Insurance and investments group Zurich Financial Services is to consult staff over plans to cut around 700 back office jobs from three sites in the UK.

The main cuts would go at its Newcastle-upon-Tyne contact center, where 505 jobs could be lost, but work is also slated to be transferred from offices in Portsmouth and Cardiff.

The sites handle customer contact and claims processing, and the restructuring is expected to be undertaken next year.

Zurich is proposing these changes following an operational review, which has led the business to conclude that it can improve effectiveness and efficiency by operating across a smaller number of locations, a spokesman was quoted as saying by the Press Association.

Zurich will offer full outplacement support to all those affected by today’s announcements. In addition to this, help and support will be available to individuals who wish to pursue other opportunities within Zurich, as well as access to our established internal training program.