UK call centre jobs on the line as employers aim to cut costs

Up to 20 per cent of UK call centre jobs will be transferred to India by
2010 because of cost savings and the huge pool of highly qualified talent over
there according to research .

The study by management consultancy Accenture finds that more than 60,000 of
the 340,000 jobs in the call centre sector in the UK will be switched to India
by the end of the decade.

Steve Lathrope, an insurance partner at Accenture, commented: "It will
only be a few years before UK insurance and pension customers will, as a matter
of course, have almost all their business dealt with abroad. [Their
applications for new policies, servicing needs and claims will be handled by
call centres and processing operations in offshore locations, like India.]

"There are 340,000 people working in the UK insurance sector, many
doing call centre or processing roles. Our analysis indicates that up to 20 per
cent of these will have been transferred to India by 2010 – due to cost savings
and because of the huge pool of highly qualified people there."

Lathrope said a large number of the UK’s major insurance companies have
already transferred part of their support operations to India, including Royal
& SunAlliance, Bupa, AXA and Churchill, but he thinks this is only the tip
of the iceberg.

"These early moves are just to test the water. As insurance companies
gain experience and confidence they will quickly look to move the bulk of their
customer service and claims-processing to India and other developing business
centres over the coming few years."

Online travel agency Ebookers opened a call centre in India employing 750 at
the beginning of the month, initially dealing with telephone sales and queries
from customers in the UK and Ireland.

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