Insurance
TAL restructures retail arm, announces job cuts

TAL is making major changes to its retail business that will make some jobs redundant after reviewing its recent acquisition of Asteron, Suncorp's Australian life insurance business.

Realigning the retail businesses will consequently reduce headcount across both the TAL and Asteron brands and introduce new roles at the same time, the life insurer announced this afternoon.

"TAL will be working with and supporting all employees throughout the consultation process," the company said. It did not disclose how many employees will be affected.

"We are currently running an internal consultation process with impacted employees within our retail advised channel. The restructure impacts our retail channel only.

"Our commitment is to mitigate job losses wherever possible. Where this is unavoidable we will provide redeployment opportunities to as many people as possible, subject to availability and suitability," TAL said.

TAL will cease selling new Asteron retail products from 1 July 2019 and consolidate the two similar retail products offered.

When asked if Asteron will be phased out eventually, it did not comment, saying only that: "For existing Asteron customers it is business as usual, and there will be no change to the way they interact with us and we service them."

In terms of Asteron's group insurance book, the company did not comment on its fate.

The group's chief executive and managing director Brett Clark said the restructure will have no impact on the company's ability to service financial advisers or customers on existing Asteron or TAL policies.

"We remain committed to ensuring the Asteron retail life insurance products remain relevant and up to date post-1 July 2019 for existing Asteron customers, in the same way we do for TAL customers today," he said.

Clark added that having one retail adviser proposition gives "clarity to the market, creates a simpler business structure and a more efficient service model."

TAL announced last year it will acquire Suncorp's life insurance arm for $725 million. The transaction completed on February 28.

The agreement included a 20-year strategic alliance in which TAL will offer its life insurance solutions via Suncorp's distribution channels.

"To deliver the best outcomes for our customers and adviser partners, we need to simplify our retail business model. We believe it is in our customers' and advisers' best interest not to offer two similar retail propositions in the retail advised market," Clark said.

This story was updated on May 8 at 10.00am.

Read more: TALAsteronSuncorpBrett Clark
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