Homeserve Plans for US Excite City

Article excerpt

Byline: JOANNE HART

THIS is the time of year that many homeowners dread - summer is over,the nights are drawing in and there is a distinct chill in the air.

All round the country, people are turning on their heating to discover that,yet again, there is a fault with the boiler and they need someone to fix it,fast. Enter Homeserve, the company that likes to think of itself as a type ofresidential AA. It provides emergency repair work for anything and everythingthat goes wrong in the home - ranging from blocked sinks to electrical failuresand defective boilers.

The company was originally partofSouthStaffordshire Water but developed into a full-scale home repair business andeventually demerged from its parent three years ago.

The group makes money from selling policies to homeowners, but it also works ona contract basis with several utilities and has agreements with leadinginsurers, providing claims management services and performing repair workfollowing break-ins and flooding.

Homeserve operates nationally and internationally. In Britain, the group has5.6 million policyholders, 1,000 direct employees and contracts work out to4,000 more. It also has a million policyholders in France and is building apresence in Spain.

City brokers are particularly excited by the group's American plans. …