The country's largest insurer Aviva Plc said it would cut 4,000 jobs at its Norwich Union business and deliver annual cost savings of 250 million pounds in 2008.

The move to reduce duplication and improve efficiency would come at a cost of 250 million pounds by the end of 2007, Aviva said in a statement.

We have to ensure that Norwich Union remains a highly efficient and effective company in what is an increasingly competitive and dynamic environment, Norwich Union Executive Chairman Patrick Snowball said in a statement on Thursday.

The integration and efficiency measures we are announcing today are part of a programme which will result in an increase in customer focus across our UK businesses along with better and more efficient use of technology, he added.

Aviva said its headcount in the UK of 36,000 will fall by 4,000 by 2008, with up to 1,000 roles being moved to India and 500 roles outsourced to third party IT suppliers.

The company said it would seek to minimise the number of compulsory redundancies through natural staff turnover and voluntary measures.

Aviva said the planned 250 million pound savings are on top of the planned integration savings of 130 million pounds a year by 2008 from its motor services firm RAC acquisition.