The help-desk team helps employees with IT issues, and needed to be in the same Eastern and Central time zones as the majority of the insurer's employees, the company said.

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Liberty Mutual laid off 40 employees in Seattle last month when the insurer moved its information technology help-desk team into other U.S. offices.

The team helps employees with IT issues, and needed to be in the same time zones as the majority of employees — Eastern and Central time zones — a spokesman for Boston-based Liberty Mutual said.

One employee who was laid off said the company told workers the cost of doing business was part of the reason for the move, and their work could be done for less money outside Seattle. The company spokesman declined to comment on the cost considerations.

The affected employees in Seattle were informed in September and given severance pay when they were laid off Dec. 31.

Liberty Mutual’s Safeco brand is headquartered in Seattle and employs more than 1,600 people in the area.