By Harry Keaney
The Prudential Insurance Company of America has created an off-shore subsidiary, Prumerica Systems Ireland Ltd., in Letterkenny, Co. Donegal, as a programming and technology-development company.
Tánaiste Mary Harney said that it was an important strategic decision for Ireland from a leading U.S. financial corporation.
"While Ireland is home to more than 550 software companies, including the top 10 independent software companies in the world, the location of Prudential’s new office in County Donegal will offer quality opportunities for highly skilled Irish people to undertake their work in a most attractive environment," she said.
"The location will also offer a unique competitive advantage to Prudential in providing an excellent work environment and attractive lifestyle, because it is the first software project at this quality location."
Barbara Koster, chief information officer for Prudential’s insurance business unit, said Prumerica Systems Ireland will be responsible for developing and maintaining software that is utilized by Prudential’s Individual Financial Services unit to sell, administer, and service its individual life and property and casualty insurance products in the U.S. In addition, Koster said, Prumerica Systems Ireland will help Prudential achieve more efficient processing by working to integrate existing and emerging technologies.
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Paul Carmody, managing director of Prumerica Systems Ireland, praised the technology training programs in Ireland and said that recruitment will begin immediately to hire approximately 150 employees in Ireland.
Operations of Prumerica Systems Ireland will most likely begin in late summer, when construction is expected to be completed on the company’s Letterkenny office building.
Prudential, with $362 billion in assets managed and administered as of Sept. 30, 1999, is one of the largest life insurance companies in the United States and is among the largest financial institutions in the world. The 125-year-old company emplys 65,000 throughout the world.
Prudential serves more than 30 million customers worldwide, offering a variety of products and services, including life insurance, property and casualty insurance, mutual funds, annuities, pension and retirement related investments and administration, asset management, securities brokerage, and real estate and relocation.
The Donegal Employment Initiative Task Force, which has been trying to attract high-tech industries to replace the hard-hit textile industry and keep graduates in the country, hailed the U..S company’s arrival as a "huge breakthrough."
About 70 percent of Donegal’s graduates leave the county and Prudential is reminding them in its recruitment advertisements of what they are missing. "You’ve had enough of traffic jams and packed trains. Quality of life is important too," the ads say.