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Federated Purchase Of Robinson's May Provokes Thoughts Of Pasadena Only
By Pauline Grant - March 29, 2005

Some weeks ago, it was announced that The Federated purchased May Department Stores for approximately 11 billion dollars.  And, at the time, all of us who relate somehow to claims handling, even if we only write about it, knew to some extent what that meant.


Every Mall we go to in California, from The Oaks Mall to South Coast Plaza, to Del Amo Fashion Square, to the Sherman Oaks Galleria to the Glendale Galleria, has a Robinson’s May on one end and a Macy’s on the other.  It’s like a Peanut Butter and Jelly sandwich: it’s always two pieces of bread stuck together by their respective spread. Of course, I assume that most of you readers know that Macy’s is owned by The Federated, so... if Federated now owns Robinson’s May, then… they are both one and the same.  There are not two any more stuck together in a single Mall: the two have really become one. 


They live together and no longer in separate apartments.  Robinson’s May will most likely close (we can all conjecture) if Macy’s is now going to play patriarch and carry the name.  All Robinson’s Mays should most likely close in each of dozens of Malls in California, since Federated (Macy’s) will now carry the name and the identity.  Will Federated need all of the space currently occupied by both Robinson’s Mays and Macy’s?  It’s doubtful, since they have moved into the same house.  Marriage drops the rent and the mortgage in most cases. Sleeping in the same bed, dining at the same dining room table, and lounging upon the same living room couch cuts down on space.  Thus, any normal person of reasonable intelligence can assume that the Robinson’s May purchase by The Federated will drastically cut down on space.  Mall space will be freed up, and Nordstrom’s or I. Magnum’s can move in.  What about Neiman Marcus?  This marriage will provide opportunity for others. 


So, now let’s get down to claims administration.  The Federated now has a serious claims administration office in Pasadena.  Robinson’s May has one in Redondo Beach.  It seems to me that in our patriarchal society, according to tradition which means WHO HAS THE MONEY; that all claims will soon shack up in Pasadena under the Federated name.


It’s funny to me how nobody wanted to talk about this.  I emailed several claims examiners, supervisors, and the few claims managers at both companies requesting comments and predictions on what’s going to happen in the near future.  What’s there not to talk about?  There’s nothing weird to say!   There’s really nothing anybody could utter that would be off beat, unless it were something really way out.  The current Federated claims office will most likely get all the claims from both companies coming into Pasadena if tradition is to be followed according to “money talks”; and there’s nothing anybody can say that could be construed to be offensive if stated according to natural history.  The only thing that I could imagine could be offensive would be if someone wanted to use the “f” word to describe The Federated’s purchase of Robinson’s May, or something outlandishly rude such as something like that.  Otherwise, everything seems pretty cut and dried. 


Rob Crawford, the claims manager of The Federated's self-insured, self-administered work comp and disability claims department in Pasadena, said, "Pauline--I appreciate the interest, however, I am unable to comment." Okay, I can handle that.  He doesn't want to comment.  Got it.  Whatever.  


Tom Der, the claims supervisor under Rob Crawford in The Federated’s claims department said, “I am unable to make any comments at the present time.”  Okay.  Same thing.  It’s the proverbial “no comment”. Got it again.    


But, Darlene Miller, a claims examiner at Robinson’s May, said when I asked her what she thought would happen with the two separate claims departments now that Federated has purchased Robinson’s May, “I have not given any of it any thoughts at this time. Thanks.”


Now, that’s a confident individual who knows she will have a job no matter what, and that if change takes place it’s not going to worry her.  She doesn’t need any Xanax.  She knows she’ll be handling claims no matter where they are domiciled. 


I say that both departments will merge into the Pasadena Federated claims department location, and all the claims personnel in Redondo Beach will most likely be offered jobs in Pasadena.  Obviously, some will accept and some will decline, most likely because of the commute, and those who decline will find claims examining positions nearest to their homes.  After all, a claim is a claim is a claim.  An experienced claims adjuster can work anywhere and on any case load. 


I heard through the grapevine that Ken Klee, the Claims Director of Robinson’s May, presently but probably not for long in Redondo Beach, is annoyed at headhunters bugging his examiners to death since the purchase of Robinson’s by The Federated was announced.  I don’t blame him.  What a headache to have to staff a department with temps or whatever when you yourself will most likely have to make a change to Pasadena or elsewhere to find a job soon.  Headhunters like vultures perched in trees can be very anxiety provoking.  He told someone I know that he might be working for Rob Crawford soon, and wondered if Rob Crawford is a nice guy and a decent manager.


I have heard through the grapevine that Rob Crawford is a very nice guy and a fine claims manager, so according to rumor I will guess that if Ken Klee winds up working for Rob, he will be in very fine shape.






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