MetLife To Consolidate Operations, Move 2,600 Workers To North Carolina, In $126 Million Investment

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MetLife will consolidate operations and shift jobs to North Carolina, where it will build two new campuses, in a move aimed at saving hundreds of millions of dollars by 2016.

Jobs will be slashed in Bloomfield — the number was not disclosed — and other MetLife locations around the country to move 2,600 positions to Charlotte and Cary, N.C. It’s an investment of $125.5 million.

A spokesman for the nation’s largest life insurer said the transition will happen over years.

“This is a multi-year relocation plan,” said MetLife spokesman John Calagna. “So, I don’t have a number to share with you at this point regarding the number of positions in Bloomfield impacted.”

Calagna confirmed that MetLife is closing its offices in Lowell, Mass., Somerset, N.J., and Aliso Viejo, Calif., and the company will be reducing its workforce and its footprint in Bloomfield, Boston, Irvine, Calif., Johnstown, Pa., and Warwick, R.I.

MetLife, officially called the Metropolitan Life Insurance Company of New York, said last year it was looking to cut $600 million in expenses by 2016.

Life insurers are facing financial pressures from the low-interest-rate environment, which limits growth on their investments, and a half-century low point for the industry in terms of the percent of American households that have individual life insurance, according to Windsor-based LIMRA, an industry-funded research group. Individual life insurance is often sold by an agent, a bank or directly by the insurer, which is different from group life offered to workers through an employer.

The life insurance industry has improved in some ways. Sales of all individual life insurance policies were up 6 percent last year in terms of annualized premium, the amount customers pay to insurers each year, according to LIMRA.

Additionally, 2012 was the third consecutive year for positive growth in annualized premium and the second year of positive growth for the number of policies sold — the first time the number of policies grew two years consecutively since 1980 and 1981, according to LIMRA.

MetLife is creating hubs for its U.S. Retail Business in Charlotte and its Global Technology & Operations business in Cary, N.C. The jobs include product management, sales, marketing and customer support in Charlotte and information technology jobs in Cary.

MetLife’s Bloomfield location is primarily sales support, product support and information technology jobs, Calagna said.

In return for creating jobs, North Carolina is offering $116.3 million in incentives through the state’s Job Development Investment Grant program, though only three-fourths of it would be for MetLife. The remaining amount would build infrastructure in lower-income counties in North Carolina.

In North Carolina, MetLife is eligible to receive 12 annual grants equal to 75 percent of the state personal income tax withholdings from the new jobs created. The value of that is as much as $87.2 million, according to a media release from Gov. Pat McCrory’s office.

Additional funds up to $29.09 million could be added to North Carolina’s Utility Fund for infrastructure improvements in economically distressed counties. When funds are awarded to a company in the state’s more prosperous counties, including the two at stake in this agreement, 25 percent of the grant is allocated to the state Utility Fund to encourage economic development in less prosperous counties.

The project also involves a performance-based grant of as much as $2 million from the One North Carolina Fund.

What this means for Connecticut is unclear at this point. MetLife remains an important member of the state’s business community, said state Department of Economic Development deputy commissioner Ronald F. Angelo Jr.

“….we will continue to have discussions with them about their Connecticut workforce and how we can maintain that operation here,” Angelo said. “[They] are looking at their real estate assets and how to best position themselves. So, right now, it’s important to be reaching out and continue a dialogue with these companies, but the insurance and financial-service industry in this state is very, very strong. It remains strong. It is certainly something we are eyeing for growth in the future.”

MetLife paid $50 million in 2007 to buy the South Building on Cigna Corp.’s Bloomfield campus. At the time, MetLife was consolidating about 2,000 employees from several offices in Hartford, Glastonbury and Rocky Hill. The employees who worked in Hartford were mostly from the former Travelers Life & Annuity, which MetLife purchased in 2005.

Bloomfield Town Manager Louie Chapman said Thursday that MetLife officials made the town aware earlier in the day that the company would be making some personnel moves over the next three years that would affect some local employees.

