Indian BPO to service Irish insurance major

July 11th, 2008 - 3:18 pm ICT by IANS  

London, July 11 (IANS) Indian business process outsourcing (BPO) company WNS Holdings has gained a foothold in Ireland for the first time, winning the rights to service a leading insurance company in that country as part of a $1-billion purchase deal with Aviva, the world’s fifth largest insurance group. WNS Thursday announced it had acquired the shares of Aviva Global Services (AGS), the offshore BPO arm of Aviva, under an eight-year contract. As part of the terms, all clients of AGS will now be serviced by WNS.

One such client is the Irish insurance company, Hibernian, also owned by Aviva.

Under the new deal, Hibernian’s future Indian operations will now be serviced by WNS. This means a transfer of 580 Irish jobs at Hibernian to WNS, initially for a period of three years.

WNS will also provide back-office functions to Aviva’s operations in Ireland, the UK and Canada.

“The partnership between our parent company Aviva and WNS is integral to Hibernian’s plans to reorganise its business to deliver sustained growth,” Hibernian chief executive Stuart Prudy said.

Wages paid to insurance administration staff in India are as little as a quarter of the prevailing rates in the UK and Ireland.

As a result, Hibernian may face union protests over the deal, with trade union Unite, which represents two-thirds of Hibernian’s workers, beginning to ballot for strike action.

The result is due shortly.

Hibernian has insisted the programme will be “entirely voluntary” and defended the cost imperative for the move.

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