Governor Allen Dedicates GE Financial Assurance International Headquarters
-- Also Announces Lowest October Unemployment in a Quarter-Century - -
Henrico County - Governor George Allen today dedicated GE Financial Assurance's new international headquarters in the Brookfield office park. The Henrico County Headquarters brings a $15 million investment and will create 200 new jobs, in addition to the 130 new jobs also created by GE in Lynchburg.
"GE Financial Assurance's International Headquarters here in Henrico County already has, and will continue to, draw more financial capital to Virginia," said Governor Allen. "The presence of GE Financial Assurance's Headquarters strategically positions Virginia to become a center for insurance and financial services companies, benefiting the greater Richmond area and the our entire Commonwealth. In this holiday season, GE Financial Assurance's job-creating investments have given Virginians a wonderful gift that will keep on giving Virginia families and companies more financial assurance about their future."
Governor Allen also announced today that Virginia's unemployment rate plummeted from 4.1 percent in September to 3.5 percent in October. The 3.5 percent unemployment level was the best for the month of October in 24 years, since 3.2 percent in October 1973. The October rate was the lowest for any individual month in 8 1/2 years since 3.3 percent in April 1989. The October Virginia jobless rate was also well below both the 4.2 percent October 1996 Virginia level and the 4.4 percent U.S. October 1997 unemployment rate.
"This outstanding news for working families in Virginia confirms the invigorating promise of our Virginia Renaissance," said Governor Allen. "When one contemplates the enormous impact of securing economic development successes like GE Financial Assurance's location of their International Headquarters and Motorola's $3 billion investment and 2,500 new jobs plus the multiplier effect, the future looks even brighter for Virginians."
To help attract the relocation project, Virginia developed an innovative proposal to provide a tax credit to level the playing field for qualified insurance companies headquartered in the Commonwealth for the "retaliatory tax" they pay for policies written in other States with lower gross premium taxes. The proposal is subject to General Assembly approval in 1998.
A subsidiary of GE Capital Services, GE Financial Assurance ranks between the 10th and 15th largest insurance provider in the nation by virtue of its 1996 acquisitions of Virginia-based First Colony Life Insurance and Life of Virginia. GE Financial Assurance provides products and package solutions for wealth accumulation, wealth transfer and wealth and lifestyle protection. It accomplishes this through life insurance, long-term care, fixed and variable annuities, and supplementary accident and health products.
"GE Financial Assurance is an important strategic business for GE and GE Capital Services," said Mike Fraizer, president of GE Financial Assurance. "Our decision to establish GE Financial Assurance's headquarters in Virginia further extends a business commitment to the Commonwealth that began with our Life of Virginia operation in 1871. But more importantly, we're excited about the future and the strong platform this great state provides for business growth."
GE Capital Services, with assets over $225 billion, is a global, diversified financial services company with 27 specialized businesses. A wholly-owned subsidiary of General Electric Company, GE Capital Services, based in Stamford, Connecticut, provides equipment management, mid-market and specialized financing, specially insurance and a variety of consumer services such as car leasing, home mortgages and credit cards, to businesses and individuals around the world.
The Virginia Economic Development Partnership, the Greater Richmond Partnership, the Henrico County Industrial Development Authority, and the City of Lynchburg assisted the company with its decision. An agreement was reached between GE Capital representatives and State officials less than three weeks from the day negotiations began in February of this year. Governor Allen has approved workforce training services through the Virginia Department of Business Assistance which will also provide staffing assistance in both Richmond and Lynchburg.
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