The process is to be completed by January 2008, and will cover facilities set up by Indian suppliers in Bangalore and Pune in India, as well as Colombo in Sri Lanka, the company said Tuesday.

The transition is not as a result of dissatisfaction with current provision, but is part of a plan initiated in 2003 to outsource BPO work to contractors under a ‘build-operate-transfer’ (BOT) model, an Aviva Global Services spokeswoman said.

Under the BOT model, suppliers set up facilities with staff doing work for the UK firm, with the option to transfer the staff and facilities to Aviva at a later date.

Growing offshore

The spokeswoman said Aviva will carry on outsourcing BPO work to its suppliers in India. ExlService Holdings will continue to have over 1,000 staff working for Aviva at a facility in Noida near Delhi.

Another provider, 24/7 Customer of Bangalore, has set up a 1,400-seat facility in Chennai for Aviva. The facility in Chennai currently has 300 staff, which will be increased down the line, she added.

An offshore model that combines a company's own employees with staff from suppliers offers the flexibility for increasing of worker numbers more quickly, and also introduces an element of competition, added Aviva’s spokeswoman.

Aviva also announced that it will have 7,800 BPO staff in India and Sri Lanka by the end of next year. This number includes both staff of Aviva Global Services and staff of suppliers working for Aviva.

Aviva is the UK's largest insurance group and the fifth largest in the world, providing life and pension products to customers in Europe and elsewhere.