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State Farm: IT Changes Won't Cut Into B-N Workforce Size

State Farm headquarters building in Bloomington.

An internal announcement this week at State Farm won’t have a major impact on the size of the insurer’s overall workforce in Bloomington-Normal, the company said Friday.

The company told employees this week about an IT realignment that could displace some staffers, sources told GLT.

“We are beginning a new approach and realignment of our IT functions,” State Farm spokesperson Missy Dundov said in a statement. “As our business continues to grow, State Farm anticipates changes in the marketplace and continually evaluates all its operations. Because technology continues to change our industry and the needs of our customers, it remains a key factor in our business.”

Dundov added: “We have and will continue to fluctuate around 15,000 employees locally.”

More specific information related to this week’s announcement is expected in the coming weeks, she said.

It’s unclear how many local employees will be impacted. Sources told GLT that some positions may end up moving to newer regional hubs in Phoenix, Atlanta, and Dallas.

“Our company employs approximately 65,000 people. It is common for hundreds of employees to move in and out of our Bloomington facilities every year, and we expect that trend to continue,” Dundov said.

In May, State Farm announced plans to close 11 facilities across the U.S. over the next four years, displacing 4,200 employees. The insurer planned to move that work to the Bloomington headquarters and the hubs in Atlanta, Dallas, and Phoenix.

During remarks last October in Bloomington-Normal, State Farm CEO Michael Tipsord unpacked the philosophy of the company's new hub system. It attempts to address skilled labor shortages in smaller cities that had served as regional headquarters by concentrating jobs in large metro areas (Dallas, Atlanta, and Phoenix) where State Farm already had a sizable presence. Roughly speaking, Tipsord said State Farm has and will have 15,000 workers in Bloomington-Normal, and about 10,000 a piece in Phoenix, Dallas, and Atlanta.

"The corporate headquarters of State Farm Mutual Automobile Insurance Company will remain in Bloomington-Normal," Tipsord said at the time.

State Farm’s net income dropped to just $400 million in 2016 from $6.2 billion the year before, according to its annual financial report. Its underwriting loss from auto insurance alone jumped to $7 billion, up from $4.4 billion in 2015. Buoyed by its investments, State Farm’s net worth still rose to $87.6 billion in 2016.

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Ryan Denham is the digital content director for WGLT.
WGLT Senior Reporter Charlie Schlenker has spent more than three award-winning decades in radio. He lives in Normal with his family.