Auto insurer Progressive intends to hire more than 240 people at its Tampa Bay call center over the next four months to handle a surge in customers across the country.
The insurer currently employs about 2,300 at its Riverview location, one of six call centers in its network. The new phone reps, taking inbound calls from across the country, will sell policies, answer customer questions and help customers file accident claims.
"We've been hiring throughout this year, but this is the first time I've seen this kind of hiring spree in the 71/2 years I've been with the company," said Kay Krienke, recruiting supervisor at Progressive, in an interview Thursday.
Progressive, the fourth-largest auto insurance group in the country, has seen its customer base continue to grow through the recession. From August 2009 to August 2010, its policy count increased 8 percent to nearly 12 million policies.
Its search comes as the Tampa Bay area grapples with an unemployment rate of 12.6 percent, one of the hardest-hit metros in Florida.
The new jobs, which will pay $12 to $15 an hour, require a minimum of two years' post-secondary education or two years' work experience in customer service. "We're looking for energetic, customer-focused problem solvers who are passionate about offering great service," Krienke said.
Progressive said it hopes to fill the positions by Jan. 31. For more information, go to http://jobs.progressive.com.