Insurer to send K.C. jobs to Iowa

? Transamerica Occidental Life Insurance Co. is moving the bulk of its Kansas City operations to Cedar Rapids, Iowa, costing 500 jobs and alarming city officials trying to bring businesses back downtown.

The company’s corporate parent, Netherlands-based Aegon Group, announced the move Thursday, saying it wants to consolidate its insurance holdings in Cedar Rapids by the end of the year. About 50 Transamerica employees are expected to remain in Kansas City.

“We recognize the impact this consolidation will have on each of our Kansas City employees, their families and on Kansas City,” said Brenda Clancy, Transamerica’s executive vice president and chief operating officer, in a prepared statement.

Transamerica’s announcement came just days after Sprint Nextel Corp., the area’s largest private employer, announced it would cut 5,000 jobs by April, although it’s not known how many will come from its Kansas City-area work force.

Kansas City Mayor Kay Barnes considers the setback temporary, and predicted that “the vacant office space created by their departure will be filled with other employers who are anxious to be part of our new downtown.”

Aegon, based in The Hague, Netherlands, is one of the largest insurance, pension and financial services companies in the world.

Cedar Rapids holds the majority of its U.S. operations, with five other business units and 3,000 employees already located there.