Belfast Telegraph

Hughes Insurance to employ 20 new staff and invest £2m in its premises

Northern Ireland’s biggest independent insurance broker is to invest £2m in expanding its headquarters, it announced today.

Hughes Insurance said the expansion would double the size of its premises in Newtownards and enable it to create 200 new jobs in north Down.

The broker said it was already recruiting 20 new employees to cater for its growing customer base.

Gareth Brady, chief executive of Hughes Insurance, said: “The expansion of our premises in Newtownards is absolutely essential — we are literally bursting at the seams and have had to relocate our fast growing commercial insurance department to nearby rental accommodation to relieve the pressure on space.

“Our employment projections indicate that we need to be in a position to cater for up to 200 new employees as soon as 2011 with 20 new staff already being recruited to cope with customer demand.”

If the company recruits 200 staff as planned in the next two years, it will increase its workforce to over 400.

The company has secured planning permission for the 20,000 sq ft extension. Work began on the site yesterday and is due to finish in the middle of next year. The company moved its commercial division to Sketrick House in Newtownards last month.

A spokesman said: “The expansion is a result of the local broker’s growing share of the Northern Ireland insurance market which is due to the company’s ability to combine the best deals with the best cover.”

The investment in the headquarters expansion follows a £1m expansion of the company’s branch network in 2008 which increased the number of branches from eight to 12.

Belfast Telegraph