By Dan Hust
ROCK HILL Despite months of efforts to save them, the 50 full-timers employed at Frontier Insurance will lose their jobs by the end of the year, officials said yesterday.
“There is a possibility they could pull those jobs immediately to the city,” Legislator Ira Steingart told his colleagues at Thursday’s Community and Economic Development Committee.
He was speaking of the NYS Financial Services Department, which has been ordered by the courts to liquidate Frontier, which has been in state-controlled rehabilitation since it became insolvent a decade ago.
Sullivan County Industrial Development Agency (IDA) CEO Allan Scott told legislators that local and state officials had been working successfully to preserve the 50 jobs, but then the federal government which is owed money by Frontier, said Scott unexpectedly pushed the courts to decide on a class of creditors, which resurrected the liquidation plans the state had been considering.
Local leaders, in fact, had claimed in January the jobs were “saved” for at least another year and a half.
“The county and everybody did all they could humanly do in preserving those jobs as long as possible,” Scott explained.
But pending a final court ruling expected in the next month or two, it appears likely all 50 jobs will be gone by the end of this year, he added unless another insurance company moves in, which is considered a remote possibility at this point. A company called Lancer tried to become Frontier’s successor, but Scott told legislators “it just didn’t work out, and it’s unfortunate for Sullivan County.”
Steingart said Frontier no longer writes insurance but will continue to service existing policies until those policies expire, known as a “run-off.”
The Frontier building, a landmark in Rock Hill for the past two decades, will be put up for sale by the state, said Scott, who is already talking with interested buyers. The IDA technically holds the property’s title due to a PILOT program from years back, but he said the state has the authority to sell the building.
Legislators in the committee yesterday unanimously passed a resolution requesting the state’s Liquidation Bureau to allow the remaining “run-off” business to be conducted in Rock Hill, rather than moving the jobs to New York City, but Scott admitted that’s likely just delaying the inevitable.