BLOOMINGTON — State Farm will close an undisclosed number of offices that serve as direct support to the company’s more than 18,000 agents in the U.S. and Canada.

“There will be some reduction in staffing levels,” spokesman Phil Supple said Wednesday. He said the company has not determined how many positions will be eliminated or how many of its agency field offices will close.

The offices handle administrative duties for State Farm agents, as well as provide research for new and existing claims and policies, said Supple.

The Bloomington-based insurer is making the move to become more efficient and streamline operations. The move “possibly could save money,” said Supple.

But “no one has put a pencil to the paper,” he added.

Supple declined to provide the total number of agency field offices in the U.S. and Canada, or the total number of employees at those locations.  He said staffing varies by city and region.

But he said the changes are part of an ongoing effort by State Farm to adapt to today’s competitive business environment. Earlier this year, the company announced it would close offices in Collinsville and suburban Tinley Park, affecting 130 workers.

Those positions were moved to other locations.  Similar changes have happened in other parts of the country.

“We’re continually improving level of service,” said Supple. “You keep customers that way.”

Some employees whose jobs are impacted by the latest announcement might also be relocated, said Supple.

“We are encouraging those employees to stay flexible; for some it may mean an opportunity to relocate or train for a new position,” he said. “These aren’t big operations. They are small offices, (yet) important ones.”

He said there are a small number of employees at an agency field office in Bloomington; it is unclear how they might be impacted.

Supple declined to comment on whether the changes could include pay cuts for employees who are relocated or whether any employees will be offered voluntary buyouts.

He also said the company has not determined how the duties now being done at the affected offices will be handled.  

“Agents will still have access to the resources,” said Supple. “Some of it will be virtual.”

For example, agent training now provided at field offices could be moved to claims offices and other regional facilities, said Supple.

The changes were announced Wednesday to the company’s 68,000 employees, including 15,000 in Bloomington.

More from pantagraph.com

(59) comments

jctarter

....and like a good....wait...

Comment deleted.
Go Thunder Go

Wrong-o.

annieoakley
annieoakley

At least they are dumping them on the streets and telling them they are on their own, which is what most companies do.

not-so-political

there goes the neigborhood, more empty buildings for jobless people to live in. oh, wait they will already be there.

Nesta

I quit State Farm two months ago because I saw no future for the company. As a former insider with state farm I can tell you the company is going under very quickly and losing money at a very high rate. Most of you at corporate know this. They are frantically trying to make improvements to their service to "catch up" (as our management told us) with the rest of the world of insurance and their efforts are failing miserably. Their goal is to" catch up" with the rest of the world by 2014 and there is a secret group of employees that were chosen to work on these efforts. What they have failed realize that while they are trying to "catch up", other companies are moving forward. Good luck state farm, I'm glad I realized you were not the holy grail like many of you employees think. There is going to be a lot of unemployed people in Bloomington very soon if this company does not get it together. And this is sad because I have a lot of good friend that are still there.

RGB

Great insight. You opened with a comment about State Farm losing money at a fast rate, which is demonstrably false. What other delusions are you resting your argument on?

Nesta

State Farm lost 4.5 billion, yes 4.5 billion in 2011. Look it up before you post. No delusions on my part. Look it up!

Panga

I thought you were no longer going to comment. I guess you did not stick around long enough to here what is happening now. Your loss.

Nesta

I never stated I was no longer going to comment. I stated that I was not going to argue. You need to pay more attention before lashing out at me. All I am doing is stating facts here. I know its hard to accept for you employees but facts are facts. You only belive what your managers say and disregard what the true facts are. I was once in your position, I understand your being mad at me but facts do not lie. Im just sorry that I had to be the one to tell you.

Sane In The Membrane

Learn the difference between gross and net profit. Net profit in 2011 = $800 million.

Sane In The Membrane

While anything could happen in the future, State Farm is certainly not in danger at the moment. If you ever worked there, you either paid no attention to the financial results, or you're just trolling. My guess is the latter.

Comment deleted.
Nesta

http://www.insurancejournal.com/news/national/2012/03/01/237706.htm

Sane In The Membrane

I guess you didn't make it to the 2nd paragraph where it says there was a net profit, and revenues were up. And 2012 is turning out far better still.

