Workplace

Leawood-based SelectQuote is on a hiring spree

Updated: 2013-06-11T22:54:13Z

By BEN UNGLESBEE

The Kansas City Star

SelectQuote, which recently transplanted to Leawood from Kansas City, will hold an open house at its new offices today to recruit potential candidates to its sales staff.

Marc Wheeler, a SelectQuote spokesman, said most of the open positions will be in sales, with some support staff openings as well. Altogether, the insurance services company plans to hire 120 employees by June 24, plus an additional 40 by July 22.

The annual salary range for the sales positions is $60,000 to $70,000, the company said.

The event starts at 3 p.m. and is open to the public. “We think an open house is an opportunity for people to get a feel for who we are, and that’s important,” Wheeler said.

SelectQuote made news last year when it left its Kansas City location and consolidated its operations a few blocks away but across the state line in Leawood.

The move came with a bouquet of incentives from the state of Kansas worth $5 million, most of it from the Promoting Employment Across Kansas, or PEAK, program. It allows employers to pocket 95 percent of their employee’s state income taxes for up to five to seven years in exchange for bringing jobs to the state.

SelectQuote’s end of the bargain called for it to create 290 jobs in Kansas during the next five years. The company also said it would invest $12 million in its office facilities.

The pivot to Kansas was one more skirmish in an ongoing duel of tax giveaways and rhetoric between Kansas and Missouri lawmakers. Critics in both states have attacked the tax incentives as ineffective and a drain on their respective state budgets.

Last summer Missouri’s state auditor rated the Missouri Quality Jobs program, a tax incentive program similar to PEAK, as “poor” because of shoddy information collection and for the simple fact that it did not create as many jobs it was supposed to have.

For its part, SelectQuote has grown and added jobs since moving to Kansas. In the last month, the company has formed new partnerships with three Kansas City area companies—Hallmark Cards, Lockton Cos. and Ferrellgas—to provide insurance services. The company generated revenue of $6.1 million in fiscal 2012.

Wheeler said the company has hired 50 new employees along with the 85 to 90 people it brought from its Kansas City division when it consolidated. Added up with the 160 new recruits it plans to hire over the summer, and the company is on pace to come through with the 290 jobs it promised to Kansas.

Much of SelectQuote’s growth has come through its SelectQuote Senior’s division, which offers insurance coverage for those who are Medicare-eligible. The current hiring blitz is largely preparation for the Medicare open-enrollment period that begins in the fall.

To reach Ben Unglesbee, call 816-234-4072 or send email to bunglesbee@kcstar.com.

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