May 24 2013 Latest news:
BY duncan brodie
Thursday, May 31, 2012
INSURANCE and savings business LV= is to create 120 new jobs in Ipswich, following a year of expansion which has already seen it recruit around 200 more people in the town.
Peter Horton, the mutual firm’s chief operating officer, was in Ipswich today to perform the official opening of an extension which has seen it move into a third floor within Crown House, in Crown Street.
The operation is a major claims handling centre for the firm’s motor insurance business, dealing with customer and third party claims including vehicle accent repairs and write-offs, fire and theft, personal injury and property claims.
It is the firm’s centre of excellence for commercial motor insurance, including company car fleets, vans, trucks and private hire vehicles.
LV=’s presence in Ipswich began with its acquisition five years ago of the former Highway business, which at the time had around 90 people in the town.
After a period of steady growth, the total has increased from 130 to 330 in the past year and the aim now is to increase the total of 450 as quickly as possible, in order to fill the additional space.
Mr Horton was part of a four-strong turnaround team which was brought in at LV= in 2006, since when it has risen from 16th place to fourth in the rankings of UK motor insurance providers, and the expansion in Ipswich is a reflection of this growth.
“We are growing new jobs,” said Mr Horton. “We are not taking people from offices somewhere else and closing them. This is about expansion.”
Ipswich is now the second-largest claims centre within the group, the largest being in Bournemouth. LV= also has branches in Basildon, Brentwood, Bristol, Croydon and Huddersfield.
Mr Horton said Ipswich was chosen from among a number of options as a location for expansion because of the quality of the existing team’s performance.
He said he was aware of Ipswich as a major centre for insurance, having been involved in the opening of an office for Churchill in the town earlier in his career, and he praised the “spirit and calibre” of the team at the LV= offices, and the high staff retention and low absenteeism figures being achieved.
“We are a mutual which means we can be competitive with our premiums but we also aim to provide a great experience on the service side,” he said.
“The important difference over the past five years has been our people. We have got great marketing and pricing, but it is the way our people deal with customers which is really important.”
Many of the new jobs would be trainee roles, he added, giving existing employees opportunities to progress within the business.
Ipswich Borough Council leader David Ellesmere said today: “This is excellent news for Ipswich and for the company.
“Attracting and maintaining jobs is the borough council’s top priority and we will continue to help firms large and small with their development plans.”