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Craig McEwen, Published May 06 2009

One America transferring 23 jobs

Twenty-three Fargo employees of One America Financial Partners Inc., formerly Pioneer Mutual Life Insurance, were told Tuesday that their jobs are being transferred to Indianapolis.

The job cuts were effective immediately, said Paul Branks, assistant vice president for corporate communications for Indianapolis-based One America. The company employed about 30 people in Fargo, he said.

“We did have a group come out to Fargo to meet with the employees there and let them know that we were transferring operations for Pioneer Mutual Life to the Indianapolis home office. That will impact 23 positions,” Branks said.

Affected employees were offered outplacement assistance and severance packages, he said.

A handful of employees will stay on for a undesignated period of time to help with the transition, Branks said.

A few positions in marketing and wholesale will remain in Fargo, he said.

“But the operation as it is set up now will be vastly different and will be mostly here in Indianapolis, other than those few positions,” Branks said.

Tuesday’s job cuts weren’t based solely on current economic conditions, he said.

“It was just a matter of how can we most effectively, efficiently and in the most cost-effective way run these operations,” Branks said. “And this was what was decided.”

In March, One America cut 114 positions in Indianapolis and other locations. The company employs about 1,500 people, he said.

Pioneer Mutual’s presence in Fargo dates back to 1895 when the Ancient Order of United Workmen, a fraternal life insurance society, opened an office here.

The society became a mutual insurance company and was renamed Pioneer Mutual Life Insurance Co. in 1948.

In 2002, Pioneer Mutual became a subsidiary of Indianapolis-based American United Mutual Insurance Holding Co., of which One America is also a subsidiary.

Readers can reach Forum Business Editor Craig McEwen at (701) 241-5502