You might have quit your job for nothing. But hey, if you're truly happier, then more power to you, seriously. Just don't spread false information.

Nesta

My quitting my job had nothing to do with the financial state of the company. It had to do with my family's well being. So are we to only regard the second paragraph as true? So this is false information? Sounds like a reply I would get from a SF employee. Only pay attention to what makes the company look good and avoid the facts. And yes im very happy to be out of SF and that town. I hope you are happy sitting in a cube the rest of your life with very little chance of moving up in the company. Good Luck!

Sane In The Membrane

Saying they lost $4.5 billion is the response that is only paying attention to a certain part. The FACTS are that there are many things that make up profit and loss. Net is the final, once everything is added and subtracted. It is basic accounting, not cherry picking. The difference between gross and net. They didn't lose $4.5 billion. They made $800 million.

Sane In The Membrane

Oh, and you already stated that you quit because "...I saw no future for the company." I guess you meant some other future besides financial.

Comment deleted.
Nesta

Named calling? Sounds like a typicall SF employee.

Machrophobic

If you worked for Campell's you wouldn't eat soup either. Quit blaming S.F. for your failure to perform. Maybe you finally reached your level of incompetence. Thank them for the opportunity and move on. Cry babies have a tendency to get run over when they stop and whimper on the road of life.

Panga

Why are you all so hateful about State Farm? State Farm has been around for a long time and has employed tons of people throughout the years. I just do not get it. Lots of companies go through this and I never hear anyone else complain about those companies.

Nesta

There is a difference between being hateful and telling the truth. I was simply telling the truth. Ask anyone you know that works at State Farm and they will tell you that same thing I said.

MommaG

I've been with State Farm for 8 years...and I would not say the same thing you said, Nesta. I believe in this company. As Panga said, lots of companies go through growing pains and streamlining. It's the nature of the beast. While I do believe that State Farm will look like a completely different animal in 5 years, I don't believe it will go under any time soon. There are so many intricacies to 'the bottom line' - and if cutting the fat is necessary, then it's necessary. However, as employees, we can flow with the changes and evolve with the company, or we can stick our heels in against the changes and be a part of the unemployed 'trimmed fat'. Just as in a marriage, there are going to be ups and downs in any employer-employee relationship - but if you do your part to keep the relationship healthy and strong, you will come out ahead...and employed. Like a good neighbor, State Farm will always be there.

Nesta

Many of the people that are losing thier job over this "trimming of the fat" as you call it thought SF would always be there for them as well. Don't get too comfortable in your little SF world because it may not always be there for you. I chose to leave because ive seen what the SF culture does to people and didn't want any part of that to be my future. Its easy for you to talk when you are not one of the people who is losing their job. Oh, and by the way, over half of all marriges end in failure so not the greatest analogy to use.

Panga

I have worked at State Farm for almost 22 years and have never heard what you are saying. There have been many changes over these twenty two years but for the good of the company. State Farm does their best to place employees in other positions if theirs are being eliminated. Not many companies do that. I am proud to say I work at State Farm! Maybe you misunderstood what you were being told.

ChubbyAlaskaGriz
ChubbyAlaskaGriz

Here-here, Panga! The nay-saying disgruntled's always hafta have their say, don't they? SF is a Fortune 25 company. And it's not afraid to evolve and make necessary changes. The new hip fly-by-nights that pop-up and put out trendy TV ads w/ cool pop-song jingles can't hold a candle to the 90 years of product and service that SF represents. Wanna know the truth? Call a SFagent- and then call Flo- or the gecko- and keep track of the hold-time you sit on the phone waiting for some answers, care & concern.

Nesta

22 years? Wow! You are one of the one who I used to see every day that looked totally burned out on life when I worked there. I actually give you credit for sticking it out so long. Im not going to argue with people any more. My wife and I both worked at SF and made good money at SF . As a matter of fact, I was way overpaid for what I did. We just saw some things and realized that there is better opportunities in life than sitting in a cube all day. Im proud to say that I couldn't be happier with our decision to leave the company. Good luck to all of you and your futures at SF. Like I said, I have truly great friends that still work there. Im not a mad former employee that wishes bad on SF, I was just stating some of my concerns from what I saw going on there and that is why I chose to leave.

jackal21

Tired of wasting your days in a cube being overpaid? I guess writing about those days, and probably now underpaid, is better, and somehow a useful pursuit? Sounds like you made a great move. Quit dwelling on your mistakes, and move on.

