Centre handles smaller accounts - if the branches want them to

Arthur J Gallagher has hired 35 new staff for its Welsh SME call centre after receiving a grant from the Welsh government.

The centre exists to handle clients from Gallagher’s 73 branches if the branch and the client agree that they would be better served by a phone-based operation, as well as commercial affinity deals.

If they do transfer to the centre, each client is assigned an account executive.

“It’s about what works for the client,” regional managing director Mike Jones told Insurance Times. “If the client wants to do business face-to-face then we’ll do that in the branch.

“We’re dead against making a decision that everything below a certain amount of premium goes into the centre.”

The centre in Llantrisant was initially owned by Giles, which had won the £1.13m grant from the Welsh government and pledged to itself invest £6m in capital expenditure and hiring staff over three years.

“The model that we’ve got has been endorsed by Gallagher,” Jones, who joined from Giles, added. “With the additional branches of Oval and Gallagher it’s all about supplying our branch network with an opportunity if they want to use it.

“We created it to free up the branches if they wanted us to handle a certain amount of their clients.”

The expanded site will also handle new commercial insurance affinity deals, including those with RBS and Lloyds Bank.

The 35-strong expansion to 86 staff marks the first of three growth phases. In total, Gallagher plans to grow the operation by 117 people within 18 months.

Gallagher received £350,000, the first instalment of the grant, this week.

The Llantrisant SME centre is open from 9am until 5pm.

Rival broker Towergate this week opened a call centre in Manchester to which it plans to transfer clients that spend less than £5,000 on insurance each year. It will be open from 8am until 8pm.