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Youi culls NZ workforce

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Youi says it is in the New Zealand insurance market for the long-haul, despite cutting the size of its workforce.

The South African-owned insurer says in a statement to that natural attrition has affected staff numbers and a “small number of redundancies” was made with the rationalisation of its roadside assistance service.

Youi did not provide a figure on the number of jobs that have been affected, but says it currently has about 300 employees in New Zealand.

The insurer says it has never employed more than 400 staff in its loss-making New Zealand operations at any one time.

While New Zealand media reports say the company has cut its staffing by 30% and that up to 65% of the Auckland-based team’s work is related to Australian-based customers, the statement says Youi “is committed to servicing the New Zealand market locally”.

“Youi, like any commercial operation, constantly adjust staff levels to ensure staffing is in line with growth and fit for purpose to ensure the delivery of optimum levels of customer service.”

The New Zealand business remains in the red, although losses did narrow to $6 million in the last financial year 2016/17 from $10 million previously.

The statement says a new national marketing campaign will be launched soon and Michelle Le Long, who joined the company last year from general insurer Tower, has recently been appointed Head of Operations.

The insurer started commercially in New Zealand in July 2014, offering covers for car, home, motorcycle, watercraft, caravan & trailer and roadside assistance.

In December 2016 it was fined $320,000 after the New Zealand Commerce Commission took it to court alleging it engaged in misleading sales practices.