published Friday, April 1st, 2011

Called to serve

The head of HomeServe USA, which sells and services utility warranties, said it could nearly double its Chattanooga work force in a year to more than 230 people because of better than expected business.

“We have growth ambitions in the next year equal to this year,” Jonathan King, the company’s chief executive, said during a ribbon-cutting ceremony Thursday at HomeServe’s Chattanooga call center at The Pointe Centre office park.

King said HomeServe has employed 137 people in the city since moving into its office space off East Brainerd Road last November.

“We’re getting fuller faster than expected,” he said, citing a 70 percent uptick in contracts over the past year.

The company has vacant space above its ground-level call center, though more hiring depends on continued business growth, the Stamford, Conn.-based CEO said.

King calls HomeServe, which is British owned, “kind of like the AAA for home service.”

Jorge Perales, the company’s vice president of repair management, said it offers policies to fix water and sewer lines that run to and inside residences.

“Most homeowners’ insurance don’t cover” such items, he said.

Also, the company sells policies to fix heating and air-conditioning systems, water heaters and inside electrical wiring, Perales said.

From Chattanooga, HomeServe handles customer service calls as well as sales and claims handling, he said.

Hamilton County Mayor Jim Coppinger said he’s excited HomeServe has already met its original hiring goal. HomeServe announced last September it was opening a Chattanooga office in addition to a Miami customer service site.

Coppinger said EPB’s fiber-optic service played a part in the city landing the business.

“It’s paying dividends,” he said.

Chattanooga has other major employers operating key call center operations such as Convergys and T-Mobile.

about Mike Pare...

Mike Pare, the deputy Business editor at the Chattanooga Times Free Press, has worked at the paper for 27 years. In addition to editing, Mike also writes Business stories and covers Volkswagen, economic development and manufacturing in Chattanooga and the surrounding area. In the past he also has covered higher education. Mike, a native of Fort Lauderdale, Fla., received a bachelor’s degree in communications from Florida Atlantic University. he worked at the Rome News-Tribune before ...

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