Transamerica plans layoffs, including 35 in Baltimore

Transamerica plans layoffs, including in Baltimore

The Baltimore-based Transamerica insurance company plans to close offices and lay off about 800 people, including 35 in Baltimore.

Transamerica announced that it will close offices in Los Angeles and Folsom, Calif., and in West Chester, Ohio, over the course of 2017, also eliminating positions in some other locations.

Transamerica, a unit of the Dutch company Aegon, employs about 10,000 people in the United States, and a little less than 400 in Baltimore, spokesman Greg Tucker said. The layoffs, designed to eliminate overlapping functions, are part of a broader reorganization that started several years ago, as the firm moved to bring different divisions under one name and integrate operations.

About a third of workers affected by the office closures are likely to be offered the option of relocating or working from home,Tucker said. The layoffs are expected to start in February.

"These are not easy decisions, and we are keenly aware of the impact these actions will have on our employees and their families," he said in a statement. "For this reason, we will be offering separation benefits for eligible employees, including outplacement services."

Tucker said the cuts "are not related to Transamerica's financial strength." But the firm, like others in the insurance industry, has been under pressure amid persistently low interest rates. The industry also has shifted as employers step back from their role in retirement savings and people do more financial planning online. Transamerica told investors in a presentation earlier this year that it was aiming to reduce expenses by $150 million by 2018.

Cedar Rapids, Iowa, is home to Transamerica's biggest U.S. office, Tucker said. But in 2010, the company announced that its CEO would relocate from Iowa to Baltimore, where the firm at the time employed about 700 people. The firm's name was attached to the 100 Light Street tower in 2011.

nsherman@baltsun.com

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