Week of February 7, 2000
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Farmers Insurance 'Seamless Service' Center
Bringing 500 Jobs to Kansas

Streamlining its claims-processing operation, Farmers Insurance Group (www.farmersinsurance.com) has announced that it's opening a new 500-employee Customer Care Center in the Kansas City metro.

Farmers is developing two new U.S. Customer Care Centers to better respond to customer claims. The other new center will be located in Oklahoma City. The centers will be the gateway to the company's new claims process and will be staffed 24 hours a day, 365 days a year.

The new Kansas City-area facility will be located at Technology Park in the city of Olathe, Kan.

"We want to take the hassle out of the claims process," Frank Soldano, vice president of Farmers' Strategic Initiatives, explained as the new Kansas City facility was announced. "We want the customer to make one call -- to their agent or care center -- that will immediately start the process of taking care of that customer's needs."

The new Farmers Insurance centers will provide one-stop calling in the often-arduous claim-filing process. For example, customer service representatives who take calls at the new center in Olathe will arrange to tow the damaged car, arrange a rental, take the car to a qualified repair facility and return the repaired car to the customer, Soldano explained.

"The process should be seamless," Soldano added. "Our Care Centers go beyond a typical call center. They represent a focal point for customer service and customer management."

Location, Labor, Costs Drive Site Selection Decision

Bread and butter site selection issues - location, labor and costs - were the drivers in the Farmers' decision, company officials explained.

"Farmers chose Kansas City for its central geographical location, quality work force and the low cost of doing business," said Joe Moss, state executive director for Farmers in Kansas.

Commented Kansas Gov. Bill Graves (www.ink.org/public/governor), "I am extremely pleased with the decision by Farmers Insurance Group to locate their new Customer Care Center in Johnson County. This is another example of a well-respected business taking advantage of the outstanding benefits Kansas has to offer. From location to infrastructure to quality work force, this state has proven to be very business friendly."

Jobs Span Wide Skill Range

Unlike some customer care centers, the Farmers facility will encompass a comparatively broad span of skill requirements. For example, the 500 jobs will range from management and technical positions, which require a degree or special training, to clerical positions that require no degree. With the wide skill range, the annual average salary for the new Kansas City center will be approximately $32,000 (plus benefits).

"I am very excited by the announcement of Farmers Insurance Group to add nearly 500 new quality jobs in Kansas and Johnson County," said Dick Bond, president of the Kansas Senate. "The growth in quality service-sector jobs is of vital importance to our economy. Farmers has long been a great corporate citizen in our state, and their significance continues to grow."

Farmers is the nation's third-largest home and auto insurer, and it's the second-largest in Kansas. Los Angeles-headquartered Farmers already had a substantial presence in the Kansas City metro area, including a the Kansas State Office, a Kansas City Service Center and the National Catastrophe Center, all located in Overland Park.

Development Officials Efforts Lauded as
'Instrumental' in Location Decision

Farmer's officials cited the efforts of Tim Cowden of the Kansas City Area Development Council (www.smartcities.com) and Barbara Hake of the Kansas Dept. of Commerce and Housing (www.kansascommerce.com) as "instrumental" in the company's decision to locate the new center in the greater Kansas City area.

"The state of Kansas has worked very closely with the Farmers Insurance Group during the past six months to help make this plan a reality," said Lt. Gov. Gary Sherrer. "Thanks to the hard work of many people, a quality company will bring nearly 500 new, good-paying jobs to Kansas."

Farmers was represented in the Olathe real estate transaction by the Staubach Co.'s Robert Chavez and Peter London. The new facility will be in an 80,000-sq.-ft. (7,200-sq.-m.) build-to-suit facility.

Farmer's officials say the new center will open in the third quarter of 2000 and should be fully staffed by April of 2001. Hiring will begin in second-quarter 2000.

Farmers currently does business in 41 states, providing home, auto, business and life insurance to more than 8 million U.S. households.

©2000 Conway Data, Inc. All rights reserved. Data is from many sources and is not warranted to be accurate or current.