A jobs boom is under way at Walsall-based Homeserve, the fast-growing home emergency services group.
The company, which demerged from the South Stafforshire Water company last year, plans doubling its staff at Walsall from 750 to about 1,500 over the next three or four years.
A new building next to Homeserve's Green Lane office will accommodate an extra 200 staff by September, chief executive Richard Harpin said.
And, for good measure, the company is to close a call centre in India and repatriate the work to the UK following its £11 million acquisition of Nottingham-based rival Sergon last December.
"We don't believe you can handle insurance claims from afar and so we will close Sergon's call centre in India and transfer the work to the UK," Mr Harpin said.
Homeserve, this year's winner of The Birmingham Post Shareleague competition, yesterday posted strong increases in sales and profits for the year to 31 March.
The figures, which follow a series of disposals that saw the group move out of commercial services to concentrate on the domestic sector, show that turnover of its continuing operations rose by 31.8 per cent to £223 million.
Operating profit for the period rose by 30.8 per cent to £42.4 million and at the pre-tax level, earnings were
29.3 per cent ahead at £42 million.
Underlying earnings per share rose by 29.7 per cent to
46.7p and the total dividend is
19.4 per cent ahead at 16p.
Homeserve, whose profits are heavily skewed towards the second half of the year, reported strong growth in all areas of the business.
It now protects a total
32.9 million households across the UK from disasters ranging from burst pipes and blocked drains to broken windows and locks and stained upholstery.
As well as its own branded policies, it also handles domestic claims for insurers such as Direct Line and Norwich Union.
With the UK market pretty well sewn up, the next move for Homeserve will be to export its business model to countries where homes are nowhere near as comprehensively covered for expensive mishaps.
In France, Domeo, a joint venture with Veolia Water in which Homeserve has a 49 per cent stake, has just made its first full year operating profit and grew the number of policies it serves by 75 per cent to 280,000.
The scope for further growth is highlighted by the fact that there are 12 million owner occupied homes in France,
4.5 million of which take their water from Veolia's Generale des Eaux brand.
But the real boom could come in the US where Homeserve has just acquired Leakguard's business in New Jersey and Idaho to add to its existing Miami-based operation.
"The US market offers enormous potential for Homeserve with 57 million owner occupied houses and a general propensity to purchase insurance products," Mr Harpin said. The company is also looking at South Australian Water which provides access to half a million homes.