Insurer ‘consolidating’ 600 employees


State Farm, founded in 1922, serves more than 75 million insurance policies and is based in Bloomington, Indiana. Courtesy State Farm

An insurance agency is closing a facility in the region with hundreds of employees.

State Farm Mutual Automobile Insurance Company, the parent of the State Farm family of companies, said yesterday it is consolidating 11 locations into its headquarters in Bloomington, Illinois, as well as offices in Atlanta, Dallas and Phoenix and "a number of existing locations across the U.S." — a move that will affect about 600 employees at its claims center in Portage.

The company said the affected employees will "continue to have job opportunities in other State Farm locations."

The closures will occur in stages beginning in 2018, with the Portage facility, at 5538 Portage Rd., slated for closure in 2019.

“We understand the decision to exit these facilities directly affects our employees and their communities,” said Mary Schmidt, EVP and chief administrative officer, State Farm. “While the exits will begin in 2018 and continue over several years, we are announcing this decision now in order to give employees time to make personal and professional decisions. The company will continue to have a strong local presence in these communities through our agents and local claims employees.”

The total scope of the closures will impact about 4,200 employees nationwide.

State Farm said the decision to consolidate the facilities is part of an effort to streamline operations by leveraging technology and concentrating its workforce in a central location.

State Senator Margaret O’Brien issued a statement yesterday, sympathizing with the loss of jobs in the region and asking State Farm to reconsider its decision.

“Today, over 600 employees learned that they will no longer be employed in Kalamazoo County,” O’Brien said. “Their lives and their families’ lives are changing, and my heart goes out to them. The people at the Kalamazoo office of State Farm have done an amazing job serving our community. State Farm has been a great community employer, and I continue to urge them to keep our Kalamazoo office open.”


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