Risk Management

SAFECO to Cut 1,200 Jobs

Property-casualty insurer says layoff will help it cut annual operating costs by $100 million.
CFO.com StaffJuly 18, 2001

SAFECO, the Seattle-based property-casualty insurer, said today it will cut employment by 10 percent, or 1,200 jobs, by the end of 2003, with half of the cuts occurring this year.

In a press release, the company said the layoffs combined with previously announced plans to consolidate the company’s commercial insurance lines and a number of other actions would help it cut annual operating expenses by about $100 million.

Other cost-cutting actions include aggressively managing its homeowners insurance line to profitability; reorganizing its property- casualty business unit and providing full profit-and-loss responsibility to Michael LaRocco, the newly appointed president and chief operating officer of personal insurance lines, and Dale Lauer, president and chief operating officer of business insurance; and increasing marketing support for SAFECO’s network of independent insurance agents.

SAFECO said restructuring charges associated with its actions will total $60 million through 2003. This will include a pretax charge against earnings in the third quarter this year of about $40 million– or 20 cents per diluted share after tax.