MetLife ready to jettison more jobs
Keeps to promise, but no more
May 22, 2006
By JONATHAN 0'CONNELL, Hartford Business Journal Writer
Entering the final six weeks of a yearlong agreement with Gov. M. Jodi Rell to maintain at least 1,360 jobs in Hartford, MetLife doesn’t plan on leaving a second on the clock.
The company was down to 1,422 Hartford employees as of March 31 and plans to eliminate 69 more positions on or around June 30, which would bring its Hartford employment below the 1,360 mark just as the agreement expires.
MetLife made the deal when acquiring Travelers Life & Annuity last June and has been submitting monthly employment reports to the Connecticut Department of Insurance (DOI) since. Travelers Life & Annuity had more than 1,700 employees at the time of the transaction and more than 2,000 early last spring.
The employees in the most recent round of layoffs were designated “transitional” employees at the time of the acquisition. Among them are assistant vice presidents, senior financial analysts, network engineers, business analysts and an array of consultants. According to the DOI, their departure will leave 105 temporary employees at MetLife’s Hartford office.
“They were part of that transitional group,” said Christopher Breslin, a spokesman for MetLife.
MetLife notified the soon-to-be-departed workers last year of their temporary status and filed the action with the Connecticut Department of Labor (DOL) pursuant to the federal Worker Adjustment and Retraining Act (WARN) on Apr. 28.
Breslin said MetLife, with offices at 185 Asylum St. in Hartford, has no “foreseeable” plans to eliminate further Hartford employees after the deal with the Governor’s office ends at the close of the month. He said the company is in the process of searching for and hiring sales and customer service agents.
“We’re still in Hartford and we’re still committed to being in Hartford,” Breslin said.
Barbara Fernandez, who aims to bolster the insurance industry as director of the state’s Office of Insurance and Financial Services, said despite the layoffs she thinks the industry has begun to turn the corner since losing thousands of jobs in the 1990s.
“It is an industry that has been hit by a lot of shock waves, but has been able to stabilize,” Fernandez said.