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Allstate's Greedy Bean Counters Run Amok

Unread postPosted: Tue Mar 29, 2011 11:37 am
by RatPak11
*These shortsighted, arrogant, self-entitled C.E.O.'s and company leaders care about nothing but the instant gratification of the bottom line.
They juggle the companies figures, attempting to impress Wall Street investors and shareholders.
They strive to improve and justify their own obscene paychecks along with their huge benefits by firing employees and closing offices to save on 'expenses'. They withold hard earned raises from employees while reducing their benefits.
There is no vision for the future or planning for the long term commitment to their customers except to raise their rates while decreasing the coverages on their policies.
What happened to the production and marketing of a great product which included outstanding customer service?
They obviously don't care about customer service for their insurds, the claimants, or their responsibility to their own employees and their families.

RatPak11 ... 183677.htm

Allstate Closes Albuquerque Claim Office
March 28, 2011

The New Mexico Public Regulation Commission’s Division of Insurance is alerting consumers that Allstate Insurance Co. has closed its market claim office in Albuquerque.

Citing technology improvements, declining claim counts and an expiring lease on the Albuquerque facility, Allstate officials said their decision will affect all 40 of the Albuquerque market claim office’s exempt and non-exempt employees. The decision, however, will not adversely impact Allstate’s outside auto or property adjusters located elsewhere in the state, the company said.

“Additionally, to ensure that Allstate remains in a position to serve the customers and agency owners in the New Mexico market, Allstate’s 12 drive-in facilities in the area and the Las Cruces Express Office (which employs more than 200 people) will remain open along with our state sales office,” Allstate’s Regional Counsel Noel Cole Young wrote to New Mexico Superintendent of Insurance John Franchini. “… Allstate understands that this news may be unsettling, but we are absolutely committed to serving all customers and agencies within the New Mexico Market.”

According to Allstate officials, all eligible affected employees will have the opportunity to post for other available positions within the company. Those who choose not to stay will be offered a severance package and outplacement services.

New Mexico Allstate customer or agencies with questions regarding the pending closure of the Albuquerque market claim office should contact their Allstate agent or an Allstate branch office.


mac99cam says:
Mayhem strikes again.

Exadjuster says:
In the future, all claims related calls will be directed to a call center in Bangalore!

What Happens When Bean Counters Run A Large Corporation?

Unread postPosted: Thu Jul 21, 2011 3:28 pm
by RatPak11 ... -employees

Allstate cuts 150 IT employees

By: Lorene Yue July 29, 2011

(Crain's) — Allstate Corp., which has been struggling to revive its auto insurance business, has eliminated about 150 technology jobs.

The Northbrook-based insurance giant trimmed the jobs from six states. The news was first reported Friday on the Chicago Tribune's website.

"Allstate regularly reviews its operations and expenses to better meet the needs of our customers," Allstate said in a statement. "When we find the need to improve in these areas, we have to make difficult decisions."

An Allstate spokesman declined to comment on whether more jobs cuts were to come in other departments.

"The company will continue to monitor operations and expenses and take actions as needed," Allstate said in the statement.

The company has under pressure recently as its financial performance has fallen since Thomas Wilson became its chief executive officer three years ago. Operating returns during his tenure are below the 14% average Allstate was seeing for the past decade. While Allstate stuck to old traditional ways, its rivals turned to newer business models to drive revenue.

(Read Crain's premium content: Allstate misses the turn as rivals reinvent auto insurance.)

Shareholders have not been pleased as nearly 1 in 3 voted against re-electing Mr. Wilson as board chairman.

In mid-July, of Allstate Protection President Joseph Lacher, who ran the company's core auto and homeowners insurance unit, stunned investors by abruptly resigning.

Re: This Is What Happens When Bean Counters Run A Corporatio

Unread postPosted: Wed Nov 02, 2011 7:59 pm
by RatPak11
*Leaders With Vision Will Not Sleep Until They've Made The World A Better Place.
Leaders Who Are Bean Counters Will Not Sleep Until The Debits Equal The Credits.

Read Allstate CEO Tom Wilson's quarterly report. He's a true 'bean counter' if there ever was one. Nothing about making a better product. Nothing about rebuilding (yes, rebuilding) a better company. Nothing about investment into its employees. No vison for the future.
Tom Wilson in his quarterly report, mentions that policies in force have declined. Rather than spinning numbers, he will need to regain the trust of the customers as well as the employees before this downward spiral can be turned around.
Although bean counters are absolutely necessary to run a company, one has to ask: Is Tom the right leader for Allstate?

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12 Insurers Report Q3 Results
See how Aetna, Allstate, Humana, Marsh & McLennan, XL Group and seven others fared this tumultuous quarter financially.

(*Here is the Allstate excerpt from the article. To see the complete report, click onto the URL address above.)
Insurance Networking Ratings Corner, November 2, 2011
Justin Stephani

A number of insurers have released financial results for Q3 2011. The following is a compilation of their announcements:
“Maintaining auto insurance profitability and proactively managing our investment portfolio enabled us to overcome an increase of $691 million in catastrophe losses from the third quarter of 2010 and still earn a profit,” said Thomas J. Wilson, chairman, president and CEO of The Allstate Corporation.

“Allstate Financial’s results were solid and investment results were also strong in the quarter. Allstate Financial’s operating income increased 24.1 percent from the prior year third quarter to $134 million in the third quarter of 2011 reflecting improved margins and lower expenses. These improvements were partially offset by the managed reduction in the size of the fixed annuity business. Proactive risk and return strategies enabled us to maintain the portfolio yield, realize net capital gains and increase the absolute level of fixed income unrealized gains in the quarter.

“We completed the $1 billion share repurchase program in the third quarter, and the acquisition of Esurance and Answer Financial in early October,” Wilson concluded.

Allstate’s Property-Liability combined ratio for the third quarter of 2011 was 104.8, reflecting the previously reported catastrophe losses of $1.1 billion, or 16.7 points. Excluding catastrophe losses and prior year reserve reestimates, the Property-Liability underlying combined ratio was 89.2 during the third quarter of 2011, consistent with the third quarter of 2010.

Total Allstate brand policies in force declined as of Sept. 30, 2011 compared to the prior year, driven by standard auto and homeowners declines, but were partly offset by growth in the Emerging Business lines and Canada. Allstate brand standard auto premiums written declined by 0.8 percent from the prior year third quarter as increased average premiums were offset by lower policies in force.


*Here is Allstate's 'Vision' taken from their web page:

Our Shared Vision

This document expresses our shared vision. It is who we are, what we expect from each other and the essence of our brand.

Our Purpose

We are the Good Hands: We help people realize their hopes and dreams through products and services designed to protect them from life's uncertainties and to prepare them for the future.

Our Strategic Vision

To reinvent protection and retirement for the consumer.

Our Values

Honesty, caring and integrity
Inclusive diversity
Superior performance

Our Corporate Goal

We will grow the value of our company for our customers, our associates, our shareholders, our communities and society.

Our Principles

Put the customer at the center of all of our work and provide the products and services they need in ways they want them.
Take an enterprise view of our people and processes and work as a single team to advance Allstate rather than our individual interests.
Provide superior returns to shareholders by growing and leveraging risk and return trade-offs.
Focus relentlessly on those few things that will provide the greatest impact.
Execute well considered decisions with precision and speed.
Hire carefully, develop and inspire aggressively, manage respectfully, empower, reward and celebrate appropriately.
Be a learning organization.

Our Operating Priorities

Consumer focus
Operational excellence
Enterprise risk and return
Capital management

*The leaders at Allstate need to periodically reintroduce themselves to their 'vision' to make sure they are on track to fulfill the idea. I believe there is no question that the stated vision for 'Values' and 'principles' are altogether lost on this company.
Also, reports have noted much controversy where the leaders at Allstate are undermining the working relationship and the morale of the employees of this once great company. This is most definitely a negative reflection on that 'vision.'


