110 dropped from USF&G department Insurer says cuts will improve effectiveness

January 21, 1993|By David Conn | David Conn,Staff Writer

USF&G Corp. this morning laid off 110 employees out of 680 in the company's information services department as part of what executives said was a new strategy aimed at better serving the insurer's various product divisions.

The layoffs follow two years of cost-cutting and staff reductions at the Baltimore-based insurance company. Those moves saw the work force drop by more than 40 percent to its current level of 7,200.

But unlike the previous rounds of layoffs, the company said, today's reductions were not intended to cut costs, but to make the information services department more effective.

"The reductions resulted from the company's implementation of a new [information services] strategy that will more effectively link information technology capabilities to expanding business requirements," USF&G said in a statement today.

Employees, all at the company's Mount Washington center, were notified about the terminations in meetings this morning with their managers. They received severance packages and were told of meetings with outplacement counselors.

Still, the news of the pending cuts had leveled a blow to morale for the last several months. Chairman and Chief Executive Officer "Norman P. Blake's resume flourished due to the exhausted efforts of employees who gave everything he asked and more under his 'Do it Yesterday' regime," one department employee wrote to the Baltimore Sun. "Now he has no use for us, we're part of the past."

A private security force was on hand at the Mount Washington center as employees were given the news of who would stay and who would go. Some employees said several security measures were in place, including new identification card readers.

"It's not a good place," said one employee who had survived the cut. "And there are more people who are waiting to go in."

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