Insurance company to add 550 jobs in Charlotte, doubling local presence

AXA’s Charlotte offices at 8501 IBM Dr.
AXA’s Charlotte offices at 8501 IBM Dr. Google Maps

Insurance company AXA plans to hire 550 new workers in Charlotte over the next five years, nearly doubling its local presence in the latest boost to the local financial sector.

After the $18 million expansion, Charlotte will be AXA’s largest location in the U.S., according to a statement Tuesday from Gov. Roy Cooper’s office. The Paris-based company’s U.S. headquarters will remain in New York.

AXA’s expansion is made possible in part by a state Job Development Investment Grant. Under the terms of the grant, the company is eligible to receive up to $11.8 million in total tax reimbursements over 10 years. AXA must prove that the jobs have been created and meet other performance requirements in order to receive the total award.

The expansion announcement came on the same day that Cooper said financial services giant Credit Suisse plans to hire an additional 1,200 workers in the Raleigh area over the next several years, adding to its 1,700-member workforce there. The Zurich-based company will receive $40.2 million in tax breaks from the state if it meets hiring and investment targets.

The Credit Suisse expansion is one of the 10 largest economic developments in North Carolina in the past decade, according to the governor, but apparently almost didn’t happen because the company had concerns about House Bill 2, the controversial law limiting protections for LGBT people. Compromise legislation took the law off the books in March.

AXA’s expansion is one of the larger jobs announcements in the Charlotte area lately, adding to a financial services scene that is best known for big banks such as Bank of America and Wells Fargo but also includes firms such as TIAA, LPL Financial and LendingTree.

Among recent expansions, brokerage firm LPL Financial said in March it plans to add 157 jobs at its new campus in Fort Mill, S.C., where it already employs about 1,500. And in November, LendingTree, the online service that matches borrowers with lenders, said it would more than double its Charlotte presence over the next five years, adding 314 workers.

AXA currently employs 575 at its Charlotte operations center in jobs ranging from customer service to underwriting. The provider of life insurance, annuity and financial products said it has had a presence in Charlotte for 40 years. In 2013, it relocated operations from Ballantyne to Innovation Park in University City.

“We know from our experience that Charlotte is a great place to attract a talented workforce, allowing us to grow our business and better serve our customers,” Mark Pearson, chairman and CEO of AXA US, said in a statement.

The company said the new positions will be in areas such as information technology, finance, legal, accounting, customer service and human resources. Salaries will vary by position, but the total annual payroll from the new jobs is expected to top $60 million.

AXA’s state grant is contingent on incentives from Charlotte and Mecklenburg County. Local incentives are under consideration, but there has not been a public hearing scheduled yet to consider them, according to Kevin Dick, the city’s economic development director.

The (Raleigh) News & Observer contributed.

Katherine Peralta: 704-358-5079, @katieperalta