2,000 Direct Line jobs under threat as insurance giant launches cost-cutting drive

 

Around 2,000 jobs are under threat at Churchill owner Direct Line Group after the insurance giant revealed plans to ramp up cost-cutting.

Direct Line - the UK's biggest motor insurer - said staff across head office and support functions were expected to be impacted in the latest round of redundancies.

But the group said it hoped to redeploy staff where possible and find opportunities for affected workers with other potential employers.

The job cuts - representing about 14% of its 14,400-strong workforce - come as Direct Line announced aims to more than double its original cost savings target to over £200 million in gross annual savings by 2014, or £130 million a year on a net basis.

Direct Line has already axed 1,200 jobs since last August under the cost-cutting drive.

It has 16 sites across the UK, including offices in central London, Croydon, Bromley, Leeds, Glasgow and Manchester.

But the group is shutting its Teesside call centre over the next week, as previously announced, and it is understood another site is at risk of closure under the latest move to slash costs.

Paul Geddes, chief executive of Direct Line Group, said the firm has "not made these proposed changes lightly".

He added: "As we have done in the past, we will deal fairly and carefully with those impacted, and do all we can to support them through these changes."

Direct Line, which was spun out of Royal Bank of Scotland (RBS) when it floated on the stock market last year, recently revealed a £94.3 million profits haul for the first three months of 2013 - up 47% on a year earlier thanks to cost savings and unusually low weather-related claims.

But the group, which also owns brands including Green Flag and Privilege, saw gross premiums fall 4.5% during the quarter to about £1 billion as it refused to get drawn into a price war in the fiercely competitive motor insurance market.

Taxpayer-backed RBS floated Direct Line to appease European Union rules on state aid.

RBS still owns 48.5% of the insurer but must sell its entire stake by the end of 2014.

PA

Suggested Topics
Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
ebooks
ebooksAn introduction to the ground rules of British democracy
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs Money & Business

Recruitment Genius: Sales Assistant / Buyer

£15000 - £17000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This company offers a range of ...

Recruitment Genius: Customer Service Advisor

£15000 - £16000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Customer Service Advisors are r...

SThree: Trainee Recruitment Consultant

£20000 - £25000 per annum + OTE £45K: SThree: SThree were established in 1986....

Recruitment Genius: Compliance Manager

£40000 - £60000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A Compliance Manager is require...

Day In a Page

Greece debt crisis: What happened to democracy when it’s a case of 'Vote Yes or else'?

'The economic collapse has happened. What is at risk now is democracy...'

If it doesn’t work in Europe, how is it supposed to work in India or the Middle East, asks Robert Fisk
The science of swearing: What lies behind the use of four-letter words?

The science of swearing

What lies behind the use of four-letter words?
The Real Stories of Migrant Britain: Clive fled from Zimbabwe - now it won't have him back

The Real Stories of Migrant Britain

Clive fled from Zimbabwe - now it won’t have him back
Africa on the menu: Three foodie friends want to popularise dishes from the continent

Africa on the menu

Three foodie friends want to popularise dishes from the hot new continent
Donna Karan is stepping down after 30 years - so who will fill the DKNY creator's boots?

Who will fill Donna Karan's boots?

The designer is stepping down as Chief Designer of DKNY after 30 years. Alexander Fury looks back at the career of 'America's Chanel'
10 best statement lightbulbs

10 best statement lightbulbs

Dare to bare with some out-of-the-ordinary illumination
Wimbledon 2015: Heather Watson - 'I had Serena's poster on my wall – now I'm playing her'

Heather Watson: 'I had Serena's poster on my wall – now I'm playing her'

Briton pumped up for dream meeting with world No 1
Wimbledon 2015: Nick Bollettieri - It's time for big John Isner to produce the goods to go with his thumping serve

Nick Bollettieri's Wimbledon Files

It's time for big John Isner to produce the goods to go with his thumping serve
Dustin Brown: Who is the tennis player who knocked Rafael Nadal out of Wimbeldon 2015?

Dustin Brown

Who is the German player that knocked Nadal out of Wimbeldon 2015?
Ashes 2015: Damien Martyn - 'England are fired up again, just like in 2005...'

Damien Martyn: 'England are fired up again, just like in 2005...'

Australian veteran of that Ashes series, believes the hosts' may become unstoppable if they win the first Test
Tour de France 2015: Twins Simon and Adam Yates have a mountain to climb during Tour of duty

Twins have a mountain to climb during Tour of duty

Yates brothers will target the steepest sections in bid to win a stage in France
John Palmer: 'Goldfinger' of British crime was murdered, say police

Murder of the Brink’s-MAT mastermind

'Goldfinger' of British crime's life ended in a blaze of bullets, say police
Forget little green men - aliens will look like humans, says Cambridge University evolution expert

Forget little green men

Leading evolutionary biologist says aliens will look like humans
The Real Stories of Migrant Britain: An Algerian scientist adjusts to life working in a kebab shop

The Real Stories of Migrant Britain

An Algerian scientist struggles to adjust to her new life working in a Scottish kebab shop
Bodyworlds museum: Dr Gunther von Hagens has battled legal threats, Parkinson's disease, and the threat of bankruptcy

Dying dream of Doctor Death

Dr Gunther von Hagens has battled legal threats, Parkinson's disease, and the threat of bankruptcy