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Nationwide insurance change could mean local job cuts

Nationwide Mutual Insurance Co. will no longer write specialized policies for high-risk drivers and other customers, a move that could mean job cuts at the insurer’s Susquehanna Township office.

The change stems from a deal struck last week between Nationwide and National General Holdings Corp., a specialty insurance holding company.

Under the deal, known as a renewal rights transaction, National General will begin taking over Nationwide’s personal and commercial non-standard vehicle policies as of Jan 1. 

Non-standard customers are the riskiest group of drivers. This group of insurance policies is usually tied to people with poor credit and a history of driving accidents or other violations. It also includes drivers without prior coverage or people that let their insurance lapse, as well as others who drive high-value or specialized vehicles.

According to Nationwide, the transition will take place over the next two years. The company has about 337,000 non-standard personal vehicle policies across the country and about 26,000 commercial vehicle policies, said Eric Hardgrove, a Nationwide spokesman.

“Prior to renewal, our current non-standard members will receive a non-renewal letter from Nationwide with an offer for a replacement policy from National General,” he said.

Current Nationwide coverage will remain in effect through the end of current policy terms and Nationwide will continue to support those members, including handling any claims, prior to the next policy renewal. 

Hardgrove could not provide state-by-state information on how many policies will be impacted in Pennsylvania. 

However, an email obtained by the Business Journal said non-standard policies account for about 20,000 of the roughly 500,000 auto insurance policies the company writes in the commonwealth. 

That email sent to Susquehanna Township officials, where Nationwide has its midstate hub, said about 38 local jobs would be eliminated out of about 800 because of the change.

Nationwide is trying to minimize the job loss, Hardgrove said.

“The changes will impact a small amount of associates across the country,” he said. “We are working with National General to find opportunities for some of those folks.”

There also could be other landing spots within Nationwide, he said.

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