South Floridas First International Insurer Plans Gables Headquarters
Written by Samantha Joseph on January 22, 2004
By Samantha Joseph
The first foreign-based international insurer with regional headquarters in South Florida hopes to open by March 1 in Coral Gables, according to city business development administrator Steve Albee.
The Danish company, International Health Insurance Danmark A/S, is negotiating a five-year lease for about 2,900 square feet of office space at 2 Alhambra Plaza, according to real estate and city administration sources. Abood Wood-Fay Real Estate Group Inc. agent Bill Cutler confirmed that his company is representing the insurer in the deal.
IHI Danmark acquired a South Florida license last October with plans to set up a sales office to serve non-US residents in North America, the Caribbean and Latin America.
The company would be the first foreign international insurer to base its regional operations in Florida, state insurance-regulation spokesman Bob Lotane confirmed.
However, in a Jan. 9 meeting with Gables administrators and the city’s Insurance Advisory Board, the company announced it would broaden the scope of its South Florida business to process regional claims.
"Before they’ve even opened their doors, they’ve doubled their size to include back office operations," said Mr. Albee. "That’s even more exciting to us."
City administrators welcomed the announcement, which helps fulfill their goal of attracting about 1,000 international companies to Coral Gables. Mr. Albee said they are especially interested in back office operations of multinational insurers and hope these companies will choose the city for staff training seminars.
"It would greater use of our restaurants, hotels, more shopping, and would have a tremendous financial impact."
IHI Danmark’s regional operation will employ 150 sales people nationally and internationally, and about 15-20 to man the Gables office. "A lot of these are brokers who would come here for training," Mr. Albee said. "We like that a lot."
Florida public records show that the company employs more than 5,000 people worldwide and that it reported $12 million in income last year and assets of about $147 million.
Danish businessmen, Per Bay Jorgensen, who will serve as managing director, and Peter Jenkins, the local general manager, are expected to arrive in South Florida from Denmark in about one month. Mr. Albee said the company plans to hire a Floridian to manage the office.