Oklahoma Commissioner Unhappy About State Farm’s Plan to Exit Tulsa

State Farm is planning to close its Tulsa operations center in 2019, and the state’s insurance commissioner is none too happy about it.

According to the Associated Press, spokesman Justin Tomczak said the company will be moving 530 Tulsa-area jobs out of state. The operations center handles claims and underwriting and has been open since 1989.

In a statement released by the Oklahoma Insurance Department, Insurance Commissioner John Doak said he is “extremely disappointed in both the decision and the communication between State Farm and my office. I was notified about the closing just ten minutes before it was announced, giving me, Gov. Mary Fallin and Tulsa Mayor G.T. Bynum no time to discuss options and try to keep those jobs in Tulsa. Just two weeks ago a State Farm executive assured me the Tulsa facility was included in the company’s future plans. As the state’s largest insurer, I would expect advance notice of such a significant decision.”

Doak said State FarmCEO Michael Tipsord has been invited “to sit down with me, Gov. Fallin and Mayor Bynum to discuss possible alternatives.”

The company says employees will have opportunities at other locations, but city officials hope the displaced skilled workers will stay in Tulsa, the AP reported. Tulsa’s unemployment rate has begun to decline following a statewide recession brought on by low energy prices.

State Farm is closing 11 operations centers across the country that will affect about 4,200 employees. The company says it is trying to be more efficient by concentrating employees in larger locations.

Source: Oklahoma Department of Insurance, Associated Press

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Article source: http://www.insurancejournal.com/news/southcentral/2017/05/08/450273.htm