Phoenix Cos. Cuts 75 Hartford Jobs, They Won't Be The Last
By DIANE LEVICK
April 22, 2009
The Phoenix Cos., which is trying to cut millions of dollars in expenses, confirmed Wednesday that it has notified roughly 170 employees so far — 75 in Hartford — that their jobs are being eliminated.
The cuts were part of layoffs announced in late February, when Phoenix said it would eliminate more than 250 of its 1,100 employees companywide, about 25 percent of the work force.
But the toll is likely to be higher because Phoenix subsequently lost its major distributors, including State Farm and National Life Group in Vermont, dramatically curbing new sales. The distributors suspended sales after Phoenix suffered multiple ratings downgrades.
The rest of the layoffs will be done over the next several months. Phoenix did not provide a specific number.
Most of the 170 layoffs came this week in areas most affected by the reduction in business, said Phoenix spokeswoman Alice Ericson. Many were in field wholesaling operations — employees in field offices who deal with the financial advisers and others who sell Phoenix life insurance and annuities to customers. Some were in information technology departments that support life and annuity operations.
The 75 affected employees in Hartford represent 12.5 percent of the roughly 600 employed here after Phoenix spun off its asset management business, Virtus Investment Partners, on Dec. 31.
Ericson wouldn't speculate on how many more layoffs there might be in Hartford. However, it's likely that a substantial number of the remaining job cuts will be in Hartford because actions have already been taken in field operations.
Employees received 60-day notices of their layoffs, which means their salary will be continued for 60 days before severance kicks in. The amount of severance is based on years of service and job level, and the maximum is 52 weeks of pay, Ericson said.
The actual departure date for each employee will depend on Phoenix's business needs, and the company offers outplacement services, she said.
Phoenix, which posted a $726 million net loss for 2008, said in February that it planned to reduce annualized expenses by about $65 million, including layoffs.
Reprinted with permission of the Hartford Courant.
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