Chapman said the company has been a good, if distant, corporate citizen since moving its headquarters to town, but added that the town’s relationship with MetLife is non-existent.

“We have made a number of gestures to them, but they haven’t expressed any interest in developing a relationship,” Chapman said. “We weren’t even rebuffed — just ignored.”

Courant staff writers Steven Goode and Kenneth R. Gosselin contributed to this report.

About Matthew Sturdevant

Full-time staff journalist at The Hartford Courant and magazine freelancer with a master's degree in writing from Dartmouth. My work has appeared in The Los Angeles Times, The Chicago Tribune, Taiwan News, The Baltimore Sun and many other news sources. My blog has been referenced by Politico.com, the Kaiser Family Foundation, the Georgetown Law Library and a number of organizations in healthcare and business. Sturdevant’s blog is "a well-written wealth of ideas," said The Donald W. Reynolds National Center for Business Journalism, (businessjournalism.org, May 18, 2011). I have experience writing for newspapers, magazines, Web sites and blogs as well as shooting and editing video. I made regular appearances on news-talk radio and on the NBC affiliate station in Corpus Christi, Texas. I made occasional appearances on the Fox affiliate in Connecticut promoting Hartford Courant articles.

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50 thoughts on “MetLife To Consolidate Operations, Move 2,600 Workers To North Carolina, In $126 Million Investment

  1. pete

    go to yahoo finance and click on MET for metlife. Metlife is MOVING jobs from where else CT, CA, NJ and MA all HIGH TAX states to NC. Too bad the HC is a DANNY BOY supporter. If not, you might get the truth

    1. Mike

      ROFL. Clearly, you don’t know anything about North Carolina. We have the 6th highest tax burden in the country and our taxes are high so we can steal jobs to give away cash to corporations.

      1. mc

        Mike, Connecticut happens to do the exact same thing to lure companies out of NYC. We have the 3rd highest tax burden in the country. The Hartford area does not reap the rewards because Hartford, quite frankly, has hit the point of no-return. The Fairfield County area, Stamford and Norwalk, do though. RBS and UBS came from NYC with incentives. Charter Communication from St Louis with incentives. Wyndham Resorts, incentives. Nestle NA, incentives. Bridgewater, same thing. The large movie industry in the state is only due to massive incentives and breaks. Corporate welfare to the highest bidders. At least NC is unique in that there are only a couple livable, good sized cities in the south. Pretty much Atlanta and Charlotte. I live in NYC and can’t tell you how many people are looking for a decent city with a lower cost of living and warmer weather. Right now, there just isn’t anything good enough to compete with NYC, but if these corporate moves keep happening, Charlotte, here I come. Make room for some more Yankees!

      2. mc

        And tell your state to start the incentives game in Wilmington. Forget Raleigh/Durham. The East Coast needs a good coastal city that is warm and is not Miami.

      3. john

        Mike

        You are full of bs. NC doesn’t have anywhere near the 6th highest tax burden of all 50 states. And in case you haven’t noticed, every state uses tax incentives to compete for new investment. Every single one. Get some facts.

  2. Bill

    RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) — Insurance giant MetLife Inc. is moving 2,600 jobs from offices in four Northeast states and California to North Carolina, which is offering tax and other incentives that could top $94 million.
    The insurer said Thursday it is shifting the jobs from Lowell and Boston, Mass.; Somerset, N.J.; Bloomfield, Conn.; Johnstown, Pa.; Warwick, R.I.; and Aliso Viejo and Irvine, Calif.
    The positions will be consolidated in Charlotte and the Raleigh suburb of Cary, with each landing about 1,300 jobs. Charlotte will be the U.S. headquarters for MetLife’s retail business, while Cary becomes a global technology and operations hub.

  3. Bill

    Nice job Danny Boy. Get money to companies that we staying here anyway and let this one leave.

  4. Tim Still

    Employees in Annuity Services in Bloomfield, CT were told today that their Annuity Services are being moved to North Carolina at the end of the year. Some will be offered jobs and relocation expenses, but most will be laid off. Amazing, isn’t it?

