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U.K. auto insurer to expand N.S. call centre

Posted on Aug 31 2010
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 "We’re recruiting non-stop in Halifax," Admiral Group founder Henry Engelhardt said during a meeting with The Chronicle Herald’s editorial board on Tuesday. "If we could find a hundred suitable people, we’d snap all them up."Admiral set up shop in Nova Scotia in 2007. It currently has about 260 people working at its Bayers Road location. Most of the incoming calls at its Halifax location come from the United Kingdom. The growing international company does not sell insurance in Canada.

"We have aggressive expansion plans in larger markets. We don’t have any immediate plans of entering the Canadian market," said Engelhardt, a Chicago native who started Admiral in Cardiff, Wales, about 17 years ago. The company wants to hire 90 people for entry-level positions that offer training, benefits and a mix of employee perks such as a shared ownership plan. Salaries start at $24,000 per year.

Admiral Group employees receive shares in the company worth about $5,000 each year. The share distribution amounted to about $600,000 in the Halifax office this year. "People look and think they see just another call centre but we are an entirely different sort of company," said Engelhardt. Admiral continues to rank highly in various employer surveys in Canada and the United Kingdom, he said.

The company has more than two million policy holders in the United Kingdom and employs more than 4,000 people in six countries. Engelhardt said the company decided to open an office in Halifax to take advantage of the time difference.

"It was an alternative to forcing our people in the United Kingdom to work evenings," the Admiral Group founder said. The company had great success finding service-focused staff in Nova Scotia and customers in the United Kingdom like the way English is spoken in eastern Canada, he said.

Half-year financial results just released by Admiral indicate the company increased profit by 21 per cent over the first half of 2009.

Admiral announced its intention to expand the Halifax operation in August, 2008. The plan to hire as many as 400 new people was supported by Nova Scotia Business Inc. in the form of a payroll rebate that was worth up to a maximum of $2.8 million.
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