Approximately 1200 jobs are leaving Simi Valley and going to the recently vacated 21st Century Insurance building in Woodland Hills (vacated by 21st Century when parent company AIG terminated all operations at that facility). The following is a snippet from their press release.
The company announced that it will move approximately 1,200 people, or 20 percent of its Greater Los Angeles workforce, from building space it leases at 3041 Cochran Street in Simi Valley to another leased facility at 6303 Owensmouth in Woodland Hills. The Woodland Hills facility is already home to some Farmers employees and the building currently is branded 21st Century Insurance Company, but the name on the building will be changed to Farmers Insurance. (21st Century Insurance Company was acquired by Farmers Insurance in July 2009).
The move of the 1,200 employees will take place beginning in early 2011. Farmers Insurance has more than 6,000 employees and agents in the Greater Los Angeles area, making Farmers Insurance one of the largest employers in Southern California.
While this may be a good move for Farmers Insurance who will enjoy the benefits of a more modern building, this is terrible for Simi Valley. Not only are 1200 jobs vacating, but surrounding businesses will be impacted as well. This will impact restaurants in the immediate area, the shopping center across the street, not to mention local hotel occupancy.
What happened, and didn’t anyone see this coming? Farmers Insurance has occupied the large building on Cochran Street since 1982. With a move of this magnitude, was there no discussion between Farmers and the City of Simi Valley? This will surely impact our local economy in a number of ways and I hope this becomes a top issue in the upcoming election.
UPDATE: After more careful thought and consideration, I’ve posted a follow-up on this topic. Please click here to read it.