Insurance company set to axe 120 jobs in Sheffield

Aviva building on PearStreet
Aviva building on PearStreet

MORE than 100 jobs are at risk at a property insurance business in Sheffield after its parent company announced a restructure.

Around 120 roles are facing the axe at Asprea, based on Pear Street off Ecclesall Road, as its owner, insurance provider Aviva, has decided to close the firm.

Aviva wants to merge Asprea’s property claim workers and surveyors with its in-house staff in Perth, Scotland, and Southend, Essex, which it says will create a ‘simpler, more streamlined service’.

The announcement also means fewer support workers in IT, human resources and finance will be needed.

The company said a full consultation will be launched and the restructure will be complete by the end of next year.

It is hoped that some of the affected staff can be redeployed into other jobs within Aviva.

But workers expressed disappointment about the announcement less than four weeks before Christmas.

“I’m not quite sure what the philosophy behind it is,” said one staff member, who didn’t want to be named. She added: “It’s sad. It makes you worried, it’s not good. There are a lot of changes that have been happening so nothing comes as much of a surprise.”

Another worker said: “It’s concerning when any company makes redundancies, but I wouldn’t have thought people feel very good about losing their jobs at this time of year.”

He continued: “In the current climate, it will be difficult for people to find jobs.”

But his colleague said restructures were ‘always on the cards’ in companies like Aviva.

“You never know when they’re going to happen,” he said.

“Jobs are always getting moved around. Unless you’re self-employed, it’s the reality of working for a business.”

Asprea is based on the third floor of the Pomona Building on Pear Street, and also has field workers nationwide.

It was taken over by Aviva in April 2010 and deals with property and building insurance claims.

Caroline Cooper, director of property claims at Aviva, said: “Today’s announcement aims to create a simpler service for our customers with fewer people involved in the handling of their property claim.

“We appreciate this is also a difficult time for our employees and we will be working with them to provide the support they need and will be offering re-deployment opportunities where we can.”