Carmel-based CNO Financial to cut 230 employees in restructuring

Carmel-based CNO Financial Group Inc. plans to reduce its workforce by about 230 people as part of a corporate restructuring.

Staff reductions will come from CNO’s corporate offices in Carmel, Chicago and Philadelphia and will include both leadership and associate positions, company spokeswoman Valerie Dolenga told IBJ via email. Dolenga declined to specify how many of the cuts will come from each office.

CNO has about 1,200 employees in Carmel and about 3,200 company-wide.

The company said it expects to reduce its annual spending by about $22 million by the end of 2020 as a result, investing about half of that savings into various technology and growth initiatives.

As part of the restructuring, Philadelphia-based Colonial Penn Life Insurance Co. President Joel Schwartz will leave the company on April 10. CNO also plans to centralize certain functions including marketing, finance, sales training/support and agent recruiting.

The company will also add about 20 new positions “in key areas to give us the skill sets and experience needed in our new structure,” Dolenga said.

CNO is organized into three segments, each of them focused on one of the company’s brands: Carmel-based Washington National, Chicago-based Bankers Life and Philadelphia-based Colonial Penn. Carmel also serves as headquarters for the overall company and investment subsidiary 40/86 Advisors.

The company will continue to market its products under the Bankers Life, Washington National and Colonial Penn brands, but it will reorganize itself into two divisions.

A consumer division will serve individual customers in person, online and by phone. A worksite division will focus on businesses, associations and other group customers, interacting with them at their workplaces.

“CNO is transforming its organizational structure to build a leaner, more agile company,” CEO Gary Bhojwani said in a written statement.

The company will begin reporting its financial results using the new structure beginning with its first quarter 2020 report.

CNO suffered a full-year loss of $315 million in 2018, compared with a profit of $175.6 million in 2017. It returned to profitability in 2019, most recently posting earnings of $42 million in the third quarter. The company has not yet reported its fourth quarter or full-year 2019 results.

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