Insurance group Aegon is to lay off 213 jobs in its UK business as part of drive to reduce operating costs by 25% by the end of this year.

The jobs to be cut are in the areas of marketing, IT and personal assistant support staff at its Edinburgh headquarters and offices near Blackpool.

The insurer said it is also in negotiations to outsource the areas involved in managing inbound and outbound documents within the business, which could result in the transfer of additional 106 jobs.

The insurance and pensions firm said these actions are aimed to refocus the business at retirement and workplace savings.

Aegon said it is seeking to minimize the number of compulsory redundancies where possible.

According to the insurer, it has already reached £37m of its £80m cost saving target by the end of March 2011, through a combination of payroll and non-payroll savings.

Aegon UK CEO Adrian Grace said this is a challenging time for its people and business but achieving a lower cost base is essential to ensure Aegon remains a strong and successful business in the years ahead.

"The changes we’ve announced today mean we remain on track to meet our cost saving targets by the end of this year," Grace said.