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Allstate to create 2,250 Charlotte jobs in expansion

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Allstate Insurance Company will create 2,250 jobs in a Charlotte expansion project spanning three years, officials announced Wednesday – the second major local expansion by an insurance company in three months.

The insurer is expected to invest more than $22 million in the Charlotte area through the expansion of its operations center, officials said at the announcement at the Charlotte Chamber uptown. The move will add to the roughly 1,400 employees the insurer already has in Charlotte.

Earlier Wednesday, the state approved a roughly $23.7 million incentives package in exchange for the project. Prospective local matching incentives total almost $1.5 million, split between Mecklenburg County and the city of Charlotte, which the local governments will vote on soon.

“This is one of the largest job announcements in history for the Charlotte-Mecklenburg area at one time,” Gov. Roy Cooper said at the news conference. Jobs to be created will include claims specialists, actuaries, underwriters and information technology roles, he said.

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Gov. Roy Cooper presents Harriet Harty, executive vice president of human resources at Allstate, with a plate. Ely Portillo

The new jobs will create a yearly payroll impact of more than $105.3 million once all the positions are filled, according to Allstate. That means the average job would pay about $46,800, based on 2,250 total jobs.

Mecklenburg County’s economic development director, Peter Zeiler, said in an email to county commissioners Wednesday that the “large majority of these jobs are available to job seekers with entry level qualifications.”

In May, AXA announced 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 that $18 million expansion, Charlotte will be Paris-based insurer AXA’s largest location in the U.S., a statement from Cooper’s office said at the time.

Harriet Harty, executive vice president of human resources at Allstate, said the company hasn’t fully settled on the mix of jobs it will bring to Charlotte, but they will include a wide variety of functions.

“We’re pleased to bring more jobs to the state,” Harty said at Wednesday’s event. “Allstate values the great working relationship we’ve had with North Carolina for over 45 years.”

Harty said the company is still looking at various sites in Charlotte to locate the new jobs, but the company could build at its current operations center at Innovation Park, the University City office complex.

“This is win for the company, our employees, our customers, the region and the state,” she said. Harty said the company is also expanding in Irving, Texas, and that was another possible site for the new offices.

Harty said the controversy last year over House Bill 2, the state’s controversial law limiting nondiscrimination protections for LGBT individuals, factored into the company’s decision-making. PayPal canceled a plan to create a new operations center with more than 400 jobs in Charlotte after HB2 came into effect. The law was partially repealed earlier this year.

“For us, inclusive diversity is one of our core values,” she said. “Did it come into play in our decision? Of course, many things did.”

Of the incentives, Allstate will be eligible for up to $17.8 million over 12 years in potential reimbursements of withholding taxes for the new jobs, provided the company meets job-creation and investment targets. Those incentives are provided under the state’s Job Development Investment Grants, or JDIG, program. An additional $5.9 million will go into a fund designated for infrastructure improvements in rural parts of the state.

In comparison, insurer MetLife was awarded $87.2 million in a 2013 reimbursement package for creating 2,600 jobs in Charlotte and Cary. According to the commerce department, MetLife’s job-creation figure is the largest associated with a JDIG, followed by Allstate’s.

The dollar value of Allstate’s grant ranks it 12th among previous JDIGs awarded in North Carolina, the commerce department said. The grant awarded to MetLife remains the largest in the program’s history.

Nicole McIntyre speaks about her experience at the Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools job fair.

Ely Portillo: 704-358-5041, @ESPortillo

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