Belfast Telegraph

Insurance giant ready to expand its Tyrone offices as workforce grows

By John Mulgrew

Insurance giant Allstate is expanding its offices in Co Tyrone as it grows its workforce here, it can be revealed.

Allstate NI employs around 500 staff at its base in Strabane, and has grown its workforce to around 2,200 across Northern Ireland.

Now, the company has submitted a planning application to extend the building, as well as adding a new entrance lobby, kitchen and canteen.

The revamp will also include a new ground floor to "accommodate additional staff", as well as adding new car park spaces at the Orchard Road Industrial Estate site.

Architects WDR & RT Taggart are behind the scheme, which is currently at the early stages of the planning process.

It comes as work has begun on the company's new £30m headquarters in Belfast.

Allstate's new six-storey head office will be based close to Central Station in the city centre, and will create 150 construction jobs over the next two years.

The development will feature sociable working spaces, a restaurant, outdoor terrace and software development labs.

Allstate bought the land from Belfast City Council last year in a deal worth approximately £1.7m.

In an interview with the Belfast Telegraph earlier this month, Allstate's managing director here said he wants the business to grow its reach and role in Northern Ireland.

John Healy said: "We are looking to see what else we can do for the corporation - opportunities in legal services, the finance and accounting side of things."

Allstate is a global insurance firm, with headquarters in Chicago. The company specialises in IT and support in the province.

Speaking about the impact of Brexit, Mr Healy said: "Brexit is undoubtedly a big issue for the business community. As a large foreign exporter, the fall in sterling has been advantageous.

"From a cost perspective, we are 15% cheaper than we were before the vote.

"The medium to long-term concern is the access to talent.

"If anything happened from an investment perspective that damages that, it would have major impact. "One of the risks could be (staff reconsidering coming to work here)."

Allstate now boasts a workforce of around 2,200 staff, the majority of which are in Belfast, with 400 in Londonderry and 500 in Strabane.

The company was formed out of Northbrook Technology, before being rebranded 10 years later under the Allstate banner.

In its latest set of accounts, Allstate turned losses into big pre-tax profits of £5.6m in the space of a year.

It also saw its turnover for 2015 increase by more than £10m to almost £90m.

It turned around a loss of £1.85m in 2014 to post strong profits of £5.6m.

Allstate says it expects to maintain a "stable headcount" in 2016, while "continuing to balance profitability with global competitiveness".

In the company's directors' report, it says: "The directors believe that the company is well placed to manage business risk successfully despite the current uncertain economic outlook."

It adds that it has "sufficient financial resources for normal operations".

Belfast Telegraph