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Restructuring and employment trends in Europe

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Over 3,000 jobs to be shed by German health insurer

German health insurance providers have benefitted in recent years from growing employment – meaning higher levels of contributions - as well as cost-saving measures in the health sector. Now, one of the largest insurers, Barmer GEK, has announced that it is 'to make use of the good years to prepare for worse days to come'. The company anticipates increasing expenses in the future to cover the costs of drugs, clinics and health personnel while contributions from the public health fund are forecast to drop.

As a result, it plans to implement a major restructuring in 2014-18 which will result in 3,500 of 16,900 full-time posts being cut. These measures have already been approved by the company’s works council and were communicated to the company’s staff on 23 February. The number of customer service centres will drop from 800 to 400 as a greater share of these activities is carried out online or over the phone. This may save the company EUR 250 to 300 million each year while, according to the company, adapting to the changing behaviour of customers who increasingly favour digital over face-to-face services.

Updated 7 March 2014

 

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