  5. gin

    Hey peeps-if you get offered a job in NC-run away from CT as fast as you can. In fact, do whatever it takes to leave this death state and thank your lucky stars. Great weather, great people, low taxes. Way to go Dan!!!

    1. Mike

      Clueless. We have the 6th highest taxes in the country. We don’t need more people here draining our resources.

  6. Paul

    We were once the lone low tax state in whole beast. Then wicker created a job killing environment that has festered for 25 years.
    Sad to lose jobs to NC. I lived there for 7 years and while once a great destination it now really blows. I feel sorry for anyone forced to move their as it is way overcrowded and the infrastructure (highways and schools) can’t keep up. Disgustingly hot for 6 months. No place to raise a family, but work is pretty important.
    Being a blue state is so depressing.

  7. Evan - Hartford

    I’m definitely worried about the state of this state. If we can’t stay competitive, people will leave. Simple as that.

  8. Lawrence

    $126 million for 2600 jobs??

    And the taxpayers of North Carolina are cool with that?

    Nope.

    Here are some online comments from the Charlotte Observer in the past hour:

    Where’s the tea party’s rage about this one? Is this crony capitalism, investment in business, fascism? A good idea? A bad one? I thought republicans wanted to use the gov’t to influence the markets a little as possible? These incentives, I call them bribes, are not needed for huge corporations. The markets decide what they do or don’t do, not tax incentives. Tax incentives just add to their profits, and externalize costs to the tax payer. This type of gov’t-business collusion should be banned across the country
    ————

    AMEN! $87 million to get them to spend an estimated $125 million? Why are we underwriting 75% of Met Lifes bottom line? This is corporate welfare, plain and simple. A handout from one good ole boy to another. The Tea Party and the GOP are showing us the magnitude of their hypocrisy.
    ———–

    Unfortunately, there is a market among states for these sorts of deals. If NC hadn’t offered the deal, then Metlife would likely be announcing St. Louis as their location. It would be better if nobody played these games, but it’s a classic prisoner’s dilemma.
    ———–

    Hence the importance of Karl Fetter’s final sentence, about banning the practice nationwide. Realistically, that’s very unlikely without a large uprising and a political party taking it on as a cause. Also, possibly the commerce clause would make a nationwide ban unconstitutional. Anyway, right, it stinks, but if you don’t pay the companies, somebody else will.

    1. Mike

      You’re right. $126 million… But, this is nothing compared to the nearly $250 million Georgia handed to Baxter labs this year or the $454 million South Carolina just handed to Continental Tires. Meanwhile, our children can’t read, the roads are falling apart, and 25% of population can’t get decent dental care. All this for the 6th highest tax burden in the country…so we give it away to corporations. Keep your people in Connecticut, please.

    2. mc

      It all reminds me a bit of another big move from CT to NC. The Whalers. Pony tailed Peter Karmanos! Scumbag!

    3. john

      Lawrence

      I wouldn’t put too much stock into the comments of few know nothings. But the other comments are correct. It is the game we are all forced to play right now. Good luck changing it.

  9. alan

    the only safe job in hartford is a state job or a muni or public ed job. no layoff clause..the “sacrifice” is to get your pension 3 years later than the giveaway it used to be. Insurance used to be big but now like SNET a shadow of former self.

    1. Johnny 2 Dogs

      You’re assuming someone will be left here to pay public employee pensions which are currently less than 60% funded. I’ll take my 401(k) any day: a bird in the hand is worth two in the bush.

  10. peter

    “What this means for Connecticut is unclear at this point”. Does this guy have rocks in his head. They’re history, toast, and the gun industry is next. Let all of the state workers pay the taxes now. That will be the only jobs left.

  11. Mike

    Where’s the tea party’s rage about this one? Is this crony capitalism, investment in business, fascism? A good idea? A bad one? I thought republicans wanted to use the gov’t to influence the markets a little as possible? These incentives, I call them bribes, are not needed for huge corporations. The markets decide what they do or don’t do, not tax incentives. Tax incentives just add to their profits, and externalize costs to the tax payer. This type of gov’t-business collusion should be banned across the country

    1. Norm Scott

      Why pussyfoot with half-measures? Eliminate the middle man. Get rid of all private enterprise and replace it with government agencies.