Re: This Is What Happens When Bean Counters Run A Corporatio

Unread postPosted: Mon Feb 13, 2012 11:32 pm
by RatPak11 ... 222666.htm

S&P Lowers Outlook on Allstate and Subs to Negative; Affirms Ratings
November 3, 2011

Standard & Poor’s Ratings Services has revised its outlook on Allstate Corp., Allstate Insurance Co. (AIC), and its core property-liability insurance companies (collectively, Allstate Protection), as well as the life insurance companies, deemed strategically important to the group (collectively, Allstate Financial) to negative from stable.

S&P has also affirmed its 'A-' couterparty credit, 'A-2' commercial paper, and 'BBB' junior subordinated debt ratings on Allstate, as well as its 'AA-' counterparty credit and financial strength ratings on Allstate Protection; and its 'A+' counterparty credit and insurance financial strength ratings on Allstate Financial.

The negative outlook “reflects a deterioration in enterprise capital adequacy resulting from a combination of sizable catastrophe losses, the acquisition of Esurance (not rated) and Answer Financial (not rated), and a continued aggressive share-repurchase and dividend strategy,” S&P explained.

Credit analyst Timothy C. Connor added: “We believe capital adequacy is deficient at the rating level and, in our view, is a rating weakness. S&P said the outlook revision also stems from its “uncertainty in how continued catastrophe-risk reduction efforts in Allstate’s homeowners business will affect its personal auto business and overall competitive position.”

S&P added that “although it is likely that Allstate’s strong underlying earnings power from the group could contribute to rebuilding the capital base by year-end 2012, we believe several factors will pressure the company to organically restore capital and return capital adequacy to levels consistent with the rating. These include a combination of the potential decline in top-line growth, uncertainty of catastrophe losses, lower investment income, and competitive pressure at Allstate Financial.”

S&P indicated that the present ratings on Allstate “reflect its very strong and diversified national market presence in the U.S. as the second-largest domestic personal lines insurance company and 17th-largest life insurance company.

“Furthermore, the rating incorporates our expectation that Allstate will continue to sustain its competitive position while pursuing its catastrophe management reduction efforts. We believe that these efforts have not only hampered growth and reduced cross-selling opportunities but could also predispose Allstate to reputation risk.”

The rating agency noted, however, that it “could lower the ratings by one notch if Allstate does not meet our expectations, or there are developments that further dampen operating results, capital adequacy, or its competitive position. We would likely not lower the ratings if Allstate demonstrates in the next 12-18 months that it is able to improve and sustain its operating performance better than peers and with lower volatility than experienced in the last two years, organically replenish capital, and maintain its competitive position in its chosen businesses.”

Source: Standard & Poor’s


Agent says:
To much Mayhem……..

November 3, 2011 at 1:45 pm John says:
They’re killing the agents one at a time. Making insurance agents become financial planners is like having a mechanic due brain surgery.

November 4, 2011 at 4:16 pm hinderance says:
Way to try to sound smart and then use “due” incorrectly.

November 7, 2011 at 6:10 pm GoIndependent says:
No need to be snarky.

November 3, 2011 at 1:46 pm Agent says:
As a former agent….the only way to fix this company is to get rid of managment. The have no clue that it is the agency force that has built this company….NOT THEM!. The managers are certainly not smarter than a 5th Grader.

November 3, 2011 at 2:30 pm Al Davis says:
Don’t count on Allstate to make any smart moves. Everything the current management has introduced in the last 8 years has been a failure. They have made one mistake after another. Need new CEO with some vision.

Agent says:
With all they have going on, particularly with the anti agent movement and subsequent formation of a union to deal with the agents, they may be downgraded on the financial rating in the near future. The Good Hands people may not be so good after all. My guess is the Independents will have easier pickings on their book as their customers flee from rising prices on renewals and lack of decent service.

November 3, 2011 at 3:04 pm Current Agent says:
What rating agencies and financial analysts cannot gauge is the profound depth of agent discontent and the hundreds of active agents that are being terminated or that are voluntarily quitting because of Allstate’s lack of vision and total absence of sales and agency experience of the leadership team. If these details come out, Allstate would sink further.

November 3, 2011 at 3:49 pm Current Agent says:
What S&P, other rating firms and financial analysts do NOT know and are not privy to, is the profound, widespread agent discontent and teh 100's of profitable agencies that are being terminated and the 100's of other current agents that are quitting voluntarily in disgust and how this is starting to damage Allstate’s ability to grow the business and to keep what they have.
If these facts are made public, Allstate will sink even lower.

November 3, 2011 at 10:08 pm Craig Bingham says:
Current Agent says The morale of Agents is as low as it can get.
What is the job of the board of directors, i know
they get paid but thier not doing anything visable.
the current leadership mis-represents the truth.

November 4, 2011 at 3:56 pm Action says:
The current management is clueless. The Agent morale is terrible along with most of the employees I speak with, I am a current 15 year Agent. Tom Wilson and his management team have been a total failure, and currently the company is losing about 33,000 policies per month. How much longer will the BOD sit on their hands and do nothing?

November 4, 2011 at 4:53 pm Allstate Agent says:
S&P has only just begun what will turn out to be a continuous series of downgrades. The current Allstate management team has implemented policies and programs that have created an exceptional level of discord in their agency force and employees. Morale is at an all time low. These ill conceived policies at Allstate are forcing literally thousands of long-term, profitable agents to leave the company. At last count, some 3,700 agents countrywide have been forced to sell their agencies back to Allstate or an “approved” buyer. Under the current management team both morale and market share will continue to deteriorate for the forseeable future.

November 4, 2011 at 6:29 pm stan dwight says:
The majority of the Agents are unhappy. Most of their staff is unhappy. Most of the customers (ones with rate increases every six months without end) are unhappy. The claims reps are very unhappy, even more so than the Agents and their staff.
So why is Tom Wilson still with this company?

November 4, 2011 at 7:45 pm Jon Bonjovi says:
***Only Shareholders Can Save Allstate’s P&C Business***
I too am very close to an agency owner and have learned of the many changes occurring to tenured and once loyal Allstate agents through him. Simply put,
Allstate is in the process of shooting 30-40% of its own sales force. Likely 1/3 or more of the smaller to mid-sized agencies targeted for dislocation have
already been displaced-the remaining 2/3rds will be forced out in 2012. Internal channel, (i.e. 1-800 Allstate) are reporting customer defection and alarming rates because their local agent has “disappeared”. These are agents/agency owners who make money for the company, most of whom are the represented Allstate faces in their communities and have been for years. Most of whom have years and even generations of customer relationships that will simply not be rebuilt or maintained through this “rightsizing” effort to get agents to larger scale. And its shocking that the rightsizing is occurring at break-neck speed.

Its fairly apparent that this is a cost-cutting and margin-squeezing exercise; they can’t improve profitability internally, so they aim to squeeze it from the agency force. However, has any company ever succeeded by reducing and treating its sale channel this way? Even the chosen winners, the larger agencies that will be thrown the remaining pieces of the destroyed smaller agencies, are sickened I’m told by the these ruthless tactics that are ruining many of their fellow agent’s, friends, and associate’s financial lives.

Note to Influential Shareholders: If you believe this is the way to run a company, maintain your bet on Tom Wilson and this strategy to be successful. If not, you better act fast or, per the agents I talk, there will be so much damage, the P&C agency force will be decimated.

