Insurer Zurich Financial Services has signed a framework IT services deal with CSC, worth up to $2.9 billion (£1.75 billion).

The agreement, to last over ten and a half years, is on a financial scale rarely matched by companies in the current economic climate. It covers the provision of datacentre and managed IT services in Europe and North America.

Zurich’s UK offices, which could be affected, are in London, Leeds and Glasgow.

The master agreement provides a framework for country-specific agreements which individual Zurich operations are expected to enter into.

Under the project, Zurich is attempting to centralise its datacentres and cut servers through virtualisation. CSC said the new environment would be “fully modernised” and “flexible”.

Zurich expects up to 1,000 of its staff to transfer to CSC during the first half of next year, dependent upon negotiation with staff that could be challenging.

The company already works with CSC, under a $1.3 billion (£785 million) application outsourcing contract. In 2008, the scope of work was expanded under a £200 million deal to include desktop services in Europe and North America.

Last month, Zurich lost the sensitive personal account details of 641,000 customers on a backup tape, which has been missing for over a year in South Africa. Over 50,000 UK customers were affected.