Disability Insurer MassMutual Opens West Coast Center in Phoenix, Arizona

Disability insurer Massachusetts Mutual Life Insurance Company aka MassMutual Financial Group has for the first time in its 162-year history opened a West Coast business center. The new 60,000 sq. ft. center is located on Black Canyon Highway near the I-17 and Peoria Avenue in Phoenix, Arizona and will employ as many as 400 people. Arizona Governor Jan Brewer and Phoenix Mayor Greg Stanton were among those on hand for the ribbon-cutting ceremony of the facility on October 16, 2013.

MassMutual CEO Roger Crandall told the Arizona Republic that the new Phoenix center will primarily serve customers and policyholders in the Western U.S., allowing for faster expansion and also mitigating operational risks to the company through diversification of the location of its resources and staff. During Superstorm Sandy, we blogged about the temporary shutdown of many of the disability insurance companies located on the East Coast, including MassMutual, Unum Group/UnumProvident, The Hartford, New York Life, and Berkshire Life/Guardian Life.  With locations now in Arizona as well as Massachusetts, the company may be able to avoid a situation where its call center and other operations, such as issuance of disability benefit checks, are suspended due to a natural disaster.

MassMutual employs approximately 6,700 persons nationwide, including nearly 3,500 at its Massachusetts headquarters, which is currently in the midst of a major renovation. Roughly 25 employees have been transferred from MassMutual’s headquarters to the Phoenix facility and an additional 70+ employees, who were a part of The Hartford’s Retirement Plans business prior to its $400 million acquisition by MassMutual in September 2012, will become a part of MassMutual’s Phoenix staff. To round out its staff, MassMutual has announced plans to hire an additional 200-250 employees in the Phoenix, Arizona area.

According to the Arizona Republic, MassMutual has approximately 25,000 clients in Arizona and parts of New Mexico holding roughly $4 billion dollars in insurance coverage. While we are hopeful that MassMutual’s Phoenix facility will bring improvements to MassMutual’s disability insurance claims service, we would also advise disability claimants that having an additional 400 MassMutual local employees could also mean increased and potentially intrusive surveillance.

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