Achmea to cut 4,000 jobs: what the media say

The news that insurance giant Achmea is to reduce its workforce by 20% has generated wide-ranging reaction in the Dutch media.

Nos television carries a round-up of the views of communication experts on the way the company presented the news. The overall impression? Fail, the broadcaster says.

Experts are particularly critical of the way news of the job losses was all over the media before the workforce itself was informed. The news broke following an interview given by chief executive Willem van Duin to television current affairs show EenVandaag on Tuesday evening.

They also criticised the headline on the press release announcing the job losses which read ‘Achmea accelerates adjustments in customer focus’. This was ‘stark, cold and absurd,’ said former banker and columnist Peter Verhaar.

The Volkskrant asked how a company with eight million policyholders could be in such trouble.

While more clients are shopping around online for insurance, Achmea has also missed the boat on developing new tax-free savings products. And the insurance group is still feeling the impact of the single premium annuities scandal which led consumers to scale back their purchase of complicated products.

Achmea may have booked net profit of €123m in the first six months of this year, but this is down 40% on the same period in 2012. That, the Volkskrant said, is largely due to a 3% drop in premium income.


The Telegraaf looks at the salaries of Achmea’s senior executives and concludes they enjoy average salaries of €1m, generous secondary benefits and lease cars costing almost €3,000 a month.

Chief executive Willem van Duin pocketed €1.2m last year, including pension payments, the Telegraaf said. However, he did not get a bonus last year because the insurance company was bailed out by the taxpayer in 2007.

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