      A person works for the government. The government pays their salary. The person then pays the government for goods and services.

      It’s just common sense.

    2. Rita

      To Mike: have read your posts, re high taxes in NC & the Tea Party. 1) CT has one of the highest energy and taxation in the country, including property/income/personal property (cars,trailers,motorbikes,horses,woodstoves)/sales/hair cuts/yoga class/jewelry/boats/you name it 3) It’s blue, that means NO respect for any constitution, federal or state 4)the state legislature is controlled by liberal progressives which has created an imbalance in power 4) It’s damn cold up here

      Your challenge is to get involved with your political party, whichever one, and make sure all the blue bloods beating feet out of CT don’t change your conservatism. As for corporate cronyism, I agree with you. But, that’s where you come in. Get involved and help others to get involved to bring it to an end.

      In the meantime, your state, SC, TN, KY, TX, OK and a few others are already on my list. I have lost more friends to the South and Midwest in the last few years than I can counton both hands – for a reason. CT is dying.

  12. Dr. Aki Bola, Esq.

    Will the last private sector worker to leave CT, please turn out the lights. All the state and municipal workers can tax each other to pay for the transgendered bathrooms and other critical legislation that they can’t live without.

  13. Norm Scott

    The Government needs to raise taxes to cover the losses from MetLife’s departure. Tax increases that are at least high enough to hire 2600 permanent State workers. Governor Malloy’s the man to lead the charge. It’s only common sense. We can’t continue to let free enterprise interrupt the long march towards becoming the People’s State of Connecticut.

  14. Lawrence

    Uh, you guys understand that it’s NOT 2,600 MetLife employees from CT, right??

    It’s 2,600 MetLife workers from eight different MetLife locations around the country.

    And in my first comment I used the wrong figure — NC is giving MetLife $232 million in taxpayer money for 2,600 jobs, or almost $100,000 per job.

    1. john

      Lawrence

      Your incentive numbers are way off. Its less than $100 million; still big, but nowhere near $232 million. The incentives are also performance based, not paid out up front, and have to be paid back if the company doesn’t meet employment targets or closes the facility before the end of the incentives term.

  15. Johnny 2 Dogs

    This is simple economics. Putting the subsidies aside, MetLife can hire people in NC for less money than CT. Jobs will go where labor is cheaper (think India). If CT continues to raise taxes it will continue to bleed jobs.

  16. R Lee

    Thanks Gov. Malloy!!
    Maybe there will be a ceremony for the last worker to turn the lights off.
    Now go and raise some taxes on the five remaining workers and see if they stay.
    So glad to NOT pay taxes in CT.

  17. t. stillson

    Great to live in ct high taxes and very high gas prices liberal secular progressives I hope you are happy with your liberal communist administration.no job creation except gov jobs which means higher taxes. Malloy you should hang your head.

  18. Mike Robinson

    North Carolina is not a low tax paradise.

    Personal Income Tax: 6% to 7.75%
    Sales Tax: 4.75% to 7.25%
    Gasoline Tax: 56.2 cents/gallon
    Groceries taxed at 2%

  19. DR

    I’ve been saying this for months!!!!!!!

    And this will be more than a few jobs leaving Bloomfield – within a few years, the entire facility will be shut down.

    However, I am confused at the comments about taxes – NC has a good corporate tax environment but personal taxes are actually higher in NC than in CT.

    Other factors may also be at play – cheaper real estate, lower energy costs, reduced traffic congestion and being in a growing financial center (Charlotte) rather than a dying financial center (Hartford). These likely have more to do with the move than taxes.

  20. Deborah

    CT debt burden highest in country at $49K/taxpayer; tax Freedom Day May 5th-latest in country; Barrons rated CT debt burden WORST in the country; worst state to retire in; educational Achievement Gap WORST in country!
    Keep paying those pensions and no layoffs for state workers. Keep enslaving the poor in democratic run cities like New Haven,Hartford and Bridgeport with yr subsidies and socialist policies for DECADES! Keep voting in people like Beth Bye and then run the gun manufacturers out too!
    What a disgrace!