Girl73

As an employee of State Farm, it's obvious Nesta has no idea what she's talking about. We're growing way beyond predictions, and working hard to be more customer friendly & driven. As always, with the customer in mind. State Farm is in no danger of going under. Quite the opposite.

Panga

Nesta: I am not burned out at all. I love what I do and my job. I have great co-workers and management. Perhaps it was you who was the problem.

WhatIsWriteInTheWorld

Panga - Just curious, have you been assigned to the new effort at State Farm?

12for10cents
12for10cents

Quote from article ""But “no one has put a pencil to the paper,” he added"

How SF is that?! Lets talk about work and look busy, but as usual nobody is actually doing any work.

110100100
110100100

Nesta clearly couldn’t hack it flipping burgers in the SF cafeteria, and now wants to mope and pout and project his/her own failure onto State Farm and its employees. Sad really. State Farm does a lot for its employees and the community, but you’ll always have the bitter jealous ones who want to drag everyone else down to their level.

Nesta

If you read my post, you would know that I quit on my own terms. My manager begged me to stay until the last day I was there because I was one of the very few competent employees my area. So sorry to make you all so mad. I know your job is stressful up there in the call center. Go answer those phones, your customers are waiting. The sad part is that you could probably make more money flipping burgers than what they are paying you in the call center. And dont even try to tell me you dont work as a call center rep. Nobody with any importance at SF would be responding to my post the way most of you are responding.

Sane In The Membrane

It seems unlikely that you were a competent employee, yet don't know the difference between gross and net profit. Look, I understand you're upset because you quit your job over a lack of understanding of basic accounting terminology, really I do. That must be very frustrating to find out. But now that you know the difference, you can stop spreading false information.

You said you were glad to be gone from State Farm and the town, yet you're back here on the Pantagraph, posting about State Farm. I think that shows the truth. It's Ok if you miss your old job. It's actually kind of touching.

Interested

So Nesta, if you don't mind me asking what did you do at the Farm and what is your new position?

110100100
110100100

Call center. That's funny.

110100100
110100100

I've never even seen the call center. I'm in systems, not quite making 6 figs, but close enough considering I've only been an internal for a few years. Again, you're projecting your own failings onto others. You want to convince everyone else they should be as bitter and morose as you. But just as you failed at SF, you've failed to drag the rest of the community down to your level.

Hopefully you have better success at cutting grass or running a cash register. Maybe that will bring you some joy.

Guy

And I worked in systems for 9 years, and your immature demeaning comment is why some people have a negative perception of SF employees...

Guy

Nesta,

If you didn't like working at SF, it if perfectly fine for you to feel that way. Maybe it just did fit for you. My wife worked there for two weeks and didn't like it...

But I worked there for almost 10 years (9 in systems) and I loved it. My mom has worked there for over 30 years. My youngest sister works there. It's a great place to work and most people love being there.

Unfortunately, I was a casualty of this restructuring they are doing now. I have landed a great job now, but I still loved my time while I was there...

ChubbyAlaskaGriz
ChubbyAlaskaGriz

Is referring to a job flipping burgers your idea of a low-ball insult? I work at SF these days, but was a chef for 25 years in my prior career. Both jobs were/are wonderfullly fulfilling/rewarding. Wish you could have chosen to make your point without demeaning others- especially those dedicated culinary workers that feed SF's 1000's. As everywhere- those who "feeds the troops" are amongst the most important workers within the walls of SF- or any place. Most folks know this.

tcubbies23

When I started with SF, I'd never heard of them...I was a teen. I'm happy to say I've been with them almost 35 years and change is constant...the situation we're experiencing and enduring now has occured dozens of times in the past. Otherwise, we'd still be wearing roller skates rolling from one division to another, or sewing the apps together with a REAL sewing machine, driving Model-T's to work, or unable to use 20** in the DD/MM/YYYY field, or adding extensive benefits for the health of the employees. We evolve and exceed other company's experiences. We're not going anywhere but up! One of the most compentent and smartest CEO's is leading us with his awesome vision. I would not ever want to work for another company. I look forward going to work everyday because I love my job, but most importantly, the people I work with. Granted, if your are not customer focused, it's not a good fit. Providing excellent customer service while continuously finding ways to save them money is our top priority!!! As far as the closings, SF works very hard at relocating people as there are so many opportunities! STATE FARM is a great and honorable Company and I'm very proud to be a part of their organization!

