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Certified to Dismantle Local Office

June 17, 1986|DANIEL AKST | Times Staff Writer

Certified Life Insurance will dismantle its Sherman Oaks headquarters, sell its Ventura Boulevard office building and dismiss an estimated 170 of its 224 headquarters employees.

Vaughn Duffin, the company's chief operating officer, said Certified will move most of its administrative operations to Chicago and its data processing to Dallas, where its parent company has facilities. He said the move should be complete by the end of December and that many staffers will be offered jobs in Chicago or Dallas.

Only the sales and agent services staffs will remain in Sherman Oaks, he said, adding that it is not clear exactly how many employees will be let go. Duffin said the company is trying to place many with other insurance firms in the area and will issue severance pay to those dismissed.

"As far as policyholders are concerned, there shouldn't be any change," Duffin said.

Certified sells life and disability insurance, and has about 107,000 policyholders nationwide, two-thirds of them in California.

Duffin said the company has agreed to sell its 14-story headquarters at 14724 Ventura Blvd. for $18 million to a buyer whose name he wouldn't disclose. The company now uses 42,000 square feet of the 142,000-square-foot tower but, after the sale, will lease just 10,000 square feet in the building.

Duffin said the company decided to sell the building before determing it should consolidate operations. He said both moves are being undertaken simply because they make good business sense, not because the company is having financial trouble.

Certified, which was formed in 1956 but didn't start selling insurance until 1961, earned $5.9 million from insurance operations after taxes last year. At year-end, it had assets of $107 million.

The company is a subsidiary of Bankers Life & Casualty in Chicago, which was acquired in 1984 by ICH Corp., a publicly held concern in Louisville, Ky.

Duffin said Certified bought its headquarters building, on Ventura near Cedros Avenue, for $6 million in 1969, and that the sale is now in escrow.

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