Clearcover Inc., a Chicago-based auto insurance company, plans to open a virtual office in Detroit, a move that will create 300 jobs.
Hiring, which began Tuesday, will be for remote work, as the company is operating remotely due to COVID-19.
The company looked for physical office space in Detroit prior to the pandemic, and that’s a possibility for the future, said Heidi Craun, Clearcover’s head of customer experience.
“What we are committed to are two different things,” Craun said. “One is hiring Detroit talent and creating up to 300 jobs over the next few years and two, maintaining our team members health and safety as our top priority. So we’re very excited to expand our presence in Detroit as well as be back in our Chicago office together, but in the interest of everyone’s safety and wellbeing the entire Clearcover team continues to work remotely and we’ll continue to evaluate that as time goes on.”
The Michigan Strategic Fund Board awarded Clearcover on Tuesday nearly $4 million in state incentives as it expands in the region with a second office: a $3.5 million Michigan Business Development Program grant and a $400,000 Jobs Ready Michigan Program grant, according to the Michigan Economic Development Corporation.
Clearcover’s desire for an office in Detroit was sparked by its need to increase customer engagement, according to a briefing memo on the project from the MEDC.
“The company is focused on developing a new customer experience center to enable continued growth and a best in class customer experience…” MEDC staff wrote in the memo. “The Company will seek prospective employees with critical thinking skills who can thrive in a fast-paced environment.”
The office will handle claims and underwriting and require 303 jobs. A four-year degree is not required for any of the positions, according to the memo.
Clearcover has said that it is committed to hiring qualified Detroiters and will seek candidates through the city’s Detroit at Work and Detroit Economic Growth Corporation as well as posting positions online.
In the future, the company may add software engineering positions to the office, according to the memo.
When Clearcover first considered an expansion, it started with a national job search to gauge the talent pool in various cities, Craun said.
“Overwhelmingly the people of Detroit brought something really special,” she said. “They had the skill sets that we looked in terms of communication skills, resilience, empathy, technical aptitude, all critical components of being successful in customer experience roles.”
Clearcover, founded in 2016, evaluated opening a second location in places including Michigan, Indiana and Wisconsin.
“Even though the analysis revealed the cost of doing business was higher in Michigan, the Company believes a Michigan location offers a strong talent pool to fill its high-wage positions and believes that a market like Detroit can amplify its branding better than the competing markets,” the memo read. “While the Company continues to express its desire to locate in Detroit, incentive assistance is necessary to help offset the financial
disadvantage of locating in Michigan.”
The Michigan Business Development Program grant will cover capital investment costs while the Jobs Ready Michigan Program grant will cover recruitment and training expenses.
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