People who didn’t know the late Susan B. Waters or have the opportunity to hear her speak really missed out on one of the leading lights of the insurance...
Athene USA will leave Topeka by the end of the year, relocating most employees and selling its downtown building.
Steve Carlson, public relations manager for Athene, on Thursday confirmed the insurance company's Topeka offices, at 555 and 515 S. Kansas Ave., will close and their functions will transfer to West Des Moines, Iowa.
More than 200 people work in the Topeka offices. Carlson said most of them will be offered the choice to relocate to Iowa. Those who don't will be given 60 days notice and a severance package, he said.
No employees had received a termination notice Thursday, Carlson said. He said he couldn't give an exact number of employees who will transfer because staffing needs still are being assessed.
It will take at least 30 days to plan the transition, Carlson said, and several months afterward to complete the move.
"This decision was made because we believe we can more effectively serve our distribution partners, agents, and clients and be a more efficient and profitable company by consolidating the work in West Des Moines," he said in a written statement.
Athene had told employees in November that 24 sales jobs would leave Topeka and be consolidated with operations at the Iowa headquarters. At the time, it said other employees, including those working in insurance operations and information technology, would stay in Topeka after the sales employees moved. The move was confirmed in December.
Carlson said the decision to move more than just the sales staff was based on a plan to increase efficiency.
"This is a business decision, and it doesn't in any way reflect negatively on the Topeka staff or on the Topeka business community," he said.
Athene owns a building at 555 S. Kansas Ave. and will eventually sell it, Carlson said. It also leases some space at 515 S. Kansas Ave., but the lease will expire in April.
The Topeka office was formerly part of Aviva USA. Athene, a Bermuda-based insurance holding company, purchased the U.S. branch of Aviva PLC, a British insurance company, for $1.8 billion in October 2013.
The company's Topeka roots began when it was known as American Investors Life. It merged with AmerUs in 1997. Aviva, a British company, bought AmerUs in 2006 for $2.9 billion.