November 4, 2011 at 7:51 pm Jon Bonjovi says:
***Only the Shareholder’s Can Save Allstate’s P&C Business***

This is the only message that TW and the BoD will heed. They are shooting 30 to 40% of their sales force over the next 12 months, and expect to come out this ahead of the game? Even the remaining larger agents who will be thrown the left over scraps of those forced out are disgusted that their leadership could be so bold and shortsighted. As said in earlier comments…morale is at an
all time low.

Institutional Shareholders: Act fast or prepare for the fallout.

Such ineptitude…

November 7, 2011 at 9:38 am John the Laid Off says:
When I left Allstate, morale was low. They had an internal “focus on the cusomter” campaign, but none of us believed they really cared about the customer. We took it only as an order from Tom Wilson, CEO: Make Me More Money. He laid off 1000 of us, then took a $7 million Bonus for himself. I think that tells you everything you need to know about the man’s priorities, how he thinks, and what directions are possible for the company.

November 7, 2011 at 9:48 am Former Employee says:
Tom Wilson’s approach is pretty typical of the mature yuppie: Gut the place, leverage everything to the extreme, then take all you can for yourself.

November 7, 2011 at 11:09 am Sarah says:
Allstate is like long lost twin of Nationwide. Allstate needs to enact some of the same marketing efforts of Nationwide. Nationwide has entered the small commercial market with its purchase of Allied and since moved toward the larger commercial accounts with its purchase of Harleysville (which it needs to revamp) Allstate needs to either stay in the cookie cutter personal lines market and compete with the likes of Farmers, State Farm, Geico, Progressive or try to diferentiate itself and move towards a broader scope and toward the true independent agent sales force. Unlike its prior attempts which handcuffed their captive agents but yet treated them like strangers and then slapped all agents in the face with their purchase of Essurance, what a telling sign of where they were headed with that move. Allstate is in dire need to get its future business plan in place and clear to all concerned or face more downgrades and poor morale in their workforce and agency plant.

November 8, 2011 at 11:04 am Long Gone from TC says:
The current sr. management has no clue how to run a P&C company. Slash and burn doesn’t work, as they have found out

November 8, 2011 at 1:57 pm Fla agent says:
Will someone tell me the loss ratio of Allstate on policies written thru the web site, and compare this to the loss ratio of buiness written thru the local agents. Why is Esurance not a rated company and what is the loss ratio for this company? I’ll bet the agent written business is the most profitable and that’s the business that is being sent down the road. I’ve seen this before
and it never ends well.

November 9, 2011 at 8:58 am jtownagent says:
To my knmowledge esurance is not an insurance company, but a marketing firm (online portal) where clients can obtain quotes online. One of the problems with onlines shoppers is that they are shopping for low price. One of the ways to obtain low price is to purchase low (minimum)coverage. A problem in pricing for low coverage polciies is that most losses are partial in nature and do not exceed the limits of the policy. In general when people discuss their needs with professional agents they have a discussion, and learn that low limits are not appropriate. They then purchase increased limits of coverage at a greater premium. Since the number of partial losses “stays the same” the loss ratios tend to be better for those policies that are issued with more coverage, or increased limits.

November 9, 2011 at 9:36 am rst286 says:
There is a lot being said about Allstate’s agencies in this form, what is not said or known is that what Allstate is considering its saving grace the Call Centers are just as bad. As a former call center employee and somone still very close to agents in the call center, the moral is just as low there as with the agency force. There is no clear plan of growth and upper management has no clue how to sale or position insurance products. Beyond that the same disconnect between local agents and upper managament exist between upper managament and the call center. Point is if you are closing your local agents for unjust causes and then driving the business to a call center where morale is just as low and you running just as poorly, then how as a company can you expect to remain profitable?

November 10, 2011 at 12:20 pm DeathofaSalesMan says:
“…Allstate will continue to sustain its competitive position while pursuing its catastrophe management reduction efforts. We believe that these efforts have not only hampered growth and reduced cross-selling opportunities but could also predispose Allstate to reputation risk.” – This spells the end of the Allstate Insurance Company on the East Coast. It is VERY true. Look at Long Island, Florida and the mid-atlantic states of SC, NC, VA and MD. Allstate has damaged NOT only its agents ability to grow but also the company’s reputation. To say nothing of the clients its has broken its promise to.

Re: This Is What Happens When Bean Counters Run A Corporatio

Unread postPosted: Fri Nov 09, 2012 12:47 pm
by RatPak11 ... 4-workers/

Allstate Insurance closing Cross Plains facility, affecting 214 workers
Thursday, October 18, 2012 11:05 a.m. CDT

CROSS PLAINS, WI (WTAQ) - Allstate Insurance will shut down an auto claims center at the end of the year in Cross Plains, west of Madison in Dane County.

The move affects 214 employees. But the company is adding 110 jobs elsewhere around the country, and Allstate says the Cross Plains workers can apply for them – and relocation assistance can be obtained.

Allstate has a total of nine claim centers, and the Dane County office is the only one that’s closing.

Former Governor Jim Doyle announced the creation of the Allstate facility in 2007. At the time, he said the insurer was eligible for $750,000 in state tax credits for locating in an Enterprise Development Zone.

But a state economic development spokesman told Madison’s WKOW-TV that the firm never applied for tax breaks. The aid is tied to the creation of new jobs – and keeping them in place for a certain length of time.

Re: This Is What Happens When Bean Counters Run A Corporatio

Unread postPosted: Thu Nov 29, 2012 5:13 pm
by RatPak11 ... nding.html

Allstate CEO Wilson Says U.S. Should Raise Revenue, Cut Spending
By Zachary Tracer & Susanna Pak - Nov 28, 2012 12:57 PM PT .

Tom Wilson, chief executive officer of Allstate Corp. (ALL), told CNN that U.S. lawmakers should pursue tax increases and spending cuts to resolve the so-called fiscal cliff.

“It needs to be fixed because it’s good for the economy and our businesses,” Wilson said today in an interview on the news channel. “If it’s not fixed, the people that are going to get hurt the worst are the poor and the elderly.”

Allstate, based in Northbrook, Illinois, is the largest publicly traded U.S. home and auto insurer.

To contact the reporters on this story: Zachary Tracer in New York at; Susanna Pak in New York at

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Dan Kraut at


Somerset Sam
It is not an Insurance Company where CEO's RAISE their own pay and CUT spending by "laying off employees" and by "outsourcing" jobs. Insurance industry is NOT Federally regulated or backed by FED like Banks (FDIC) in the event of a Financial pay the claims in Natural disasters. It is often Customers who bear the brunt of claims by increased premiums and surcharges..!!

Re: This Is What Happens When Bean Counters Run A Corporatio

Unread postPosted: Tue Apr 09, 2013 10:48 am
by RatPak11 ... -facility/

Allstate to lay off workers at Roanoke administrative facility
By IFAwebnews Staff
Posted: April 8, 2013

Allstate reportedly will lay off a number of employees at its Roanoke, Va.-area facility. That office employs about 900 people.

Allstate spokesman Adam Polak told a Roanoke Times reporter recently that “a small number of employees in Roanoke’s operations area received notice…” He added that those affected would be allowed to apply for other positions within the company.

The Northbrook, Ill.-based company’s Roanoke office houses employees serving a number of roles, including back office policy processing support, as well as technical help desk support for employees and agents, according to Polak.

Allstate reported an income of $2.31 billion for the year ended Dec. 31, an increase of more than $1.5 billion over the previous 12-month period, when it posted a net income of $787 million.

A report from Allstate in February stated that it “had a good finish to a strong year despite the costs incurred in the fourth quarter related to Superstorm Sandy.”
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Allstate lays off more employees in Roanoke County
The insurance company is one of Roanoke County's largest employers.
byJeff Sturgeon | 981-3251Thursday, June 27, 2013

Allstate Corp. has confirmed for the third time in about three months that layoffs have occurred at its 900-employee Roanoke County office complex.

