More than 100 local Liberty Mutual employees may find themselves out of work next year.
The insurance company has recently announced plans to consolidate “personal insurance policy production” into one location in New Hampshire. That means dozens of full-time employees in the division office on Browns Bridge Road in Gainesville may no longer have a job.
“We aren’t closing the office, but a single operation is being consolidated into another location. Out of around 280 employees, this will affect approximately 125 employees at (our Gainesville) production center,” said Glenn Greenberg, Liberty Mutual senior external relations specialist.
Instead of calculating insurance policies by hand, Greenberg says the majority of policies are created through an automated system that alleviates the need for multiple policy production locations.
“The insurance industry has matured over the decades and the process of producing policies has changed over time,” Greenberg said.
“In some situations, there is an anomaly to the application that does require someone to physically input information and manually produce a (policy), but the majority of policies are produced automatically after certain information is plugged into a program.”
“This is a situation where advancements in technology have led to improvements in customer service, but unfortunately it adversely affects some of our staff.”
The personal policy operation will be phased out of the Gainesville office over the next 22 months. Other functions will remain, including commercial insurance operations.
“Liberty Mutual will look to minimize job loss by offering the 125 affected employees with an opportunity to seek positions in other Liberty Mutual operations elsewhere,” Greenberg said.
“However, for those we cannot retain, we will provide a severance package and outplacement assistance.”
Though the company isn’t relocating affected employees, they will be able to apply for positions at any one of Liberty Mutual’s 900 offices worldwide, including 29 in Georgia.
“No employees have yet been impacted by this announcement,” Greenberg said.
“The first impact will be about 25-30 employees later in the first quarter of 2010. Each affected employee will receive 60 days’ notice.”