Farmers New World Insurance leaving Mercer Island

One of Island’s largest employers relocating to Bellevue.

Farmers New World Life Insurance will be leaving Mercer Island this year after more than six decades operating out of the city.

Information from the company was scarce, but Farmers spokesperson Carly Kraft said they were moving to a location in Bellevue. They anticipate the full move to be completed by the end of 2018.

“We’ve been proud to call Mercer Island home for decades,” Kraft said.

The move will effect around 400 employees. Kraft declined to give a specific reason for the move, saying business needs had evolved and that the new office would benefit employees.

Mercer Island Chamber of Commerce Executive Director Laurie Givan didn’t expect the announcement to hurt the city’s economy if a new tenant was found soon. Commercial real estate is in high demand on Mercer Island, Givan said.

New World Life Insurance was started in Spokane in 1910 and moved to Seattle in 1930. The company was bought by Farmers Underwriters Association in 1953 when it was given its current name.

In 1958 the company moved to Mercer Island and opened its current location in 1982.

The property was sold to investors in 2005, but Farmers signed a 15-year lease to remain in the building, which should have ran through 2020. It is unclear why this was changed.

King County GIS records indicate CLF Mercer Island LLC owns the plot, which Farmers sits on with an appraised value of $39 million as of 2018. In 2005 the total taxable value registered on the company’s website was $16 million.

Farmers cut 60 jobs in 2010, but still had around 600 employees at the Mercer Island facility at the time. The company is one of the largest employers on Mercer Island.

Farmers New World owning company, Farmers Insurance Company, is one of the largest insurance groups in the U.S.