The Hartford expects to cut several hundred jobs in its property-casualty claims operations this year — including about 50 in Connecticut — through outsourcing and consolidation of office space to cut costs and be more efficient, the company confirmed Thursday.
The Hartford Financial Services Group is also likely to outsource an undisclosed number of jobs in other parts of the company.
The proposed outsourcing in property-casualty claims would send the work of about 9 percent of that operation's 4,600 employees to "offshore resources," according to an internal company document obtained by The Courant. That could mean more than 400 jobs eliminated companywide.
The document also projects $15 million in expense savings from outsourcing, encouraging more employees to work at home, and reducing real estate leasing costs.
Company spokeswoman Shannon Lapierre cautioned that The Hartford has yet to make many final decisions and may not reach the projections for job cuts and savings projected in the document. Also, the company may find other ways to attain savings.
The claims project is "part of the company's overall effectiveness and efficiency program where we've been looking for ways to improve our competitiveness in the marketplace" without sacrificing service, Lapierre said.
The Hartford, stressed by investment losses and other issues, laid off about 200 employees this year across its Hartford-region operations by late May on top of 125 late in 2008. More layoffs are coming, but The Hartford, which has roughly 12,300 employees here, isn't giving total numbers.
So far this year, 50 people have been laid off companywide in the claims unit, only seven of them due to outsourcing, Lapierre said. Three of the 50 were laid off in Connecticut when The Hartford moved some claims employees from Shelton to Farmington offices and had others work from home. Other operations of The Hartford remain in Shelton.
However, the company plans to vacate one of two buildings it leases in Southington — 100 Executive Drive — next spring. The employees will move to the company's offices in Hartford, Farmington and 400 Executive Drive in Southington, Lapierre said.
During the rest of this year, she said, claims operations expect to eliminate another 230 to 250 jobs nationally, including about 45 in Connecticut, through outsourcing and office consolidation.
About 1,000 of 4,600 claims workers nationwide are in Connecticut.
The vendor for the claims unit outsourcing is New York-based ExlService Holdings Inc., which uses labor in India, Philippines and the U.S.
The Hartford is getting a significant part of its office space-related savings by increasing the number of employees who work remotely, typically from home. The company expects by the end of this month more than 140 Connecticut claims employees will work remotely.
Companywide, 1,150 claims employees worked at home at the end of May, and the total is expected to rise to about 1,500 by year-end.
The jobs being outsourced are behind-the-scenes positions and not employees who deal directly with customers, Lapierre said.