Saratoga County

State Farm to add jobs in Malta

The planned downsizing of a State Farm Insurance operations center in New Jersey will mean more jobs

The planned downsizing of a State Farm Insurance operations center in New Jersey will mean more jobs coming to the Malta operations center, a State Farm spokesman said Thursday.

While 500 jobs will be leaving the Parsippany, N.J., office, it’s too soon in the process to know how many of the jobs will move to Malta and how many to an office in Pennsylvania, spokesman Douglas Nadeau said.

“You’re going to see a net growth in jobs, no doubt about it,” he said.

State Farm’s North Atlantic Operations Center just off Northway Exit 12 currently has just more than 1,100 employees, primarily doing claims processing and policy underwriting work. Employment there has fluctuated between 1,000 and 1,200 since the operations center was established here in 1991.

Nadeau said the job transfers from New Jersey to either Malta or another regional office in Concordville, Pa., will take place over a two-year period, between next month and September 2013.

“We’re just at the beginning of a very long process, and the numbers are still fluid,” Nadeau said.

Employees at the New Jersey office were informed of the pending downsizing in late July, and some employees are already looking for housing in the Capital Region in anticipation of transferring.

“That very long lead time gives people time to navigate the changes,” he said.

Nadeau said the changes being made by State Farm aren’t being driven by cost issues but by a desire to centralize particular back-office functions. Claims processing jobs will be consolidated in Malta.

“This is purely an internal business decision, driven by technology, the need to bring certain business units together in a single location and the current occupancy levels of our three operations centers in the Northeastern U.S.,” Nadeau said. “This decision was prompted by the need for greater efficiency in doing our business and to achieve service levels our customers demand today.”

A transfer of jobs into the Malta operations center would be more positive news for a town that is also currently seeing the creation of at least 1,400 new jobs at the GlobalFoundries computer chip plant.

Town Supervisor Paul Sausville said Thursday that he was delighted at the prospect.

“They’ve been a great neighbor and a great part of our town,” Sausville said. “They’re the kind of 21st-century jobs we want to have. They’re high-benefit, low-impact jobs.”

The local State Farm office will be hosting a relocation presentation for about 80 employees from New Jersey and Pennsylvania this Saturday. They will be hearing from representatives of the Saratoga County Chamber of Commerce, local schools and others about what’s available to them in the Capital Region.

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