Company spokesman Adam Polak said Thursday that "some" employees were notified this week they were being terminated. He did not say how many and declined to give numbers when he confirmed layoffs in late May and April.

"Allstate continuously reviews its business operations, aiming to increase efficiency and effectiveness," Polak said by email.

The insurance company, whose offices are on Electric Road, is one of Roanoke County's largest employers

Re: This Is What Happens When Bean Counters Run A Corporatio

Unread postPosted: Mon May 06, 2013 11:07 am
by RatPak11 ... o-cut-jobs

Allstate moves to cut jobs
By Steve Daniels
May 02, 2013

Allstate Corp. is getting more aggressive about cost-cutting and reducing headcount, even as its fortunes and stock price improve.

The Northbrook-based insurance giant took a $26 million charge against earnings in the first quarter to cover the costs of reducing staff, primarily in its technology functions, the company disclosed today in a Securities and Exchange Commission filing.

“Restructuring and related charges in the first quarter of 2013 primarily related to the technology organization, which is fundamentally changing its organizational structure leveraging centralization, global sourcing, automation and changes to oversight to meet contemporary business needs,” Allstate said.

A spokesman didn't respond immediately to a request for comment on how many people will be affected and how many of them will be in the Chicago area.

Last year at this time, Allstate recorded a $6 million charge to cover cost-cutting initiatives.

The number of employees at Allstate has risen steadily since the worst of the recession in 2009, when Allstate reduced its headcount by 2,000 to about 36,000 full-time employees. In 2012, the company employed about 38,000 full time.

Allstate CEO Tom Wilson has made reducing the company's expenses one of his five stated priorities for 2013.

“In general, we're looking at just about everything we have to try to reduce costs,” Mr. Wilson said today on a conference call with analysts to discuss Allstate's first-quarter earnings.

Allstate's stock was down 20 cents per share, or 0.4 percent, to $48.20 in midday trading. For the year, the stock has climbed nearly 20 percent, mainly on improving returns in Allstate's homeowners insurance business after several years of significant rate hikes.

Re: This Is What Happens When Bean Counters Run A Corporatio

Unread postPosted: Mon May 06, 2013 11:11 am
by RatPak11 ... 2094.story

Allstate outlines further cost-cutting plans
By Becky Yerak
Tribune reporter
10:35 a.m. CDT, May 2, 2013

Allstate Corp., trying to reduce its expenses, took a $26 million charge against its profits in the first quarter mostly due to the Northbrook-based home and auto insurer restructuring its technology operations.

In the 2012 period, Allstate took a $6 million restructuring charge for such moves as laying off workers and closing offices.

In a filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission, Allstate said that its technology restructuring included "changing its organizational structure" as well as "global sourcing" and automation.

"We are studying ways to reduce our cost structure, including the cost of operations, such as total compensation, technology costs, facility expense and improving efficiency and effectiveness," Allstate said in its SEC filing.

A spokeswoman declined to elaborate Thursday morning as the company held an earnings call with analysts.

The company released first quarter earnings on Wednesday after the market closed. In early Thursday trading, its stock was up only slightly but lagging the overall market even as its profits exceeded expectations.

Earlier this year, Allstate said that it was adding a fifth operating priority: reducing expenses.

"We got ahead on technology spend, and I would expect that to come down a little bit as we move through the year," Allstate Chief Executive Tom Wilson told analysts on Thursday. But "we're looking at just about everything we have to try to reduce costs."

Allstate, which in recent years has seen its agency force shrink, also told analysts that those ranks are beginning to stabilize. According to its SEC filing, in 2013, Allstate exclusive agent compensation includes a base commission, a variable commission and a bonus. "Commissions are trending slightly above the prior year, which had only a base commission," the company said in its filing. | Twitter: @beckyyerak

Re: This Is What Happens When Bean Counters Run A Corporatio

Unread postPosted: Fri May 31, 2013 2:49 pm
by RatPak11 ... anoke.html

Allstate confirms layoffs in Roanoke
byJeff Sturgeon | 981-3251Thursday, May 30, 2013

Allstate Corp. has confirmed that unspecified job fluctuations have recently affected its Roanoke County office, one of the region’s largest private employers with about 900 workers.

Adam Polak, a spokesman for the Northbrook, Ill., insurer, said by email that the policy administration department has eliminated “some positions,” while the company has created “other positions” for which affected employees can apply if qualified.

“We understand this will not be easy for our employees,” Polak said. “We will ensure that all of our employees affected by this announcement are treated with respect.”

Polak did not reply to a request for the net change in employment. He confirmed in April that a small number of jobs were eliminated at the Roanoke County office at that time as well.

Re: This Is What Happens When Bean Counters Run A Corporatio

Unread postPosted: Tue Jun 18, 2013 1:23 pm
by RatPak11 ... id=9138242

Allstate Insurance to close Woodridge call center

June 13, 2013 (CHICAGO) (WLS) -- Hundreds of employees at Allstate Insurance will be laid off when the company closes a call center in Woodbridge.

"Allstate regularly reviews the way we do business to ensure that we are operating as effectively and efficiently as possible while maintaining outstanding levels of customer and agency support. Recent changes have resulted in lower call volumes to our call centers, so the difficult decision was made to close the Woodridge Call Center effective August 11, 2013," Allstate said through a statement to ABC 7 Chicago.

Several Allstate call center employees told ABC7 they received notifications on Thursday- and were told to expect severance packages.
byJeff Sturgeon | 981-3251Friday, July 5, 2013

Job cuts at Allstate Corp. in Roanoke County are due in part to the company shifting work to foreign countries, a company spokesman said.

“A couple of positions from Roanoke have been relocated to our overseas sites,” Allstate spokesman Adam Polak said in the wake of three limited layoffs in recent months at the company’s office on Electric Road.

The Electric Road Allstate facility, a 147,177-square-foot office complex, employed more than 900 people in April, he said.

It handles various back office functions including policy processing support and technical support for employees and agents, Polak has said.

Polak has declined to say how many employees lost jobs there in layoffs that he previously confirmed in late June, late May and early April, except to signal that the number was small. He did not respond to requests for information about the overseas sites.

Job elimination may be part of an announced company strategy to trim expenses, increase efficiency and better meet customer needs. One area receiving significant change is the technology function, which is undergoing “centralization, global sourcing, automation” and other changes, according to a quarterly financial report filed May 1.
-------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- ... 6927.story

Allstate to lay off 348 in Woodridge
By Becky Yerak
Tribune reporter
3:47 p.m. CDT, July 2, 2013

Allstate Corp. will lay off 348 workers in Woodridge, one of several companies reporting planned job cuts in Illinois last month totaling more than 1,300.

The Northbrook-based home and auto insurer has said reducing expenses this year is one of its top priorities.

According to a report by the Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity released Tuesday, Allstate said a restructuring in Woodridge will leave 348 jobless on Aug. 11. Allstate also divulged that it's cutting more than 30 jobs at its headquarters.

Allstate explained that more of its calls from consumers are being forwarded directly to its agencies.

"This has resulted in lower call volumes to our call centers, so the difficult decision was made to close the Woodridge call center," said Allstate spokesman Chris Bauer. "Allstate regularly reviews the way we do business to ensure that we are operating as effectively and efficiently as possible while maintaining outstanding levels of customer and agency support."

Others informing the state of layoffs include:

-- Federal Mogul Corp., 146 jobs in Chicago

-- Crownline Boats, a temporary layoff of 197 jobs in West Frankfort due to poor sales

-- G&D Integrated, 71 jobs in Bartonville due to a lost contract

-- Jacobson Staffing Co., which is also cutting 298 jobs in East Moline due to a lost contract

-- Filtration Group, 89 jobs in Joliet

-- Testor Corp., two additional jobs in Rockford

-- Olin Corp., 160 additional jobs in East Alton

-- Abbvie Inc., 29 additional layoffs in North Chicago.

