British insurer Aviva’s cost-cutting exercise will not affect Singapore business, spokesman says

Aviva employs 825 full-time staff in Singapore, as well as another 400 workers for its other Singapore entities. — Reuters pic
Aviva employs 825 full-time staff in Singapore, as well as another 400 workers for its other Singapore entities. — Reuters pic

SINGAPORE, June 13 — As British insurer Aviva undergoes a global restructuring that will gradually cut some 1,800 workers over the next three years, its Singapore unit will likely be spared from the chopping block and its operations here will not be disrupted.

Aviva’s policyholders need not worry as the Singapore business and operations will not be affected by the move, said a company spokesman, amid concerns among some Singapore customers on whether their Aviva policies would be affected.

The spokesman said: “For Aviva Singapore, it is business as usual. There is no impact on policyholders.”

Aviva — Britain’s largest insurer — is the official mass insurance policy provider for the Ministry of Defence and the Ministry of Home Affairs.

All national servicemen are automatically covered by Aviva’s Mindef/MHA Group Insurance scheme for free, while operationally-ready servicemen can also opt in for a voluntary insurance scheme at a premium.

The global staff cuts are part of a strategy by the group’s new chief executive Maurice Tulloch to save £300 million (RM1.58 billion) in costs and revitalise the company’s dwindling fortunes. Tulloch took over at the helm in March.

Aviva employs 825 full-time staff in Singapore, as well as another 400 workers for its other Singapore entities, the spokesman said. Globally, the insurer has around 30,000 staff in multiple countries, including Canada and France.

When asked about the impact on the Singapore staff, its spokesman said: “The role reductions will happen globally over the next three years. It is too early to give further detail, but Aviva has been very clear that the size of the head office needs to reduce.”

These reductions will be achieved through natural turnover and vacancy closures, said the spokesman.

The group’s core UK business will also be split into two parts — general insurance and life insurance. Aviva’s share price had fallen more than 20 per cent in the past five years under the previous chief executive Mark Wilson.

Despite the sagging fortunes for the rest of the group, Aviva’s businesses in Asia still show healthy growth.

In Singapore, Aviva saw a 14 per cent increase in operating profit in the last fiscal year, and it expanded its distribution network to 1,540 advisers in 2018, up from 1,266 in the previous year. — TODAY

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