By Matt Youngfrau and Dan Hust
ROCK HILL March 23, 2001 The woes of Frontier Insurance Company continued yesterday morning as 67 more employees were laid off from their jobs, equating to slightly under 10 percent of Frontiers total workforce.
And there may be more, said the companys president, Mark Mishler, in an interview yesterday.
There will be a continued loss of some jobs, mainly in the underwriting department, he said, due to the companys recent decision to no longer write insurance policies.
In a prepared statement, Harry Rhulen the president and CEO of Frontier Insurance Group, of which Frontier Insurance Company is a subsidiary said, While implementing a reduction in the workforce was difficult, it was necessary for our infrastructure and staffing levels to be adjusted during the period Frontier Insurance Company is not assuming risk. Only certain functions and positions are required to support our current business operations, and staffing levels will continue to be evaluated.
This is just the latest chapter in what has been a string of difficulties to hit the Rock Hill-based company.
In late 1999, Frontier, an underwriter and creator of specialty insurance products for niche markets, announced losses of over $200 million due to insufficient payout reserves. That report caused stock prices to plummet, and shares that were once sold for over $35 apiece dipped below a dollar. Eventually, Frontier was delisted from the New York Stock Exchange and is now listed on the Over The Counter Bulletin Board for just four cents a share (as of yesterday afternoon).
Large layoffs subsequently hit the company, and a few weeks ago, three top executives resigned.
Last week, Frontier made a deal with the state that they would no longer write new or renewal insurance policies. At the time, questions arose regarding how long the company could possibly continue.
With the latest round of layoffs, Frontier's staff is around 550 people, with 350 based in Sullivan County.
Mishler said the companys future currently is focused on acting as a managing general agency for other insurance companies.