Insurance giant adding more than 600 jobs in Forsyth County

A Winston-Salem insurance company is planning an expansion that will bring 626 jobs to the city.

National General Management Corp. will receive a $5.6 million job development grant from the state if it meets hiring goals, according to the N.C. Department of Commerce.

That grant not only brings more than 600 jobs to Winston-Salem, but it also keeps the company’s operations there, as National General was contemplating moving all of its jobs out of the state. The company currently has 1,245 employees based in Forsyth County.

The N.C. Economic Investment Committee approved the state grant at a special meeting Thursday morning in Raleigh.

North Carolina was competing for the project with Baton Rouge, La., Cleveland, Ohio and Tijuana, Mexico, all areas where labor costs are lower, according to the company. Those locales also were willing to give significant incentives, with Louisiana offering $24 million, Ohio offering $16 million and Mexico willing to chip in $2.8 million, according to the Commerce Department.

National General, formerly known as GMAC Insurance Group, was founded in 1920. The company is now a subsidiary of the publicly-traded National General Holdings Corp., which is headquartered in New York.

The minimum average wage for the new jobs is $55,553, slightly above the Forsyth county average of $51,131.

The local incentive match from both Winston-Salem and Forsyth County are not yet finalized, according to David Rhoades, a spokesman for Commerce. But a presentation given at the Economic Investment Committee meeting noted it would be around $400,000.

The incentive agreement also includes $688,600 in training grants for the North Carolina Community College System

This story will be updated.