Anger as Argus to shift more than a dozen jobs abroad

An insurance firm was accused yesterday of outsourcing jobs from Bermuda to Canada.

It was claimed Argus Group plans to shift between 15 and 20 jobs to One Team Health, a Toronto-based third-party overseas care administration firm it bought last year.

Argus staff claimed the company had been moving health and life insurance jobs over to Canada for more than a year.

One Team Health was said to be benefiting from the jobs moving overseas with a “skeleton staff” left on the island.

The source added: “Although a few of the redundancies are no longer working at the company, especially those from earlier in the year, most of the employees who were made redundant were told that they have to keep working until January 2021, in order to train the new employees in Canada who would be taking their jobs.”

The employee said staff in the health insurance department had been told they were no longer required last week.

The company confirmed yesterday that an unspecified number of Bermuda jobs had been phased out — but maintained that “Argus remains committed to growing our business and investing in Bermuda”.

Argus did not respond to the claim that as many as 20 Bermudian jobs would be transferred overseas. A spokeswoman for Argus said that the firm “undertook a group-wide strategic planning exercise, which included a review of global operations to support long-term growth and diversification” last year.

She added: “Our new operating model, which puts our customers at the centre of everything we do, was launched earlier this year.

“While a small number of roles were made redundant in Bermuda, many of the individuals affected have been offered opportunities to relocate within the Argus Group.

“They have also been offered severance packages, transition periods, recruitment support, and extended health insurance benefits.”

The transfer of staff was said, by insiders, to be a reaction to the Government’s plans to pool the island’s residents into a single unified group for the standard health benefit, a basic insurance package.

The introduction of Bermuda Health Plan was delayed by the Covid-19 pandemic, but the Progressive Labour Party’s election platform confirmed a plan to bring it into force, in collaboration with the Bermuda First think-tank, to deliver “affordable universal healthcare for all”.

David Burt, the Premier, speaking in the House of Assembly in February, accused health insurers of backing pressure group Patients 1st, which opposed the plan, “because they are trying to protect their profits”.

The Ministry of Health was asked for comment, but a spokeswoman said the email message was not received.

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Published Oct 6, 2020 at 8:00 am (Updated Oct 6, 2020 at 11:00 am)

Anger as Argus to shift more than a dozen jobs abroad

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