Allianz Cornhill is to launch five "seed" projects, including an outbound call centre, at its India offshoring operation.

Chief executive Andrew Torrance said the pilots, in personal lines, schemes, commercial lines and animal health, would begin in May at the Allianz Cornhill Information Services site.

He said the majority of the projects were "straight-forward processing activities". But one of the pilots would be an outbound call centre to "begin testing customer response".

Torrance declined to reveal which of the four business areas the call centre would be dealing with.

The initial focus for the Indian operation was software development, and Torrance said that by the end of 2003 the software operation was "up and running" with about 30 employees "cutting code".

He said that staff numbers would increase to around 100 by the middle of this year, and the company's plans to move 400 positions, or 10% of its workforce, to India by the end of 2005 remained on track.

"Based on what comes out of those pilots, we'd be looking to ramp up activities over the following 18 months," he said.