Allstate Insurance Co. says it will close its call center in Cross Plains by Dec. 31, ending the jobs of 214 employees.

Cross Plains Village President Kurt Schlicht received a letter from Allstate on Wednesday, saying the closing is "the direct result of improvements in technology, declining insurance claim counts and efficiency gains."

"It's very troubling, very sad," Schlicht said. "It's another sock in the stomach for the economy."

Matt Schuenke, Cross Plains village administrator and clerk-treasurer, said Allstate's announcement came as a complete surprise. "There was no warning," he said.

It is the second big loss of call center jobs in the Madison area — within 35 miles of each other — in three weeks. Lands' End, of Dodgeville, said in late September it will end 149 positions at its Dodgeville call center by the end of January. Another 50 job cuts at the company's headquarters already have taken effect.

Allstate's "express claims" call center at 1850 Ludden Drive in Cross Plains opened in 2007, two years after Lands' End closed a call center at the same location.

At the time, the state Department of Commerce offered Allstate up to $750,000 in Enterprise Development Zone tax credits, to be applied to the Northbrook, Ill., company's Wisconsin income taxes over three years. The offer came with the understanding that the jobs would stay at the site for the development zone's seven-year duration.

Now, Allstate is pulling up stakes only five years later. But the insurance company is not reneging on a deal with the state because it never received the tax credits, said Tom Thieding, spokesman for the Wisconsin Economic Development Corp., successor agency to the Department of Commerce.

"The company never submitted annual reports requesting the tax credits so none were released," Thieding said.

Allstate spokesman Justin Herndon said the Wisconsin claims center is the only one to be closed. Eight others, nationwide, will remain open and will add 110 jobs. He said the Cross Plains employees can apply for those jobs and may be eligible for relocation assistance.

Asked why the Cross Plains site could not stay open but with fewer employees, Herndon said the decision was made based on such factors as "effectiveness, efficiency and technology ... I don't think you can pin it on any one particular thing."

"They were great business partners and great neighbors. I'm sorry to see them go," Schlicht said.

The 34,950-square-foot Cross Plains building and the land it sits on are owned by a limited liability company and valued at $4.1 million, according to the Access Dane website.

"We'd certainly want to work with the property owner to try to assist them in refilling the space, as best we can," Schuenke said. He said there are no interested parties at this time.

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(45) comments

bremdog
bremdog

The good news for these 214 is that when they find a new job in another state, with a new health insurance company, they will have coverage for pre-existing conditions thanks to Obamacare.

Norwood44

America is transforming into a digital economy. This move has nothing to do with Obama, Walker or sunspots. It's just what companies do to remain competitive. It is also what government rarely does-change and evolve to become more efficient for those it serves.

jimatmadison

According to Mitt Romney, due to a decision made in some board room somewhere, by January 1st, most of those 214 people will magically transform from being productive Americans to being "dependent" "victims" who refuse to "take responsibility" for their lives.

Thank you, Mr Romney for pointing up their great shame. You are clearly morally superior to the people of Cross Plains.

Good Gosh

I know the Governor will claim that despite his promise of 250,000 new jobs that he didn't REALLY say that, but that he said he would create a corporation-friendly environment that would encourage companies to move to Wisconsin (despite the fact that he DID really promise those jobs, but then we're talking about a Republican, remember).

Remember, in this week's debate, Mitt stated that presidents do not create jobs (yeah, he really did--awesome, huh?), so I assume Republicans believe governors also do not create jobs. I seem to remember Walker actually said that when asked why his job creation numbers were um behind schedule. (Question, how do you know when a Republican is lying? His/Her mouth is moving.)

But if we swallow all that, as the Republicans are certain we will, then isn't it up to the governor to make Cross Plains attractive to Allstate in order to keep those jobs here? And all the other companies that have left the state?

I also want to know why Kleefisch or whatever her name is, you know Walker's figurehead female styled in the Palin mode, why she doesn't pick up the phone and start making phone calls. I distinctly remember one of her campaign ads during the recall where she claimed to be bringing jobs to Wisconsin simply by calling up someone or other and inviting that company to move in.

And what is this obsession with having companies move from one state to another? Why aren't we actually creating real jobs that will stay in Wisconsin? Oh, yeah, I forgot. Walker needs the money to repay his campaign contributors. Silly me, and I thought he'd like to actually invest in Wisconsin!

joebob

Bubblehead
You are simple
Simpleton

MSNbubble

We're tired of socialst lies. Simple as that.

