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October 29, 2002
Assurant Group to Expand Lawton, Okla., Call Center
Project Will Boost Call-handling Capacity by 60% Over 12 Months
ATLANTA/MIAMI: Assurant Group, a leading provider of specialty risk management products and services for the financial services industry, plans to increase the call-handling capacity of its Lawton, Okla., call center by about 60 percent voer the next 12 months through a multimillion-dollar expansion.
Assurant said the project includes building an 18,000 square-foot addition to a 36,000 square-foot facility that it opened in March 2001 and increasing employment at the site from 230 to about 400.
"This expansion is part of an ongoing effort by Assurant to support the growth needs of our clients and to improve the overall efficiency and effectiveness of our contact center operations," said John Owen, executive vice president for information technology and consumer marketing services.
"We are very pleased with our experience in Oklahoma," Owen said. "The Lawton-Fort Sill community has a large, well-educated labor pool from which to draw employees and excellent educational institutions with whom to partner for our training needs. State and local government agencies also have been very supportive."
The Lawton center currently provides inbound retention services for banks and credit card companies who provide their customers credit insurance and other debt protection programs administered by Assurant. The expansion will enable the center to service additional bank clients from this location and begin servicing some of Assurant’s extended service contract business.
Owen said Assurant’s contact center operations are growing at a significant rate. Inbound volume in 2003 is projected to increase by a half million calls to about 5.8 million, he said.
In addition to Lawton, Assurant also operates call centers in Miami, Fla., Toronto, Ontario, and Grand Rapids, Michigan. The Toronto operation will be relocated in 2003 to a new operations center in Kingston, Ontario. The Grand Rapids facility will be closed on Nov. 29.
Tapp Development Corp. of Oklahoma City, Okla., developed the original Lawton call center and is handling the expansion. Total cost of the project, including construction and equipment, is estimated at about $4 million. Assurant leases the site.
Headquartered in Atlanta and Miami, Assurant is a leading provider of specialty risk management programs, including insurance, extended service contracts and membership programs, to financial institutions, retailers, manufactured housing companies and dealers, auto dealers and utilities. The company has more than 5,500 employees and operations in 11 states, Argentina, Brazil, Canada, Denmark, Ireland, Puerto Rico and the United Kingdom.
Assurant is part of Fortis, an international financial services provider active in insurance, banking and investment. At yearend 2001, Fortis had total assets of more than $400 billion at yearend 2001. Fortis ranks 31st based on assets and 85th based on revenues on the Fortune ‘Global 500’ (July 22, 2002) and 38th on the Forbes Global ‘Super 50’ list (July 3, 2002). Fortis is listed on the Amsterdam (FORA), Brussels (FORB) and Luxembourg (FOR LX) stock exchanges and has a sponsored ADR program (FORSY) in the United States.
Assurant Group is a service mark of Fortis, Inc.
James A. Sykes
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