The Illinois Worker Adjustment and Retraining Notification, or WARN, Act requires employers to provide 60 days notice of pending plant closures or mass layoffs. | Twitter: @beckyyerak

------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- ... inois.html

Allstate to Cut 379 Jobs, Close Call Center in Illinois
By Kathleen Chaykowski
- Jul 2, 2013 2:54 PM PT .

Allstate Corp. (ALL), the largest publicly traded U.S. home and auto insurer, said it will cut about 379 employees next month, or about 1 percent of its workforce, by closing a call center in Woodridge, Illinois.

The call center will close on Aug. 11, Chris Bauer, a spokesman for Northbrook, Illinois-based Allstate, said today in an e-mailed statement. The Chicago Tribune reported Allstate’s plans earlier today.

“More of our calls are now being sent directly to our agencies,” Bauer said. “This has resulted in lower call volumes to our call centers, so the difficult decision was made.”

Allstate had about 38,000 full-time employees at year-end, according to a filing. It is among insurers including Axa SA and Sun Life Financial Inc. that have sought to sell life and annuities assets as low interest rates pressure returns.

The Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity said in a report today that Allstate notified the state in June that it will cut 348 jobs in Woodridge next month and 31 in Northbrook.

To contact the reporter on this story: Kathleen Chaykowski in San Francisco at

Re: This Is What Happens When Bean Counters Run A Corporatio

Unread postPosted: Sat Jul 06, 2013 10:34 am
by RatPak11 ... oving.html

Jobs cut at Allstate in Roanoke Co. moving overseas
Local cuts are related to the shift outside the U.S.
byJeff Sturgeon | 981-3251Friday, July 5, 2013

Job cuts at Allstate Corp. in Roanoke County are due in part to the company shifting work to foreign countries, a company spokesman said.

“A couple of positions from Roanoke have been relocated to our overseas sites,” Allstate spokesman Adam Polak said in the wake of three limited layoffs in recent months at the company’s office on Electric Road.

The Electric Road Allstate facility, a 147,177-square-foot office complex, employed more than 900 people in April, he said.

It handles various back office functions including policy processing support and technical support for employees and agents, Polak has said.

Polak has declined to say how many employees lost jobs there in layoffs that he previously confirmed in late June, late May and early April, except to signal that the number was small. He did not respond to requests for information about the overseas sites.

Job elimination may be part of an announced company strategy to trim expenses, increase efficiency and better meet customer needs. One area receiving significant change is the technology function, which is undergoing “centralization, global sourcing, automation” and other changes, according to a quarterly financial report filed May 1.

In December, Allstate announced the opening of a new office in Bangalore, India, to provide technology support and services to the company. Allstate also has 15-year-old operations in Northern Ireland, according to its website.

Re: This Is What Happens When Bean Counters Run A Corporatio

Unread postPosted: Tue Jul 16, 2013 9:51 am
by RatPak11
Allstate to trim retirement, insurance benefits in cost cutting

*A Rough Observation On Allstate's Plan To Reduce The Employees Retirement And Benefits:

Some of you may remember a time back in the '80's when Wall Street corporate raiders would buy a company for its overinflated retirement plans, raid the coffers then spin off the companies to other buyers. Well, it looks like Allstate has found a way to raid its own coffers. Yes, Allstate has done it once more...They are cutting the employees retirement (again) so there can be more payoff to the shareholders and bigger bonuses for Tommy Boy & his cronies!!! They now have possession of the employees retirement account to use as their own little piggy bank. This is cash stolen from the employees, to be used towards their bottom line profit. You have to admit, Allstate is creative in finding ways to steal from the public, their customers, the government as well as their employees-and it's all legal. They're just good like that.

Those at the top are not getting richer because they have great ideas on putting together a fantastic product to sell at a reasonable price. Wouldn’t that be great for the sales agents if they did? But in fact, they don’t have any ideas for a better product. Their ideas are based on how to screw their own customers by giving them less coverage on their policies at a higher price. Hey! Lots of profit there.

Their ideas are also based on screwing the claimants by paying them less. Let’s not forget that Allstate paid McKinsey Company millions of dollars to tell Allstate how they can make more profit-not by better ideas, but by screwing those they do business with. Allstate then used the same process on their own insureds. McKinsey advised Allstate to cheat on claims so they can make more money…and they did! Lots more money!

Then McKinsey told Allstate how they can make even more money by screwing their own employees, including their sales agents-and they made even more money! Lots more money! McKinsey Company advised Allstate to cut back on their expenses (employees). Fewer employees meant the remaining employees were forced to work longer hours for no overtime pay-not even straight regular pay. Now Allstate is cutting the employees retirement plan once again, and Allstate expects the Allstate stock to go higher, and it will. And Tommy Boy will get his huge bonus at the employees detrimate. The list goes on and on how Allstate screws whomever they do business with or come into contact with. There is no doubt that the affluent rulers at the top are getting richer at the expense of their hard working employees, their sales agents, their insurds, the claimants as well as the public.

But wait a minute…I thought the guy at the helm, the CEO, was supposed to have and to implement those ideas, good or bad. That’s what he’s getting those millions for in the first place. So Allstate hired a guy and paid him lots of money to run the ship but he goes out and hires someone else to tell him how to run the ship. Allstate paid someone else (McKinsey) millions of dollars to tell them how to run the company while the CEO stepped aside collecting his millions. Does anyone see anything wrong with this scenario? Isn't it ironic that Allstate could have saved itself lots of money by getting rid of the CEO to begin with. Afterall, why is a CEO even necessary if they're going to have another company give them direction on how to run Allstate Insurance Company.

I don't mind people getting rich or even richer. That's one of the great things about America-great ideas and hard work are rewarded. What I do mind is the brazenly selfish, greedy but legal theft from the employees pockets so the wealthy can go home even wealthier :mrgreen: while those who are actually working in the trenches are forced to work years longer for less pay and fewer benefits. :x

Ratpak11 ... 1442.story

Allstate to trim retirement, insurance benefits in cost cutting
By Becky Yerak
Tribune staff reporter
1:07 p.m. CDT, July 15, 2013

Northbrook-based Allstate Corp., which has named cost-cutting as one of its top priorities for 2013, is reducing some retirement and life insurance benefits in a move that it says will boost its book value per share by $1.70 to $2.

The changes include a new formula to calculate pensions, as well as ending retiree life insurance benefits for current employees.

Book value generally refers to assets minus liabilities. Allstate’s current book value is about $44 a share.

Allstate also recently announced plans to lay off 348 workers in Woodridge.

Allstate’s stock was trading at $51.17 in mid-day trading on Monday, up 0.1 percent. Since the start of 2013, its stock is up 28.7 percent, slightly lagging the gains of a Standard & Poor’s 500 insurance index.

"The changes we are making to our employee retirement and life insurance benefits bring us more in line with benefits offered in the marketplace and distribute benefits more equally across all employees," Allstate spokeswoman Laura Strykowski said in a statement. She noted that Allstate provides workers with both a pension and a 401(k) plan.

"Today, just 30 percent of Fortune 100 companies offer both," she said. | Twitter: @beckyyerak

Re: This Is What Happens When Bean Counters Run A Corporatio

Unread postPosted: Tue Jul 16, 2013 11:50 am
by RatPak11 ... state+(ALL)+Sees+Increase+in+Book+ValueShare+on+New+Pension+Accounting/8499995.html

Allstate (ALL) Sees Increase in Book Value/Share on New Pension Accounting
July 15, 2013 11:56 AM EDT

On July 15, 2013, Allstate Corp. (NYSE: ALL) announced changes to its retirement and life insurance benefits to bring them more in line with competitive benefit offerings in the marketplace. The changes include, effective January 2014, introducing a new cash balance pension formula to replace the current formulas under which employees earn benefits, including the final average pay pension formula; setting the employer 401(k) matching contribution at the maximum amount of the current variable range; revising the employee life insurance benefit; and discontinuing retiree life benefits for current employees; and, effective at a future date, revising life benefits for certain retirees. These changes will provide more consistent benefits across employees and reduce the Registrant’s cost structure, while providing employees with a contemporary and competitive benefit package.

