who are directly impacted by the proposals, but is vital if we are to remain competitive in a challenging insurance market.”

“Ever since Swinton started selling insurance door-to-door 60 years ago, this business has always evolved - first via branches, then contact centres and increasingly online. Our approach today, which is based on a high contact strategy, no longer meets our customers’ needs.

Read more: The government is having another look at its insurance discount rate cut

“While branches continue to be an important part of our multi-channel business model, we need to ensure that we can interact with customers whenever, and however, they choose.

“It therefore makes sense to continually review how we operate to ensure Swinton remains fit for the future.”

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