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Wheels fall off Aviva Insurance's website for 5 hours

Promises to 'roll over' lapsing policies after outage

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Aviva's British insurance customers were left battling to get through to a jammed helpline after the company's IT services suffered a five-hour outage that left its web services dangling.

A Reg reader wrote in to say his attempt to access his account online had been fruitless for two days.

An Aviva spokesperson confirmed over the phone that the insurance company had been experiencing outages since Tuesday, and that the firm hadn't had a full web service for five hours that day and half-an-hour on Wednesday. "This affected customers calling into the contact centre," said the rep. "We're fully functional now. We apologies to all of those customers affected."

He assured us that customers who needed to log in to update insurance polices and couldn't would have their insurance policies rolled over.

The Aviva bod said the firm hadn't had time to sift the data to work out the root causes of the problem, but would update us when it does.

Aviva has an in-house IT team under CIO Cathryn Riley, but also several outsourcing deals, most significantly a 10-year £700m datacentre contract with HP-owned EDS. EDS runs two data centres for Aviva in Norwich, where it is headquartered.

IT was one of the areas where Aviva decided to cut the fat when forced to make savings in 2009, by exiting legacy systems and consolidating IT processes. ®

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