As a result of these changes, a re-valuation of the pension and retiree life insurance plans will be completed in the third quarter of 2013 and reflected in the Registrant’s financial statements for the third quarter of 2013. The Registrant estimates these changes will increase book value per common share by $1.70 to $2.00 as measured principally by (a) the estimated effect of the increase in the discount rate used to remeasure the benefit obligations as of July 15, 2013, (b) the difference between the projected benefit obligation and the accumulated benefit obligation of affected pension plans, and (c) the reduction in the accrued benefit obligation of the employee retiree life insurance program. Beginning in the third quarter of 2013, benefit expense will also be reduced. The Registrant will discuss these financial and accounting impacts in its earnings communications and its Form 10-Q for the quarterly period ended June 30, 2013.


Pension change just screwed their workers
Tough Love on Jul 16, 2013 09:17 AM
How nice of Allstate to screw long-term workers with pension changes that will materially reduce their retirement security.
And dollars-to-donuts, the "savings" will factor into the executives annual Bonuses.

Re: This Is What Happens When Bean Counters Run A Corporatio

Unread postPosted: Tue Jul 16, 2013 11:54 am
by RatPak11 ... awsuit.php

Allstate Insurance Faces Class Action Lawsuit
September 30 2013

Birmingham, AL: Allstate retiree Garnet Turner is suing the insurer to protect the life insurance benefit he claims he was promised. Turner, a resident of Montgomery, Alabama, and a 32-year veteran Allstate agent, was notified by Allstate in July that the benefit would be cancelled in 2015.

Turner, who retired in the 1990s, filed suit after receiving that news. Turner began working for Allstate as an agent in 1963 and received several awards and honors over the decades. On retirement, as a benefit, he was promised a $90,000 life insurance policy for the rest of his life, at no charge to him, according to his attorneys.

The cancellation of the benefit coincides with a cost-cutting campaign by Allstate. The Chicago Tribune, in a report in July, the same month Allstate notified Turner, called the cost-cutting a top priority of the company. Turner's attorneys filed the suit in response. It is a class action for all retirees affected.

Turner is represented by Lew Garrison, a partner with the national law firm Heninger Garrison Davis. More is at stake than a broken promise, the attorneys say. Retirees like Turner, in view of their age, likely cannot get replacement insurance. HGD attorney Taylor Bartlett, who also represents Turner, explains: "Based on Allstate's promise, Turner and other retirees chose not to purchase fixed-cost life insurance at a younger age when such insurance was reasonably priced. These retirees cannot find life insurance today at reasonable rates and may be forced out of their coverage as a result."

Turner's suit is Turner v. Allstate Insurance Co., 2:13-cv-00685-MEF, filed in the U.S. District Court for the Middle District of Alabama.

Re: This Is What Happens When Bean Counters Run A Corporatio

Unread postPosted: Wed Jul 17, 2013 7:40 pm
by RatPak11 ... 298541.htm

Allstate Says Book Value to Rise on Cut in Employees’ Retirement Benefits
By Noah Buhayar, Bloomberg
| July 16, 2013

Allstate Corp., the largest publicly traded U.S. home and auto insurer, said it’s cutting some retirement benefits for employees in a move that will increase book value by a range of $1.70 to $2 a share.
The adjustments include a new formula for calculating pensions and discontinuing retiree life insurance benefits for current employees, Northbrook, Illinois-based Allstate said today in a regulatory filing. A revaluation of book value, a measure of assets minus liabilities, is expected to be completed this quarter.

“These changes will provide more consistent benefits across employees” and reduce Allstate’s cost structure, according to the filing.

Chief Executive Officer Thomas Wilson, 55, has been seeking to pare costs as near-record low interest rates pressure income from the company’s bond portfolio and claims costs from natural disasters crimp profit. The insurer said this month that it was planning to close a call center in Woodbridge, Illinois, after more inquiries were being handled by agencies.

Allstate reversed earlier losses of almost 1 percent, climbing 14 cents to $51.25 a share at 12:17 p.m. in New York. The insurer has gained 28 percent this year, compared with a 30 percent advance for the 22-company Standard & Poor’s 500 Insurance Index. The insurer’s book value was $43.46 per diluted share at the end of March.

Allstate “continues to provide employees with a strong and competitive benefit package,” Laura Strykowski, a spokeswoman, said in an e-mail. The insurer provides employees with “both a pension and 401(k) plan. Today, just 30 percent of Fortune 100 companies offer both.”

Editors: Dan Kraut, Peter Eichenbaum



• JULY 16, 2013 AT 11:38 AM
Nan says:
Isn’t that the new corporate norm? Cut the workers and reward the investors… where would the investors be if the workers were not there to feed their bank accounts? I doubt any of the “investors” are capable of selling insurance.

JULY 16, 2013 AT 2:08 PM
Agent says:
Let’s not forget where the home office is. The great State of Illinois has all kinds of problems. State Farm moved a lot of their operaions to Dallas/Ft.Worth and decreased their presence in Illinois. I have little respect for the Good Hands people. They have screwed their agents over necessitating a guild/union to deal with management. They bought Esurance to do business direct and now they are reducing their employees benefits. I guess the employees they don’t cull from the ranks will be thankful they have a job in this economy.

• JULY 16, 2013 AT 2:24 PM
Reader says:

Strictly business. Don’t take it personally. That’s their mantra. Did you ever see the movie “The Company Men”?

• JULY 16, 2013 AT 1:25 PM
Kurt says:
less is more (less for employees, more for owners)

• JULY 16, 2013 AT 1:32 PM
Publicus says:
Wilson cuts these employee costs – presto, his bonus goes up and the dividends get fatter. Typical country-club Republican CEO thinking.

• JULY 17, 2013 AT 6:35 PM
Celtica says:
Publicus — read “Retirement Heist” to find out how true your words really are.

• JULY 16, 2013 AT 1:33 PM
Tim says:
Sometimes the policymakers forget the real job creators; the worker bees who spend discretionary income at the businesses of the “investors”, et al, IF they have the dicretionary income, that is.

• JULY 16, 2013 AT 3:34 PM
bob says:
most of the worker bees in Allstate are the agents selling the products. they are compensated on commissions from sales, and they are the ones who generate the profits for the stockholders.

• JULY 16, 2013 AT 2:20 PM
Scott says:
While the last sentence of Publicus’ comment made little sense, the first part was good.
Wonder if they’ll change their name to Prostate?

• JULY 16, 2013 AT 2:23 PM
Libby says:
Little sense? Makes perfect sense to me.

• JULY 16, 2013 AT 2:49 PM
Agent says:
Good one Scott. You have a sharp mind.

• JULY 16, 2013 AT 2:59 PM
jw says:
That is so bad, it’s funny.

• JULY 17, 2013 AT 9:27 AM
Butterfly says:
So Allstate bought over Esurance. So, if Allstate is saving yet making so much money. Then why are the Claims Adjusters in the Hauppauge Area of NY making so little?
Allstate Closes Acquisition of Esurance and Answer Financial
Northbrook, Ill. – October 7, 2011
The Allstate Corporation (NYSE: ALL) today announced that it has obtained all required regulatory approvals and closed its acquisition of Esurance and Answer Financial from White Mountains Insurance Group, Ltd. (NYSE: WTM). The purchase price was approximately $1 billion. The transaction is expected to be non-dilutive to Allstate’s earnings in the second full year of ownership.

