The office will open in June to help handle the huge volume of claims coming into Aon IRISC's existing Sheffield, Cardiff and Edinburgh offices.

Aon IRISC, a division of Aon Managed Services, has held the Department of Trade and Industry contract to handle the claims from British Coal Corporation ex-employees since 1998.

Around the time Aon IRISC won the prestigious contract, British Coal was found to be liable for respiratory diseases such as bronchitis, emphysema and vibration white finger.

It was the biggest piece of personal injury litigation ever to pass through the English and Welsh courts.

Aon IRISC's three offices have already received more than 300,000 claims and strategic operations manager Jon Glanfield said that he expected more to come in.

Glanfield said the 200 jobs were for management staff and claims handlers.

"We're looking for people who are experienced in the claims handling environment, preferably on the liability side, but we'll be looking at people from different backgrounds that we can train," he said.

He said Aon IRISC also held the contract for administering the National Concessionary Fuel Office and was seeking more government contracts.

The company is recruiting through its website at www.bigclaims.co.uk.