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Axa moves back some jobs to UK
Debjoy Sengupta in Kolkata | April 20, 2004 09:41 IST
The United Kingdom-based insurer AXA has moved back some of its jobs outsourced to India even as there is a growing concern in the west over outsourcing of jobs.
There were reports that the movement is primarily because a section of AXA's clients wanted to deal with employees they had known personally.
Phil Hickley, media relations manager based in the UK, in response to a questionnaire, said, "We announced to the affected staff in AXA PPP healthcare, our UK healthcare division and AXA BS that healthcare processing work in respect of small and medium size enterprises will return to the UK, having previously been moved to India."
He, however, said the numbers involved as of now was very small in the overall context of its Indian operation, while its UK site at Leicester is expected to take double the number it reduced from India, after some additional SME work transfers from Tunbridge Wells to Leicester.
AXA has approximately 900 employees based in two sites in Bangalore. It is, however, planning to open another site in Pune this year which will employ 800 people by end of 2005.
AXA's facility in India (AXA Business Services) is primarily a backoffice processing centre, working on behalf of AXA businesses in Australia and New Zealand, USA, Japan and the UK. Hickley also said the transfer back to the UK is not a reflection of any lack of skill or delivery on the part of AXA BS.
Productivity, quality and turnaround targets were all being met; it is simply a reflection of the fact that the end-to-end process time when using AXA BS is a little longer than before.
He, however, denied that the transfers had nothing to do with SME clients wanting to work with people they had come to know personally.
Nevertheless, AXA's spokesperson was reported in one of the UK newspaper as saying "What we found - and this is no reflection of the people who are working for us in Bangalore - was that SMEs needed a more personal relationship."
The work involved dealing with SMEs that arrange medical services through PPP Healthcare.
It was also reported that AXA had said that larger companies did not mind dealing with call centres in India, but SMEs appeared to prefer having personal knowledge of the people they were dealing with.
As a result, it had reorganised itself so that clients could deal with people they had got to know in this country.
AXA had its facility in India for the last six-and-a-half years. It operates on behalf of the worldwide AXA Group, so also does Australia, New Zealand, Japan and the US.
The move suggests that companies such as AXA are recognising limits and commercial disadvantages in certain circumstances.