• JULY 17, 2013 AT 10:18 AM
Agent says:
I asked some of my markets who were in the Esurance line up how they liked having their competitor Allstate know all their rates with Esurance. Their marketing reps faces were all like a deer in the headlights. I don’t know of any who pulled out of Esurance. I wonder how many times Allstate ends up being low in the quotes generated.

• JULY 17, 2013 AT 11:36 AM
Libby says:
Is Esurance like a competitive rater that gives you rates for multiple carriers? If so, how do carriers other than Allstate make sure the rates that are in there are correct? That’s kind of like the fox guarding the henhouse, isn’t it?

July 17, 2013 at 4:16 pm
scooter says:
What they did not mention is that CEO Tom Wilson got a 53% raise in compensation in 2012. His package is now only worth $17 mil

• JULY 17, 2013 AT 6:32 PM
Celtica says:
If you want to know what really happened to the corporate American worker, read “Retirement Heist” by Ellen Schultz. It will tell you everything you need to know how we got swindled by our own employers. Interestingly, government workers weren’t screwed over (yet) because of government oversight that was not extended to the corporate worker.

• JULY 17, 2013 AT 6:33 PM
Celtica says:
A little over a decade ago, most companies had more than enough set aside to pay the benefits earned by two generations of workers, no matter how long they lived. But by exploiting loopholes, ambiguous regulations, and new accounting rules, companies essentially turned their pension plans into piggy banks, tax shelters, and profit centers.
Drawing on original analysis of company data, government filings, internal corporate documents, and confidential memos, Schultz uncovers decades of widespread deception during which employers have exaggerated their retiree burdens while lobbying for government handouts, secretly cutting pensions, tricking employees, and misleading shareholders

Re: This Is What Happens When Bean Counters Run A Corporatio

Unread postPosted: Thu Jul 18, 2013 3:53 pm
by RatPak11 ... its-108085

Allstate to trim retirement benefits
July 17, 2013
Aimee Chen

Less than a month after it laid off more than 300 workers, Allstate Corp. announced on Monday plans to trim employee retirement benefits.

The Northbrook-based company said the move will boost its book value from $1.70 to $2 per share.

Jim Ryan, a senior analyst at Morningstar Inc., said the move will be difficult for employees but that it’s what the market dictates.

“That’s certainly something common among a lot of companies,” he said. “To the extent that if a lot of companies do it and others don’t, those [who] don’t are disadvantaged on a cost basis.”

Ryan also said he believed that Allstate would have a strong future because of plans to broaden its e-surance and online customer base.

Beginning this summer, the company will no longer offer life insurance to its retirees and introduce a new formula for employee pensions, reducing its contribution obligation.

Re: This Is What Happens When Bean Counters Run A Corporatio

Unread postPosted: Mon Jul 22, 2013 9:54 am
by RatPak11 ... nest-eggs/

Leadership |10/19/2011 @ 6:12PM |
Retirement Heist: How Firms Plunder Workers' Nest Eggs
Steve Denning, Contributor

In December 2010, General Electric [GE] held its annual meeting in New York City for analysts and shareholders. CEO Jeff Immelt reported on GE’s financial health and said that GE’s pension plan was a problem. “The pension has been a drag for a decade,” he said. It would cause the company to lose 13 cents per share the coming year. In order to control costs, GE was—regretfully—going to close the pension plan for new employees. The implication was that workers’ pensions were dragging the company down.

What Immelt didn’t mention was that GE’s pension plans had actually contributed billions of dollars to the company’s bottom line over the last 15 years, earnings that the executives had taken credit for. Nor did he mention that GE hadn’t contributed anything to the workers’ pension plans since 1987 and still had enough to cover all the current and future retirees.

Nor did he mention that the executive pensions for GE executives were a burden. Unlike the plans for the 250,000 workers and retirees, the executive pensions had a $4.4 billion obligation that steadily drained cash from the company’s coffers, including $573 million over the past three years alone.

Why was GE closing its fully funded pension plan, while continuing its financially burdensome executive plan? This is the question to which Ellen Schultz’s incisive new book, Retirement Heist: How Companies Plunder and Profit from the Nest Eggs of American Workers (Portfolio, 2011) offers a powerful answer.

A carefully planned heist

She explains that the current retirement crisis is “not a demographic accident. It was manufactured by an alliance of two groups: top executives and their facilitators in the retirement industry—benefits consultants, insurance companies and banks.”

Executives are viewed “as beleaguered captains valiantly trying to keep their overloaded ships from being sunk in a perfect storm. In reality, they’re the silent pirates who looted the ships and left them to sink, along with the retirees, as they sailed away safely in their lifeboats.”

In 2000, most pensions were fully funded

Two decades ago, pensions were well funded, due to laws and regulations passed in the 1970s and 1980s. By 2000, pension plans at many large companies had large surpluses that would have covered all current and future retirees’ pensions without them having to contribute anything.

Yet US firms found ways to siphon off billions of dollars in assets from the pension plans. Verizon used assets to finance downsizings. GE sold pension surpluses in restructuring deals, indirectly converting pension assets into cash. Many firms clandestinely cut benefits, using “actuarial sleight of hand to disguise the cuts.”

Cutting benefits boosted earnings

Cutting benefits boosted earnings. New accounting rules “turned retiree benefits plans into cookie jars of potential earnings enhancements and provided employers with the means to convert the trillion dollars in pensions and retiree benefits into immediate dollar-for-dollar benefit for the company.”

Since accounting rules rewarded employers for cutting benefits, retiree benefits plans soon morphed into profit centers. Retiree plans became handy earnings-management centers at the expense of the retirees. Yet as workers’ retirement benefits were cut, “supplemental executive pensions” ballooned along with escalating deferred compensation. “Today,” reports Schultz, “it’s common for a large company to owe its executives several billion dollars in pensions and deferred compensation.”

It’s these growing “executive legacy liabilities” that account for much of the “growing pension costs”. Executive liabilities are often large, growing, underfunded or unfunded, and hidden, buried within the figures for regular pensions.

“With no punitive damages under pension law, employers face little risk when they unilaterally slash benefits, even when promised in writing, since they can pay their lawyers with pension assets and drag out the cases until the retirees give up or die.”

Today, Schultz reports, “pension plans are collectively underfunded, hundreds are frozen, and retiree health benefits are an endangered species. And as executive pay and executive pensions spiral, these executive liabilities are slowly replacing pension obligations on many corporate balance sheets.”

They all do it

The firms involved in these activities are not a few small unscrupulous operators. They are the best-known companies in the USA, including: GE, Verison, Dupont, Northrop Grumman, Marathon Oil, Lucent, Wal-Mart, General Motors, Chrysler, Ford, AT&T, US Airways, Delta Air Lines, Cigna, Bank of America, Caterpillar, Deere & Co, UPS—the list goes on and on.

Schultz sums up the situation:

The masterminds of this heist should take a bow: They managed to take hundreds of billions of dollars in retirement benefits that were intended for millions of workers and divert them to corporate coffers, shareholders, and their own pockets. And they’re still at it. It might not be possible to resuscitate pension plans, but it isn’t too late to expose the machinations of the retirement industry, which has its tentacles into every type of retirement benefit: profit-sharing plans, 401(k)s, employee stock ownership plans (ESOPs), and plans for public employees, nonprofits, small businesses, and even churches. The retirement industry has exported its tactics, using them to achieve similar outcomes in retirement plans in Canada, Europe, Australia, and elsewhere, and has big plans for Social Security and its overseas equivalents as well. Unless it is reined in, the global retirement industry will continue to capture retirement wealth earned by many to enrich a relative few.

