The Financial Supervisory Commission (FSC) yesterday said that it would not interfere with mass layoffs at two life insurers, despite protests by labor unions.
Earlier this week, AIA Group Ltd (美國友邦保險) confirmed that it would lay off 300 insurance sales agents before the end of February next year, while Nan Shan Life Insurance Co (南山人壽) has said that it is cutting 130 jobs in its back office.
The disputes are between the companies and their employees and must be resolved according to the terms of the Labor Standards Act (勞動基準法), Insurance Bureau Deputy Director-General Tsai Li-ling (蔡麗玲) said.
Nan Shan has terminated the jobs with little warning, while many of those affected are older employees who have been with the company for more than 20 years, the Chinese-language Apple Daily reported, citing a whistle-blower.
The whistle-blower rejected Nan Shan’s claims that they were given the option to do training courses and transition to other positions or choose early retirement on more favorable terms, and said that their new positions would slash their pay by as much as 50 percent.
Nan Shan said that the 130 employees are primarily tasked with collecting premium payments from policyholders — a job that has been superseded by online payments and convenience stores.
However, the whistle-blower said that they are facing termination despite having already transitioned into roles as customer service and outreach representatives and that collecting premiums accounts for only a minor part of their duties.
The whistle-blower also accused Nan Shan of suppressing reports about the layoff ahead of the company’s application to be listed on the Taipei Exchange.
As for AIA Group, the company said that the affected employees would be transferred to Law Insurance Broker Co Ltd (錠嵂保險經紀).
Meanwhile, the FSC said that as of the end of last year, more than 31,000 employees have transitioned into new roles as the insurance industry continues to face disruptive technology innovations.
Those employees have benefited from a new rule enacted in 2015, which requires financial institutions to allocate between 0.5 and 1 percent of their profits to training programs and to fund arrangements for displaced workers, which amounted to about NT$1.15 billion (US$38.3 million) last year.
During the same period, 83,167 life insurance employees were trained in courses including insurance underwriting and claims, as well as information and financial technology systems.
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