MSNbubble

Dane county judges and the GAB speak everything. Yea, I can support it!

epic

The vacated Allstate building in Cross Plains would be an excellent place to locate an Obama "green jobs" incubator. Let's build on the success of Solyndra, Ener1, Abound Solar, Beacon Power, Evergreen Solar, SpectraWatt. AES and A123. These are all demonstrable successes aren't they?

MSNbubble

Congratulations to the FBI for thwarting another terrorist attempt in NY. Something Obama is ignoring.

Wis_taxpayer
Wis_taxpayer

yeah, because the FBI works for G.W. Bush and the Republicans.

Pooter

I dont know why this had to turn into a polical issue, because I do not think it is. Allstate is a large company with many investors and when they are not making the profits that they think they should, something has to go. Unfortunatly it is the call center. This center had much higher day to day operating costs compared to the other call centers, which made it the target to cut costs. Throwing barbs at Walker or Obama will not change the way that big businesses operate, this is not the only company that had a large lay off, there have been hundreds the past 4 years and will continue until who knows how long. There are 214 of us that are hurt by this layoff and frankly are uncertain about what lays ahead for us. Pointing fingers will not bring back our jobs, or any other jobs for that matter.

MSNbubble

When you screw the business, you screw the worker.

Wis_taxpayer
Wis_taxpayer

You're right! when you screw with business by creating a hostile work environment in the state, by decimating the education system of the state, by trying to crush the workers of the state, it affects the workers!

Walker gave a billion dollars to the "Job creators" of Wisconsin and what "jobs" have they created? I think the number Scott Walker famously stated was 250,000 would be created!

Not just when he ran for office, but when he defended his Governorship a second time.
250,000 jobs! I promise!

MSNbubble

Rabid dogs will never be appeased.

Wis_taxpayer
Wis_taxpayer

wow, an argument filled with facts.... how obtuse!

MSNbubble

That's right Bubble! Blame it all on someone else. Your're the victim afterall! One of these days your bubble will burst, sort of like Greece or France. You're like a horse with blinders.

jimatmadison

The US unemployment rate keeps going down, and Wisconsin's keeps going up.

All of our Midwestern neighbors are gaining jobs, and we're losing them.

Sorry, Walkerites. Your guy is a job-killer of the worst kind. It will take a generation to undo the damage Scott Walker and the rest of the GOP have done to my wonderful Wisconsin.

Dode
Dode

With national claims for unemployment up again, to blame this on Gov. Walker is infantile.

Wis_taxpayer
Wis_taxpayer

The national unemployment rate went from 10% to 7.8% The country is adding jobs, the midwest is adding jobs, Wisconsin is still losing jobs!

It's working!

MSNbubble

Cry your eyes out Dane county. You brought this on yourselves. "Tax the rich" , "tax big business". Tax yourselves to death.

Reply
Reply

So this is Dane County's fault?

Then explain this:
http://worknet.wisconsin.gov/worknet_info/downloads/PCML/2012pcml_log.xls

Plenty of layoffs are happening elsewhere besides Dane County, including a good share in the Republican stronghold of Waukesha County.

By last check, Walker was supposed to be improving the State's employment picture by leaps-&-bounds. Not happening, is it? SW's failure to deliver certainly can't be blamed on Obama, especially when the rest of the country is at least showing sluggish growth ... versus sliding backward as this state is.

jimatmadison

Wow! Talk about delusional. "Tax the rich"?!? Dane County has their own personal income tax now?

Why didn't I know about this? And how would that affect working class call center workers in Cross Plains?

And as far as "tax big business", it was Jim Doyle who tried to get them to stay with a targeted tax break that they chose not to take advantage of. Scott Walker just wanders around spouting catch phrases and giving handouts to his campaign donors and jobs to the least qualified people he can find and criminals.

Thanks, MSNbubble. That is the dumbest thing anybody will read on the internet today. Everybody else can take a rest.

Teapartyterrorist
Teapartyterrorist

All of the states jobs are moving to other midwest states... Great job Walker, you are officially the worst governor in Wisconsin's history!!!

jimatmadison

I hope every one of the 214 voted for Walker. Twice.

