Aflac outsourcing data processing jobs

Columbus-based Aflac Inc. is outsourcing data processing work — a move that affects about 225 employees, the company announced to employees last week.

Aflac is in the process of negotiating a contract with BancTec, a Dallas, Tex.-based global firm that outsources payment processing, document processing, and information and technology services.

"As Aflac continues to grow, we are constantly looking for the best ways to keep our employees engaged in delivering quality services to our customers," said Laura Kane, Aflac spokeswoman. "We believe it is the best interest of our customers to keep experienced employees focused on core business units."

The company is focusing its efforts on customer service, she said. Affected positions are back-office positions that support customer service, but don't require customer interaction.

Aflac will help affected employees — working in inbound services, electronic data management, remittance processing and parts of billing reconciliation — train for and fill other jobs within the company. This process is expected to take up to a year.

"No one has lost their jobs," Kane said.

Aflac is negotiating with BancTec, which has about 2,700 employees in 14 countries, to open a Center of Excellence in Columbus to handle the work. Aflac employees will be able to apply for those BancTec positions as well.

The announcement comes at a time when Aflac is in a hiring mode. In 2005, the company announced a $100 million multi-phase expansion of its Paul S. Amos campus at Corporate Ridge Industrial Park. The project is expected to create 2,000 new jobs over the next five years.

So far, the first phase of the project has been completed and Phase II is under construction.