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Department of Workforce Development: 1,200 Assurant Inc. positions to be eliminated

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MILWAUKEE — The Wisconsin Department of Workforce Development has now received an official notice that more than 1,000 Assurant, Inc. positions will be eliminated starting in mid-August.

1,200 positions will be eliminated over 18 months, beginning August 14th.

In late April, Assurant’s parent company announced plans to either sell the business or close up shop.

“They’ve been signalling in the last year or two that they’re definitely having some challenges,” said Rich Kirchen with the Milwaukee Business Journal. “They’ve been losing money. The company has not fared well as the affordable care act has rolled out.”

A statement on Assurant Health’s parent company’s website said the following:

“The company expects Assurant Health to report a net operating loss for the quarter in the range of $80 million to $90 million. Approximately half of the loss is attributable to a reduction in 2014 estimated recoveries from the Affordable Care Act (ACA) risk mitigation programs. The remainder reflects elevated claims on 2015 ACA policies.”

“A lot of people who lost their insurance or didn’t get insurance on the exchange signed up for Assurant products. And a lot of those people were not, it was a sicker population. It was a higher risk population and the company lost money on that,” said Kirchen.

The Milwaukee Workforce Development Board staff will provide Rapid Response services to the affected workers.

Workforce Development Dislocated Worker Services Summary

The Wisconsin Department of Workforce Development (DWD) Dislocated Worker Program provides assistance to workers, companies, and communities affected by mass layoffs or business closings.

Under state law, employers employing 50 or more individuals in the state may be required to give 60 days notice before a mass layoff or closing. Once the state becomes aware of any event affecting 50 or more workers, the Dislocated Worker Program’s Rapid Response Team reach out and offer assistance to the affected workers and employer.

DWD Rapid Response staff will:

  • Verify the event;
  • Schedule an initial planning meeting with the company, union representatives and local service providers; schedule an orientation for affected workers;
  • Conduct an employee survey to determine services needed (usually done during orientation);
  • Assist in applying for additional funds to provide increased services to the workers;
  • Coordinate services among employment and training agencies.

Affected workers have access to numerous services to help them become re-employed. Basic services, most of which are available to anyone at no charge through the state’s Job Centers, include:

  • Job search and career planning assistance, resume assistance, job training and access to job search databases.

More intensive and retraining services can become available for some workers under one or more DWD Workforce development programs. These intensive services can include:

  • Eligibility determination for programs, skills assessment, job search and placement assistance, career planning assistance, short term prevocational training and occupational training.

DWD will also look at each dislocation to determine if the workers have lost their jobs as a result of foreign trade or competition. If that is the case, workers may be eligible for additional assistance for federal Trade Adjustment Assistance (TAA). Services available under TAA include training, income support while in training, job search allowance and relocation allowance.

Wisconsin spends nearly $40 million annually serving approximately 20,000 dislocated workers in various programs. Wisconsin consistently ranks highly among states in receipt of discretionary federal funding for dislocated workers.

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