That would be a real case of 'You reap what you sow.'

festivus

All u people are should be ashamed with all this Walker hate. People are losing jobs and this is all u can come up with. GET A LIFE!!

array1

.......and the people who blame Obama? Why no scolding for them too??

consRcrazy
consRcrazy

I just hope those laid off don't need Food Stamps or Social Security in the future

Wis_taxpayer
Wis_taxpayer

All u people are should be ashamed with all this Obama hate. People are losing jobs and this is all u can come up with. GET A LIFE!!

Ah, it works both ways...

7time3

Congrats to Gov Walker.......200+ new jobs in Wisconsin!
Oops........my bad.......200+ more jobs LOST in Wisconsin!
"Wisconsin is open for business" Err....."Business as usual in Wisconsin"

MadRes18

This episode exemplifies why giving tax breaks to business to "create jobs" is a sucker's game. The Doyle administration blew 3/4 million on Allstate to get them to Cross Plains, and now it's leaving. http://commerce.wi.gov/newsletter/2007/april/allstate.html

And what's Gov. Brownbag doing? The same thing, only with less transparency or accountability. Forward!

jimatmadison

The Doyle administration didn't spend a dime. Allstate never applied for the credits.

Fartinthewind
Fartinthewind

Ok, so I buy the bit about demand is down so Allstate is consolidating service centers. And I get it that they had multiple factors to consider as they decided which call center to close.

But I'm having trouble with something here. These jobs are not being eliminated completely. We're losing 200 jobs in Wisconsin, but 100 jobs are being added at the other call centers.

What happened to Walker's open for business campaign?

jimatmadison

Open For Business is a catch phrase, not a strategy.

Walker showed before he was even sworn in that he didn't care about Wisconsin jobs when he told Doyle to pull the plug on the rail money.

bpro

Yes, technology has & continues to make great improvements in financial services & particularly insurance. A lot a excess fat has been trimmed from this business within the last 15 years. It helps with service improvements & lower premium levels.

ttt3

This shouldn't be a huge surprise - these days a lot of people use the internet to file claims, make policy changes, etc, making large call centers unnecessary. I have Progressive and have never really needed to talk to agents verbally - their website is quite good.

consRcrazy
consRcrazy

gee tomtom33, how insightful

joebob

Unclebob
You are full of


Fox facts

BobsYourUncle
BobsYourUncle

This can't be? President Obama, the man with zero economic policy, just last night, told us that job creation and preservation was job number one for him. It was nice to hear that after nearly 4 years and 8 trillion borrowed dollars added to the national debt, he has decided to put job creation ahead of his foreign policy debacles!!!

array1

But wait........ there IS positive job grwth nationally but Wisconsin lags, dead last in the nation in job creation. Now why on earth would that be I wonder? Why job growth in other states EXCEPT wisconsin???

Wis_taxpayer
Wis_taxpayer

This can't be? President Obama, the man with zero economic policy, presided over a doubling of the stock market!

This can't be? President Obama, the man with zero economic policy, created 5 million jobs in less than 4 years, compared to Bush's 3 million jobs in 8 years.

This can't be? President Obama, the man with zero economic policy, presided over historic record breaking corporate profits!

This can't be? President Obama, the man with zero economic policy, turned an auto industry that was failing into the most profitable in history.

This can't be? President Obama, the man with zero economic policy, increased our national debt by 50% compared to Bush who doubled it!

This can't be? President Obama, the man with zero economic policy, dropped the unemployment rate from over 10% to under 8% the same rate as when he took office! compared to Bush who took office with unemployment at 4.8% and left office with unemployment at 5.8% an increase in unemployment of 1%

Now Bob, tell us again just how terrible this President has been.

Wis_taxpayer
Wis_taxpayer

It's working!

joebob

You are funny and yes correct on that for sure

I can multitasking too

uwjeff

I think this is evidence that Allstate is taking their causing 'mayhem' ad campaign a bit too far

uwjeff

and when you finally do get that first real job (I don't think that Resident Liberal Blog Troller counts) .......that should make it 250,213 by your count.........right?

Just kidding joebob..........I'm sure you're just taking a break like I am from the 'real world' and having a bit of political fun just messing with the 'other side'

joebob

Another walker success!!!!

250,214 jobs to go

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