17/01/2006 - 21:00

SGIO review leads to CBD franchise

17/01/2006 - 21:00

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SGIO has revealed it will run its city branch under a franchise model as part of a review of the group’s operations.

SGIO review leads to CBD franchise

SGIO has revealed it will run its city branch under a franchise model as part of a review of the group’s operations.

Strategy manager Colin Tierney told WA Business News the move was prompted by a review of SGIO’s distribution channels.

“We recognise that owner operators have the ability to employ business efficiencies particular to small and medium business, and this is important when considering our presence in WA,” he said.

SGIO is seeking expressions of interest from local businesses to run the St Georges Terrace operation over the longer term.

“We’re excited about potentially offering a SGIO branch franchise to a local business person to run a successful long term operation in Perth,” Mr Tierney said.

The franchise will continue to deliver SGIO’s suite of insurance products, including home, motor and landlord insurance policies in Perth, he said.

“The way our customers like to do business is changing,” Mr Tierney said.

“The franchise has the benefit of a recognised and trusted brand with a long history of helping customers and local communities.”

The opportunity could appeal to a business person with complementary operations, he said.

“Potentially, the franchise could be co-located or managed with another business,” Mr Tierney told WA Business News.

“Maintaining customer service levels is paramount so we are taking this step because it allows us to maintain our face-to-face presence, while ensuring we operate our business in the most efficient way possible.”

SGIO is part of Insurance Australia Group, which has $6.6 billion in annual premiums and more than 11,500 employees.

IAG owns several other insurance brands including NRMA Insurance, SGIC, CGU, Swann Insurance, and State Insurance and NZI in New Zealand.

Mr Tierney said the Perth SGIO branch would continue to operate as normal and deliver a high level of customer service during the transition process.

The shift in strategy comes at a time when the finance sector is increasingly acting to curtail costs, with major national banks cutting large numbers of jobs.

Last month, Westpac confirmed that it would cut up to about 135 jobs around the country this year.

National Australia Bank is reportedly planning to cut over 4,500 positions, while the Commonwealth Bank has slashed about 2,800 staff since September 2003.

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