Insurance giant Aviva is looking to make 120 jobs in its UK operations redundant, primarily due to the closing of its Southend office.

The company's decision comes after its proposal to shift the operations in its commercial property business at Southend to Perth which handles its property claims operations.

As a result, about 86 employees at the Southend office are at risk of losing their jobs.

According to the insurer, the Southend office will cease to operate by the end of May next year. Till then, it said that the property claims operations will be phased out to Perth, beginning in the next few months.

Aviva is also mulling on cutting down on some 34 roles in its claims field division.

The insurer says that new technology has been bringing about a change in how customers make their claims while digital innovation has resulted in straight-forward claims being managed online. Aviva expects half of such property claims in the future to be processed on the internet.

An Aviva spokesperson said: “For our customers, these proposed changes will lead to a faster, simpler claims service while freeing our claims field team to focus on more complex claims where their expertise is needed.

“Aviva will maintain a claims field team spread across the UK to support our customers when the worst happens, whether that is a flood, storm or fire.”

Trade union Unite has demanded Aviva to reconsider its decision on the redundancies while calling it as completely unjust. The union added that it will actively engage with Aviva in the consultation process and help the affected employees with alternative options within or outside the company.

Unite national officer Dominic Hook said: “The result of this decision will be devastating for loyal finance sector staff in Southend and in the wider mobile claims adjuster workforce.

“Aviva must reconsider this step. This choice not to renew the building lease will result in the loss of 86 skilled and experienced staff from Southend along with 34 claims adjuster roles being lost in the summer of 2018.”

Image: Head office of Aviva in St Helen’s, London. Photo: courtesy of Aviva plc.