Money Editor for NZ Herald

Suncorp confirms jobs will go offshore

The lobby in the Vero Building on Shortland Street. Photo / File
The lobby in the Vero Building on Shortland Street. Photo / File

Suncorp New Zealand - owner of Vero, Asteron and half of AA Insurance - has confirmed plans to offshore a number of its back office jobs.

Catherine Dixon, executive general manager people experience at Suncorp New Zealand said it had announced a proposal to transfer a number of New Zealand-based administrative roles to its strategic partners in Asia.

"We have entered into a consultation process with our Auckland, Wellington, and Christchurch people who are impacted by this change, and as part of this process have identified a number of new roles that they can apply for."

An unnamed source who contacted the Herald said at least 70 jobs were going to be disestablished.

Vero, Asteron, and Vero Liability employ roughly 900 people in New Zealand.

But Dixon said the company was unable to provide details on the number of roles being disestablished or the number of new roles being created as the consultation process was currently now underway.

She said the decision was not about reducing headcount. It is understood any change would not impact AA Insurance or AA Life staff.

"By moving some roles offshore, and creating new roles here in New Zealand, Suncorp New Zealand will increase the capability of its business, and improve the service we provide our customers."

Suncorp New Zealand which is owned by Australian listed company Suncorp last week said it had applied for Commerce Commission approval to buy rival insurer Tower.

Last month Suncorp built an 11 per cent stake in Tower and put forward a rival takeover offer for the NZX-listed general insurer.

It bought 18.8 million shares at $1.30 apiece and has made "non-binding indicative proposal" to Tower's board to buy the insurer at the same price.

The $24.4 million spent building the stake was funded through Vero's excess capital, it said.

The offer, worth a total $219.3m, trumps a $197m deal already on the table and backed by Tower's board and major shareholders Salt Funds Management and Accident Compensation Corp to sell to Canada's Fairfax Financial Holdings at $1.17 apiece.

The Fairfax Financial Holdings transaction would be via a scheme of arrangement, meaning it only requires 75 per cent of votes cast at a special shareholders meeting.

"The proposed acquisition supports our vision to be the number one choice for New Zealanders and our strategy to connect customers to products, services and experiences that enhance and protect their financial well-being," Suncorp New Zealand chief executive Paul Smeaton said in a statement.

"The proposed acquisition would consolidate Suncorp's position in the New Zealand general insurance market, creating a business with gross written premiums of $1.6 billion."

- NZ Herald

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