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Expansion could bring 250 easily accessible jobs

BIG PLANS: Auto and General Insurance Company CEO Ram Kangatharan and Sunshine Coast Mayor Mark Jamieson check out the design of the expanded offices at the Kawana site.
BIG PLANS: Auto and General Insurance Company CEO Ram Kangatharan and Sunshine Coast Mayor Mark Jamieson check out the design of the expanded offices at the Kawana site. Greg Gardner Photography

ONE of the Sunshine Coast's biggest employers has the potential to double its workforce within two years after the announcement of an expansion.

The Auto and General Insurance Company employs 270 staff in sales and claims services at its call centre in Kawana and will build a second office capable of housing 250 more.

Auto and General's brands include Budget Direct and Compare the Market, which contribute $15 million to the local economy.

Located close to the Sunshine Coast University Hospital, the development was planned with the hospital staffs' spouses in mind.

Many of the new jobs will require no prior training as Auto and General has its own four-week induction and a further eight-week support program for new employees.

CEO Ram Kangatharan said the quality of employees from the Sunshine Coast was a big factor in the company's decision to stay locally.

"The staff we have in our call centre are truly remarkable, we have the best in the industry," he said.

"Our efficiency ratios and retention rates are some of the highest in Australia, which is a large part of our success.

"We just had our 15-year celebration and the number of people we still have since we opened is amazing, because usually people assume call centres have high turnover. The last time I was here there were 32 (original staff)."

The company started in 1999 as four people in a room and now it is one of the leading challenger brands to Australia's big insurance companies such as Suncorp.

Kim Kelliher was one of the first people employed by the company, where she met her partner Daniel.

"I started 14 years ago and I was his (Daniel's) manager at the time, so I was in a position of power," Kim joked.

"The culture is great, you always seem to be included and your opinion is sought, although I give my opinion whether it's sought or not.

"There's a great support network and a very inclusive environment."

Sunshine Coast Mayor Mark Jameison said the expansion was essential to the council's economic targets.

"This supports the regional vision of growing our economy from $13 billion to $33 billion by 2033," he said.

Topics:  business development employment growth jobs sunshine coast



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