SoccerMom3

I couldn't agree with you more...very well said.

miskaffon

I walked the hallways and cubicles of State Farm with my father as a young child (in a different state- there are offices all over the country for those who aren't aware of that). He was responsible for starting up the machines if there was a power outage. I went in on some special days and sat with my mother as she worked at her State Farm job. I have worked other places by choice, many, and nothing compares to my experiences at SF, as a child and beyond. The sad thing is the comments of some on these comment sections by those who "claim" to know so much about the company, but are so very, very out in left field- completely clueless as to the real culture in the offices. It isn't all Corporate, either; I've never worked for Corporate in any way, shape or form! The closest I've been to a call center is a claim office in another state. I have worked for them out west and in the south, as well as the Great Lakes area. Change is constant; the company started out in a single, tiny leased building and the pace of the change has never slowed or sped up. It's remained, and is nothing new. Panic all you want, leave if you want (thanks for leaving behind great jobs, btw, for others to take), but in the end State Farm is having one of their better years and I don't believe for one second that they are in any sort of trouble financially.

Madoc

I guess my first response to Nesta was to harsh. So I will just say that "Nesta, you have NO idea what you are talking about" You are going on about people just being in the call center, well i think you say that because that is where you got fired from. Heck maybe even Eurest, are you the one that made my pancakes or omelets?

ChubbyAlaskaGriz
ChubbyAlaskaGriz

Some of the arrogant elitests placing derogatory posts about jobs they consider beneath them like burger flippers, call-center staffers, and cashiers/clerks ought to re-think their level of taste and tact, and stop demeaining others' job choices. If you cannot reach the next sequential step in your own career path without stepping on someone else then you're bound to not hold a higher position for long. Show some respect- and some appreciation.

110100100
110100100

You and “Guy” are right… and I’m eating crow. Once upon a time, I myself bagged groceries and flipped burgers. There’s absolutely nothing wrong with those occupations. Sorry for the immaturity, hypocrisy, and overall snotty attitude. No excuse.

ChubbyAlaskaGriz
ChubbyAlaskaGriz

Takes a big man- and without dwelling on it and sounding condescending, I respect what you said and acknowledge that I too have said things I later feel sorta silly for having said. Thanks for acknowledging. -kjo

Panga

As Sane in the Membrane pointed out Nesta, you need to learn the difference between gross and net profit.

No, I have not been assigned to the new effort at State Farm but have been through many changes in my own jobs here at State Farm over the last 22 years. I never once thought of leaving State Farm. I have total respect for State Farm and the Executives who make the decisions . I would hate to see what Bloomington/Normal would like if State Farm was not here.

MarquetteMan

I am a current employee at SF and its embarrasing to read some of your comments. People in this town already feel that SF employees have this attitude of entitlemet and most of you are not helping out. Lets get real here folks. Is SF going to fold, no. Is SF closing offices to help with the financial situation, yes. Is SF in a current effort to catch up with our competitors, yes. Its called CDE for those of you who have not heard of it. Why do you feel like you have to defend our company to a former employee? Working at SF is not for everyone and if someone decides to leave on their own terms so be it. You all act like if you don't work at SF then you are worthless. Great attitued to have. Many of my employees have left SF on their own terms for better opportunities. There are multiple career opportunities outside of SF so step outside of you boxes. Just because someone leaves the company does not mean they are worse off in life or a disgruntled former employee or that they got fired. In fact most leave due to a better opportunity for themselves or their families. Being educated and having a degree brings about multiple opportunities in life many of which are outside of SF. As someone in a manangement position I was saddend and embarrased to be a SF employee after reading these comments. Readers, please be advised that the commnets of some of these posters do not represent all SF employees.

Riggyman88

Interesting comments to say the least. I have no affiliation to State Farm and have never been employed by them. I have lived in the Central IL area my whole life. My overall opinion of State Farm is a good one. I know people who work there and most feel it is a great place to work. On top of that, State Farm does a heck of a lot for this community. From the janitor to the executives, all positions need to be filled for the place to run efficiently. Without State Farm, Bloomington-Normal would look quite different IMO.

