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Norwich Union call centres coming home

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Norwich Union, one of the biggest UK life insurance and general insurance companies, has decided to bring some of its India-based call centre work back to Britain after customers complained that advisers in the sub-continent “did not know what they were talking about”.

A Norwich Union spokesperson admitted to the Financial Mail that cultural differences have led to severe difficulty in customers’ needs being understood properly and that there have been customer complaints at the service standards exhibited.

Some of the work brought back to the UK involves building and content insurance. The spokesperson said that if a claimant rang to report a flood because of a faulty immersion heater, for example, many Indian operators were clueless about the problem as immersion heaters are not used in India.

Aviva, the parent company of which insurer Norwich Union is a part, has admitted that it had not factored in such considerations when offshoring the work in the first place and that it has had to act in response to the concerns of its customers.

The company has recently announced 4,000 job losses, with 1,000 of them relocated to India. By the end of 2007 it was hoping to have moved almost 8,000 jobs to the sub-continent – in the face of much unpopularity from UK customers.


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