Assurant moves into new home

DULUTH - One of Gwinnett's largest private employers officially moved into its 70,000-square-foot, second home on Thursday. The new space is so large and vast, three laps around it equals one mile.

When Assurant Specialty Property completely fills up this second Gwinnett location with employees, it could become the county's largest private employer. And that's a realistic possibility with the company expanding its vehicle title services and collateral protection divisions into its new service center at 2975 Breckinridge Blvd.

"Our company is in the fortunate position of being able to continue to look forward in the current environment," said Gene Mergelmeyer, Assurant's President and CEO. "This new center illustrates our commitment to our clients in the auto industry and to being well positioned to support their businesses and to seek additional clients when the economy begins to recover."

The company's other Gwinnett location at 2405 Commerce Ave. is about a mile away and already houses about 1,000 employees. With 85 new jobs created at the new center and with some employees transferring offices, Assurant now employs about 1,175 people total in Gwinnett.

The new Breckinridge Center, which Assurant invested more than $6 million into, has been configured to accommodate 685 employees and 700 vehicles in the parking lot. If the second building is eventually filled to capacity, Assurant would rival other private employers like Cisco, Primerica and Fiserv as being the county's largest outside of retail and food services giants like Publix, Wal-Mart, Kroger and Waffle House.

"Gwinnett offers a quality labor pool, and that made it an excellent location to expand our business," said James Hankish, a manager at the Breckinridge location.

District 1 Commissioner Shirley Lasseter was quite impressed following her tour of Assurant's new digs.

"Seeing companies, like Assurant, continue to grow and expand in Gwinnett is very encouraging given this harsh economy," Lasseter said. "We welcome Assurant's expanded footprint in our community and are privileged that they have chosen Gwinnett as the location to grow their operations."