Newly merged reinsurer to cull 'non client-facing roles'

Broker giant Aon has said it will cut as many as 700 jobs after its takeover of reinsurance broker Benfield.

Launching the new Aon Benfield company today, the firm said it would cut between 500 and 700 back office jobs over the next three years, saving as much as £27m in 2009, £61m in 2010 and annual savings of £79m for 2011.

An Aon UK spokesman said the cuts would be worldwide but admitted the majority of the 4,600 staff in the combined company work in the UK.

“We don’t have specifics yet. We are maintaining the Benfield HQ in London but we have no details of any office closures,” he told Insurance Times. He also said the job cuts would be across a range of disciplines.

The official company announcement said: “The restructuring plan is expected to result in cumulative costs of approximately $185m (approximately £120m) over a three-year period, encompassing workforce reduction, lease consolidation, asset impairment and other costs associated with the restructuring plan. An estimated 500 to 700 positions, predominantly non-client facing roles, are expected to be eliminated as part of the plan.

"The completion of this transaction marks an important milestone in the history of our firm and a new era of leadership for the global reinsurance industry," said Greg Case, president and chief executive officer of Aon Corporation.

Aon announced the $1.75bn takeover in August but took advantage of a stronger dollar to end up spending just $1.43bn for the £935m price tag.