ChubbyAlaskaGriz
ChubbyAlaskaGriz

I agree Rigg88... Y'know, B/N was here before SF- true- but B/N has benefitted TONS from SF, and over 90 years has been in part shaped by and has grown to have a certain dependency on that which the SF presence brings. The community would survive if SF were gone- but would be VERY different. Can you say "TUMBLEWEEDS"?

New Nana

I don't believe for one minute that they don't know how many they are going to lay-off...that's just BS. I at least hope you treat these people like human beings and give them some notice to find other jobs.

tcubbies23

They probably know how many people are effected, but it's probably not known how many people will transfer to other job opportunities, quit, or retire. It takes a while for that to be known. In the past, during similar instances, SF worked with each employee including training for other positions. They aren't like an auto plant, per say, and randomly release the least senior people no matter their skill level. Overall, the goal is to save money for the Policyholders and they each own a piece of SF, not stockbrokers!

Yabadaba123

@Nesta, you claim State Farm lost $11 billion in 2011 yet State Farm still remains the #1 insurer in the nation. They must be doing something right. I, too, have heard of CDE which is a major change that is going to benefit my department, our company and consumers as a whole.

I, a SF employee for 7 years, can vouch that State Farm is not in trouble but is making change to better suit today's consumers. I sell insurance for State Farm and have for over 6 years. I am not in an agents office and there are days I do feel under-paid but I love my manager and I love the people I work with. The benefits are amazing and over all, SF is a great place to work. I am so sick of people who bash State Farm because they either couldn't get hired on or they got fired. SF is not for everyone! Stop being so angry!

Yabadaba123

That should say 4.5 billion, not 11 billion.

Yabadaba123

Also, SF is very good at finding places within the company for employees who work at sites that were/are closed down. And, I don't believe the article says anything about lay-offs so apparently a lot of you people need to re-read the article and please, please, know what you're talking about before you comment.

OMG

When I worked there a number of years ago the systems (IT) area was really awful. Still to this day I say it had to be the worse place I had ever worked at. Maybe a year or longer after I left I got this strange phone call from some company paying for information as to why you left State Farm. This was being paid for by State Farm I was told and it was true. Seems they had a problem where people with 5 years or less they had a high turnover. Trust me the Pantagraph blog wouldn't be the place to air my complaints. Maybe they have cleaned up their act and doing a better job of treating employees. The ranking on glassdoor.com seem to be up from what it was. As for how I view State Farm services, over priced and they really don't offer much more than what I can get down the street so to speak. When I moved to another state and needed auto insurance so I got a SF quote and I ended up going with Country.

excuseme

The IT Department at SF is fine. Management is the problem. They make decisions in a vacumn and constantly make costly decisions without consulting the analysts who actually do the work. As long as Management continues to work in a vacumn, SF will continue to lose money on costly IT projects gone awry.

Hopeful1

It would be so cool if we all moved to Texas.

WhatIsWriteInTheWorld

I think it's great when you can honestly say you enjoy your job; unfortunately, not everyone can nor is it realistic to expect everyone to. On the other hand, I do concede that just because someone says they don't like their job doesn't mean that everyone feels that way either, but there tends to be silos in many companies where everyone might not be exposed to the same type of environment. As such, it can be detrimental to the company's bottom line to pretend like the negative feelings don't exist.

Although I don't work for State Farm, I have several people who are close to me that do and happen to either be involved in the new effort or have extensive knowledge of it. I have heard and even seen how it can be extremely stressful to the point of affecting health and well-being. When you really think about it, how can this new effort that has a direct impact on the future of the company not be stressful, especially when State Farm tends to be more reactive than proactive? A trait of a good company is one who is willing to address these issues, not only for employees who are currently feeling unreasonable stress, but for anyone who might not speak up or could feel this way in the future.

There's an interesting article on PsychologyToday.com that was published recently concerning mental health issues in the workplace:

http://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/wired-success/201209/the-silent-tsunami-mental-health-in-the-workplace

"Mental health issues are a silent tsunami in the workplace, one that could engulf organizations in myriad of productivity and profitability problems as well as legal liabilities unless mental health is addressed as seriously as are marketing, compensation and strategic plans. This article will address this critical issue as it exists in both the U.S. and Canada." ...

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