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Hiscox Insurance to create hundreds of jobs with new city office
HUNDREDS of new jobs are to be created in York in the biggest single investment in the city since the 1990s, The Press can reveal today.
International insurance giant Hiscox has announced it is opening a new office in the city, as part of a multi-million-pound plan that could eventually create as many as 600 jobs.
The company is to move on to land at Hungate, alongside a new £18 million 262-bedroom hotel.
Hiscox will initially have 125 staff in York, later rising to 300 and potentially 500, while the hotel will provide a further 100 jobs.
The news has been hailed as the biggest single jobs boost for York since CPP moved to Holgate in 1999.
City council leader James Alexander said the investment showed that York was open for business and council chief executive Kersten England said Hiscox's decision to come to York demonstrates the city was a high quality business environment.
She added: "York also has an unparalleled quality of life and is consistently voted one of the top places to live in the country."
Hiscox intends to move into York in February, taking temporary office accommodation while a new office complex is built by local developers S Harrison.
It will move into its new offices, next to the Black Swan Inn in Peasholme Green, in autumn 2014, initially with 125 staff, then recruiting to a total of 300.
About 20 per cent of the jobs will be relocated from other centres, it said, with Alan Millard, chief operating officer for the UK business, relocating from the outset.
The new office will hold about 360 staff but the business has the option to extend to 500 at a later date, said Steve Langan, managing director of Hiscox UK.
Mr Langan said: “We are delighted and excited about our new office development in York.
“This is a significant investment for us, which will see 300 professional jobs come to the city. We looked throughout the UK for a new location, but were swayed by York’s unique combination of excellent infrastructure, well educated workforce and quality of life.”
City of York Council will consider and almost certainly approve the sale of the site to S Harrison at a meeting in October. The site was originally earmarked for the council’s own new headquarters before that plan was abandoned and superseded by the current West Offices development.
Coun James Alexander, leader of City of York Council, said: “With the city’s ambition to become a word-class destination for business and visitors alike, the investment signals a significant further step towards this ambition. It is potentially a pivotal moment in the development of the city centre’s future as a truly diverse and more resilient economy. The investment sends a clear message that the city is open for business.
“Bringing new businesses to the city of York has always been top of my agenda.
“From the very first conversation about Hiscox coming to York we have worked hard to support the Hiscox team in making this a reality.
“This is a great example of how City of York Council can work with partners and private companies to direct investment into the city, create more jobs and ultimately boost the city’s economy.”
The new building for Hiscox will be a multi-function office, carrying out a mix of underwriting, sales, customer service, operations, technology and other support functions.
Mr Langan said the business had outgrown its offices in some other locations, like Colchester and London, and saw an opportunity to tap into a new region for quality staff and to get closer to some of its customers.
In the end York was chosen thanks to a combination of a high quality workforce, great communication links with the rest of the UK, competitive costs, a positive and supportive executive, and superb quality of life, he said.
“We were looking for a location with good transport links to London, but outside of the London commuter belt. We needed access to a well educated workforce. So, York was an obvious candidate from the very beginning,” he said.
Company has a £1.4billion turnover
Hiscox, which is headquartered in Bermuda and London, is a £1.4 billion turnover business, which provides insurance against international catastrophes and more steady local and regional business.
The FTSE 250 company employs about 1,250 people across 28 offices in 11 countries, and also operates through Lloyd’s of London and Bermuda, underwriting global insurance and reinsurance business.
City again shows a true resilience
YORK has taken a real battering from the floods in the last couple of days.
Thankfully, the defences did what they were meant to do, and protected most of the city. We have remained very much open for business. That message is reinforced by some great news on the job and inward investment front today.
International insurance firm Hiscox has announced it will be opening a new office in York – bringing with it 300 jobs.
The company will move into temporary accommodation in February, while a new office complex is built for it in Hungate. It hopes to relocate there in autumn 2014, with 125 staff at first, rising to 300 through recruitment.
The proposed development at Hungate will also include an £18 million, 262-bed hotel, expected to create another 100 jobs.
This really is excellent news. It signals that York is a great place in which to invest and do business – so that hopefully Hiscox will be only the first of many firms that decide to locate here.
What’s more, this development may be just what is needed to kick start the redevelopment of the whole Hungate site. If that happens, it could bring further jobs, further inward investment, and help to rejuvenate the entire city centre.
The decision by Hiscox to invest in York has been the result of more than a year of hard work and discussion by the city council’s inward investment team.
That work has paid off. Hopefully this will be just the start of more good economic news to come. The council deserves a pat on the back.