Southern Cross Travel Insurance plans to cut half of its remaining workforce in the wake of limited travel under covid-19 restrictions, although the rest of the group remains unscathed.

The company has proposed shedding 45 of its 92 staff as part of a wider action that will affect other areas of the travel insurance business, said chief executive Chris White.

Southern Cross Travel had already reduced its head count by 26 people at the start of the pandemic when international border closures first took hold, discontinuing arrangements with temporary staff and contractors.

It received a payment of $646,723 under the wage subsidy and all staff moved to 80 percent pay.


White said the changes will not apply to any other parts of the Southern Cross group, which include life insurance, private hospitals, pet insurance and health insurance.

Southern Cross Travel falls under Southern Cross Benefits, which also underwrites the pet insurance business. Southern Cross Health Trust sits above those units.

"Like many others in the travel sector, we have been severely impacted by the pandemic and as a result we are looking to reduce costs and scale down our workforce for the immediate future."

He said a return to international travel is "unlikely in the medium term" and the insurer had no choice but to take steps to ensure the long-term sustainability of the business.

"Our focus now is on reshaping the business, so we are ready to scale up again when international travel is back to full strength."

"We are focused on maintaining core products and services as well as looking at how we can meet the immediate and emerging needs of our customers with new policy offerings."

The travel insurer is consulting with staff about the proposed changes, which would take effect from July 10, once the wage subsidy was drawn down.