Brown & Brown steps up hiring plans

DAYTONA BEACH — Brown & Brown’s planned 10-story downtown headquarters tower is slated to be completed by October 2020, but the insurance brokerage giant will likely fulfill its pledge to create at least 600 new jobs locally well before that date.

Chairman J. Hyatt Brown told a gathering of local business leaders and elected officials Wednesday night that his company plans to relocate profit centers here from the Detroit and Boston areas, which will create a total of 700 jobs.

The planned $30 million headquarters campus on North Beach Street, which is expected begin construction later this year, and the new jobs the company is bringing “will be a catalyst for the downtown area,” Brown told attendees of the Volusia County Association for Responsible Development’s annual dinner.

“All of what’s going to happen down there is going to happen explosively,” he said, adding that he knows of other developers who are considering projects that will create housing in downtown Daytona Beach that will boost business for Beach Street restaurants and shops and allow Brown & Brown employees opportunities to live within walking distance of the planned headquarters campus.

The company has pledged in its agreements with the state and Volusia County that the new jobs it will create locally between now and the end of 2022 would pay an average of at least $41,300 a year, well above the current average wage for workers in the county.

Brown told The News-Journal that his company intends to begin relocating those profit center operations here before the completion of the future headquarters campus. “We can’t afford to wait that long,” he said.

In order to accommodate those additional workers, Brown & Brown is already working to reconfigure its current five-story 75,000-square-foot headquarters building at 220 S. Ridgewood Ave. to increase its capacity to between 450 and 500 people, up from just over 300 currently.

The company also recently leased temporary office space in the Martin & Klayer building on the corner of Palmetto Avenue and West International Speedway Boulevard and also has a leased office space on Clyde Morris Boulevard.

Brown & Brown, which employed approximately 350 workers in Daytona Beach when it announced its plans for its future headquarters on Sept. 1, now employs approximately 400 people locally, including more than 20 new trainees, Brown said.

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