Norwich Union legal staff facing costs cull

Norwich Union is to ­radically overhaul the legal team of its life insurance business, slashing 20 per cent of its annual budget.

The move will see the number of legal staff at the company shrink from 72 to 43 as investment helpline technicians are moved out of the legal department and into a separate office.

Norwich Union is also creating a five-strong company secretarial department and a new risk-management team made up of two lawyers. A further 10 lawyers have taken roles in a new transitional projects team to work on the handover of Norwich Union’s life insurance policy processing to Swiss Re.

Jenny Wilman, director of legal services of Norwich Union’s life insurance ­business, could not confirm whether all 10 would find jobs in the new-look legal team once the project ends.

“There could be potential appointments,” she said. “It’s very difficult and we’re ­trying to handle it as ­sensitively as possible.”

Wilman also said that the legal team, which was ­previously spread between Southampton, York and Norwich, would move out of its Norwich base to York. Four lawyers and five legal executives are affected by the move, with some expected to take early retirement.

Wilman ;added ;that the overhaul should be ­completed by the first half of next year. The strategic review is part of a £500m cost-cutting initiative across parent company Aviva and is likely to affect in-house lawyers only.

Relationships with Norwich Union’s ­external firms will continue as ;usual, ;with ;panel appointments made jointly with Aviva.

The helpline technicians give pension, insurance and investment advice to independent financial advisers. They are not qualified lawyers, but were managed as part of the legal team before the reshuffle.