March 29, 1998

The Travelers Grows Quickly

 

The hard work being done by Spokane’s business recruiters is paying off in new jobs for local residents.

Want examples?

The Travelers Property Casualty Group is a good one; the large, national insurance company opened its doors here in January and will be looking to hire at the Career Fair.

“We now have a staff of 85 in Spokane, and we would like to hire up to 150 positions this year,” said Brad Seaton, director of Human Resources at Travelers’ Spokane office.

Describing that first-year growth curve as “a little more aggressive than we expected,” Seaton said it’s a sign that the marriage of town and company is working out.

“Our commitment to Spokane has always been there, and this is a clear signal. It has always been our plan that over the next three years we will have over 500 jobs here.”

The Travelers operates a call center from Spokane, part of a growing network of sales and service operations that extends across the nation.

“Our call-center programs started in Knoxville, which is in the Eastern time zone, and we have a center in Houston, which is in the Central zone. We wanted another location in the Mountain or Pacific zones.

“We wanted to go into a market where we could add value,” Seaton said, “where our presence would be a positive thing. We also looked at the demographics of the area, the quality of life and the quality of the workforce.”

Like most relocating companies, the quality of education plays a major role in the decision to move.

“We looked at the educational infrastructure,” Seaton said, “and we saw that with the community college structure and the state schools the educational commitment was there.”

Seaton explained that The Travelers’ Spokane office serves two primary functions, sales and service, and he will be hiring to fill positions in both areas.

“Our sales counselors are going to quote and sell auto and homeowners policies over the phone to people throughout the U.S. who have expressed an interest,” he said.

“This is not cold-calling; these are leads which have been developed and need to be followed-up on.

“We have a strong customer focus,” Seaton said. “The goal is not to oversell or undersell; we want to make sure we meet the needs of the customer.

“We want to consult with the customer, to make sure they have adequate insurance.”

Skills required for a sales position include strong communications skills - of both the verbal and listening variety - and the ability to learn the insurance business and pass the Washington State Property Casualty exam, which is required of all Travelers employees.

Applicants should have “solid keyboard and technology skills,” Seaton said, ” and the ability to listen over the phone and type as you go, without being distracted by the computer.

Previous sales experience is preferred.

“We’re looking for a strong work ethic, a positive attitude and the flexibility to accept change,” he added.

Base salary for a sales position is between $17-19,000 per year, but incentives can bump that to $25,000.

“Above-average and outstanding people are going to make a lot more than that,” Seaton said.

At the show, Seaton will also be hiring agent service consultants.

These employees are responsible for helping to qualify sales leads which are generated by the sales staff of Primerica, a sister company to the Travelers which provides financial consulting to individuals.

Agent service consultants, who do no selling, should earn between $18,000 and $20,000.

And all new hires participate in an eight-week training program aimed at helping them earn their Property Casualty license, a major advantage of going to work at the Travelers, Seaton said: “We offer licensing, which is a marketable skill. You take your license with you if you leave.”


Thoughts and opinions on this story? Click here to comment >>

Get stories like this in a free daily email