  21. Ann

    Hmmm, 87 million plus 116 million, to move 2,600 jobs. Met Life is makin a 125 million dollar investment?…sounds like Met Life is getting a 78 million dollar hand out.

  22. DR

    As an addendum, other reason they are moving is because NC is giving them nearly $100 million dollars – which is ironic since Malloy is often attacked for doing the same thing….

  23. Jan

    If North Carolina wants to pay $87M to MetLife, go ahead. Pretty soon its taxpayers will be right up there with Ct.

  24. gin

    true comments on personal taxes in NC, they are high. But property taxes are cheap, cheap. Housing is 1/2 to 1/3 of Ct costs. Roads are good, great geography, you got the beach in the east and the mountains in the west. Hot in the summer, that is true. But that’s why carrier invited air conditioning. What we are witnessing is the long slow death of the Northeast. its kinda sad. Cary, NC is lovingly referred to as NY south. that’s where all the yankees go to live. if i were smart, I’d move there too. If I were young, i’d be hightailing out of this hell hole.

    1. DR

      Beach and mountains? Don’t you hae the same thing in CT but alot closer? I’m 1 hour from teh beach and 1.5 hours from Vermont skiing.

      the only actual benefit you suggest is that it is better to have higher personal taxes and low property taxes, than the other way around.

      I think you are missing the bigger picture.

  25. Chris

    Met does not want to sell anything until interest rates rise. They are getting rid of their experienced workforce and replacing them with cheaper,inexperienced NC folks. They hope to have them trained and in place so they can get back in the market when the time is right. Cheaper workforce, crazy tax incentives will propel the stock price up so when the CEO retires in 4 years he can cash out big. People are not humans to them just human resources.

  26. Jill Archer

    METLIFE will lay off qualified experienced workers and replace them with new workers who will lack experience, good luck policyowners ! Customer Service will suffer once again ..with call centers overseas and now this !!

  27. monkeybaby

    I work at MetLife. All of our jobs in CT, MA, RI, NJ, etc., being sent to NC, we will have to reapply. Our jobs will be moved to NC between now and the end of 2015. There’s no guarantee we will get our jobs if we apply, and it’s likely we won’t, since our salary scales are 1-2 levels higher than NC’s. Plus, the NC governor promised the jobs to NC residents, so the majority of us would not get the jobs anyway (trust me, they want to hire new NC workers at 1/2 to 1/3 our salaries). They would not want to pay us our Northeast salaries as well so we would have to take a pay cut to go to NC. The majority of people in my office have 20-40 years (yes, not a typo) experience and that will all be gone in NC. A good number of our jobs were outsourced to India from 2007 to 2012 so this is the final blow. It’s a way for MetLife to not get the bad rap of outsourcing and keeping the jobs in the USA but they’re replacing experienced/valued employees with newbies. Many of us will also be required to go to NC to train our replacements. I do have some friends who are willing to relocate, but they also know it’s slim chance they will be chosen. The real estate is cheaper in NC but the schools are not as good, so that’s a consideration for many. Met is offering us a severance, but you must stay until your job moves, and it is a good amount for those of us with seniority. Many of my coworkers will be retiring as well.

    1. Tim Still

      The same thing happened in 2005 when MetLife decided to purchase Travelers Life & Annuity. Many people from Hartford flew out to Denver for a few weeks to learn the jobs of the MetLife people who worked in the Denver office, which was closing as a result of the acquisition. Those people in Denver were losing their jobs, but were forced to train the people from Hartford the processes, policies, and procedures. It was a very awkward situation on both sides. And now it has come full circle, with Hartford/Bloomfield workers who will be losing their jobs, flying out to train the new people in North Carolina. The nature of the beast.

  28. Daskracken

    The solution is simple – vote for moderates whether they be Republicans or Democrats. Residents need to stop voting the Democratic party line and start voting for the best candidate, then we wouldn’t have so many leftist in the legislature.

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