Mutual of Omaha reduced the staff of its mail-sorting operation in Blair, Neb., on Monday, cutting employment there to about 160 people because of what the company said were improvements in efficiency.
Mutual spokesman Jim Nolan said “a small number” of people lost their jobs but declined to give a specific count because some eliminated positions were open and some people whose jobs ended may qualify for other openings at Mutual.
One employee whose job was cut, who commented on condition of anonymity, said about 30 or 40 people went into a meeting Monday morning and received severance information.
Nolan said the Blair office, which opened in 2003, receives insurance applications, claims, premium payments, forms for changes in beneficiaries and other mail. Workers open letters and sort and scan the information for further processing. The Blair location also has a warehouse operation, which was not affected by the job cuts.
Mutual’s staff has been working to speed up the mail-handling work flow, improve response time and reduce backlogs that can occur late in the year when there’s a crush of Medicare supplement applications, Nolan said. The center’s employment peaked at about 200 people near the end of 2012.
The Blair office will continue to use temporary workers to meet seasonal demand, he said. People who lost their jobs were full-time employees who will receive severance benefits according to their salary levels and time with the company.
Nolan said the job cuts in Blair aren’t related to Mutual’s decision to close a customer service facility in Woodward, Okla., about a year ago, eliminating about 50 jobs and moving that work to Omaha.