Dutch insurer Achmea announces 4,000 job cuts
Dutch insurance group Achmea is to cut 4,000 jobs in the Netherlands over three years because customers are switching increasingly to Internet to manage their contracts.
"Our eight million customers are doing more and more online and also want to able to arrange their insurance in that way," said Willem van Duin, chairman of Achmea's executive board.
"These adjustments are being made in response to the continuously and rapidly changing demands of our customers."
Achmea, which had already shed 2,500 jobs in 2009, says it is the biggest insurer in the Netherlands and employs about 19,000 people.
Duin said: "The changes mark the start of a new episode in our group's history."
He said that the new focus would enable the group to remain a cooperative insurer.
The group has interests in several European countries, including Bulgaria, Ireland and Greece, but the job cuts will fall only in the Netherlands, company spokesman Bert Rensen told AFP.
Achmea said that the money saved by means of the cuts would be invested in online services, in the use of social networks for example.
Achmea said: "Society is changing ever more rapidly, which puts current working methods under pressure."
The company, mainly active in the area of health insurance, was founded in 1811 by Dutch farmers and it now claims to provide insurance to half of all Dutch households.
It operates under several brands, including Interpolis, Agis, FBTO and Avero Achmea.
© 2013 AFP