A systemic solution is needed

Does any of this sound familiar?

Readers of this blog may recall that pursuit of short-run profits pushes organizations into a default model of management that focuses on efficiencies at the cost of long run value to customers, undermines the capacity of the firm to innovate, kills commitment among workers whose full engagement is crucial to the firm’s future and results in sub-optimal financial returns for the firm itself.

Readers may also recall that pursuit of short-run profits led to foreign outsourcing that destroyed not only jobs in this country but ultimately the capacity to compete in whole sectors of the economy, which are now permanently lost, because the knowledge has gone. As a result, Amazon couldn’t make a Kindle in the USA, even if it wanted to.

So it should hardly come as a surprise that retirement is another area where the cancer of short-term profit seeking is carving its inevitable path towards disaster.

Firms have fallen into this mode of operating in part because firms operating with traditional management are not producing the returns they used to. Therefore managers become desperate and resort to tactics that hurt the firm in the medium term while meeting the immediate need of showing financial returns in the here and now.

Getting to the root cause: pursuit of short-term profits

As a result, focusing on fixing pensions by itself will not be enough. In addition to pension reform, we need to get the root cause of the problem: what is needed is a fundamental shift from shareholder capitalism to customer capitalism, i.e. from traditional management to radical management.

When the whole firm is devoted to systematically delighting its customers by providing a continuous stream of additional value and providing it sooner, through continuous innovation, as at Apple [AAPL], Amazon [AMZN] and Salesforce [CRM], it makes enough money that it doesn’t have to resort to looting the workers’ retirement to make ends meet.


Steve Denning’s most recent book is: The Leader’s Guide to Radical Management (Jossey-Bass, 2010).

Re: This Is What Happens When Bean Counters Run A Corporatio

Unread postPosted: Mon Jul 22, 2013 9:57 am
by RatPak11

'Retirement Heist' Overlooked Causes of the Retirement Crisis.
Uploaded on Nov 8, 2011

The decline in employer-sponsored pension and retiree health plans is a troubling trend that has eroded the retirement security of millions of Americans. Stock market losses and low interest rates have weakened pension funding, and employers say that this -- combined with retiree longevity, rising costs and the need to compete globally -- is forcing them to freeze pensions and cut retiree benefits.

However, Ellen Schultz, a former investigative reporter for The Wall Street Journal, says that employers' practices also played a role. In her new book, Retirement Heist, Schultz contends that large companies, aided by benefits consultants and lawyers, have played a largely overlooked role in the decline of American pensions and benefits. At this November 2011 event, Schultz and other experts explored the numerous examples of companies using their pension funds and retiree benefit cuts to bolster profits and boost compensation for senior executives at the expense of rank-and-file workers.

This event was hosted jointly by the New America Foundation, the Pension Rights Center and AARP.

In this video David Certner talks with author Ellen Schultz about her new book. They are accompanied by Phyllis Borzi, Donald Fuerst, Karen Ferguson and Michael Calabrese

*This is a long video but very educational regarding the legal theft of worker pensions that is currently taking place:

Re: This Is What Happens When Bean Counters Run A Corporatio

Unread postPosted: Wed Jul 24, 2013 5:19 pm
by RatPak11 ... ment-heist

Traditional Pensions are Casualties of a Retirement Heist
By Emily Brandon

September 15, 2011 RSS Feed Print Companies often say they are freezing their traditional pension plans and eliminating retiree medical benefits to remain competitive with pension-less employers overseas and cope with an aging workforce and stock market losses. But in a shocking new book, Retirement Heist: How Companies Plunder and Profit from the Nest Eggs of American Workers, Wall Street Journal reporter Ellen Schultz explains that pension cuts are actually an accounting maneuver that is being used to boost corporate earnings. The massive retirement liabilities that many companies report are actually caused by unfunded executive pensions and deferred compensation plans, not the pension obligations to ordinary employees, she found. U.S. News asked Schultz to explain why traditional pension plans are really being frozen. Excerpts:

[See 7 Reasons You Don't Have a Pension.]

Why do profitable companies freeze their pension plans or close them to new workers? The retirement crisis was not an accident. The retirement crisis was caused by actions of the companies. They had incredibly overfunded plans and chose to cut benefits and ultimately freeze the plans, even though there was plenty of money in them to pay the benefits. Initially people didn’t understand that the benefits were being cut because companies hid it.

How is pension plan accounting used to boost shareholder value? Cutting the benefits actually gives companies a boost to profits. It’s an accounting effect. If you promise to pay $100 million to retirees, that’s a debt on the books. If you cancel that debt, then you get to keep the profit. Freezing the plan not only let them keep the money in the plan, but gave them a boost to profits.

[See Jobs That Still Offer Traditional Pensions.]

Do companies need to cut retirement benefits to stay competitive? When companies began cutting benefits it wasn’t to remain competitive because the plans had a huge surplus and there was no cost to the company. What they were doing is taking the plan and finding a way to convert some of the assets into a benefit for the company and also to boost their profits. It’s not accurate for them to say they had to do this to remain competitive.

How are pension plans for ordinary workers and executive compensation related? People have to realize that when companies say their costs are spiraling, maybe it’s the executive’s costs that are spiraling. In many cases the additional pension costs and boost in liability are just because of the executive pensions. The plans for regular workers are tax advantaged and subsidized by taxpayers. If you offer a pension plan, it is supposed to be for everyone more or less. Plans for executives don’t get special tax breaks, but companies have found ways of trying to get the same tax breaks as the plan for regular employees and have found strategies to get money from the regular plan to pay executives. They have been cutting the benefits for the rank and file employees and boosting the pay for the executives.

[See 21 Workplace Benefits That Are Rapidly Disappearing.]

If your company has promised you a pension and retiree health benefits, should you count on getting them in retirement? If you do have a pension, companies can cut it going forward, but they cannot take away something you have already earned. Under law that is protected. You also have to be able to recognize that your pension is being cut because it’s easy to present the information in a way that looks as if nothing has changed. You cannot count on a pension being retained going forward. If you’ve been promised retiree medical, in most cases the promises are not enforceable unless you are in a union. A lot of companies will say they will let you continue your health coverage until you are eligible for Medicare, but then later say they can’t afford that and are going to need to charge you a whole lot more than they did. The people who are better protected are those who are in a union and are in a collectively bargained agreement. You really have to be self-reliant. If your company has a pension or retiree medical, you really cannot bet the farm on that. These are things that are under assault and companies are trying to take them away.

Twitter: @aiming2retire


What we are witnessing here is the emergence of a new parasitic corporate aristocracy that doesn't give a damn about the rank file workers who make their lives possible. I'm reminded of a movie I saw once where a noble on horseback is exiting his castle and passes an old woman selling eggs from a wicker basket. This noble greedily reaches down from his mighty steed and snatches some of the eggs without paying for them. What corporate America has been doing to this country since the 90's in the name of their executives is no less blatant thievery than the scene I have described here. The boardrooms of these corporations have become little more than non-government taxing authorities. America has forgotten that corporations exist so people can have jobs and raise families not the other way around. If something doesn't change soon we will be living in a new Age of Robber Barrons . These executives expect people to work for nothing and that's exactly what we'll end up doing unless the people of this country pick up their proverbial torches and pitchforks and let the nobles in the castle know that we won't take anymore of their BS.

Michael Cockrell of TX 6:51AM October 09, 2011


Ellen Schultz has certainly shared some eye-opening information RE corporate pensions. Thanks for passing it along via U.S. News Money.

Jane Nowak of GA 1:50PM September 22, 2011


I think what we see happening right now is rather large swing in the way traditional investing occurred. The markets could only last so long with they way things were being conducted and there is a correction occurring now. of CT 12:39PM September 21, 2011